Motion is attractive to human beings, so putting a website in motion seems like a good way to attract users. From a visual perspective, that might be correct, but good website design requires more than movement. Today’s website visitors aren’t usually looking at business websites for entertainment. Their visit has a purpose, so meeting the needs of the visitor should guide your website design efforts.
Three reasons to avoid Adobe Flash in website design
There are some excellent uses of Adobe Flash, the programming tool responsible for a lot of the motion you see on websites today. Flash can be used effectively in advertising, games, illustrations and other circumstances. As with everything, however, the decision to use Flash does not come without a cost.
Search engines don’t see Flash. If one goal of your website is visibility, then you may want to rethink website designs that use Flash. Search engines are designed to see and “understand” text. They don’t get pictures, they don’t get videos and they don’t get Flash. If your website – particularly your home page – is heavily dependent upon Flash, the search engines may not be able to understand what your site is about and what you have to offer visitors. You’ll need to spend extra time and resources to make sure your site gets interpreted correctly by the search engines, and ranked appropriately in search engine results. If the search engines can’t see your website, no one else will either.
Mobile browsers don’t do Flash. Mobile users are growing in number, and they’ve shown over and over that they use their mobile devices to access the Web. In the first three months of 2013, more than 18 million new mobile devices have been added to the number of mobile devices that are already actively in use. For the most part, mobile browsers – web browsers written for mobile devices – don’t understand or intepret Adobe Flash. Apple famously dumped support for Adobe Flash from its most popular mobile devices – the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod Touch. Why? Because it is too resource –intensive and loads too slowly to provide an excellent user experience.
Mobile visitors to your site won’t see any Flash you’ve put into your website design, and that’s annoying to them! Instead, mobile-friendly websites have transitioned to HTML-only website designs that allow them the utility of Flash without the intensive consumption of processing resources.
Flash is an add-on that must be loaded and maintained by the user. Adobe Flash Player is the utility that allows browsers to interpret Flash correctly. This tool isn’t built into the user’s operating system; it’s added on by the user. The user must download it, install it and maintain it for Flash-enabled websites to work properly. If the user doesn’t update Flash Player, and your website design calls for a newer, later or different version of Flash, your website may not display properly for the user. Worse, Flash Player incompatibilities and security bugs may compromise the stability and security of your website.
Flash can be a useful programming tool for certain applications, but it may not be the go-to approach to ensure a solid website design.
If you have a Flash-enabled website and you want to consider other website design options, contact creative director Dave Ramsell for more information or a consultation regarding your design options. You can also reach Dave by phone at (330) 243-0651.
Photo Credit: dullhunk, via Flickr