Just a quick note on why I hate Flash, for my reference whenever I get into an (occasionally heated) discussion on why I.. well, hate Flash:
- Nice looking graphics get old quickly anyway – After seeing the graphics load, no matter how fancy, it becomes a pain to watch it load again – and again – and again, everytime you go back to the website. I don’t care how pretty it is. Unless you have the memory of a goldfish, after the first ooh and ahh you’re likely sated and ready to move on.
- It’s a heavy download – This is fairly obvious. That’s why Flash designers create all sorts of fancy loading images and hour glass / hour clocks to entertain you whilst you waste away precious moments of your life waiting for the $*#$! site to load. As far as I’m concerned, everytime you put a loader in front of a website visitor there is a 30% to 50% chance he’s gonna lose interest and go elsewhere. That alone, to me, is unacceptable.
- It’s not Google-able – Even more unacceptable is the fact that, since .swf files are like images, Google cannot index them, hence giving search engines a hard time. Repeat after me: Search engines are your friend. You do not want to give search engines a hard time. Unless your website holds the directions to the Holy Grail, you need to cooperate, not go against search engines. And this in the light of the fact that Google’s indexing is already mind-blowingly powerful. I’ve uploaded articles onto my blogs and Googled them 10 seconds after and they were already available. Yes I know there are ways around that especially with the newer Flash versions BUT the fact it’s an extra step does not comfort me.
- It’s difficult to make – Flash designers make a ton of money because there aren’t many of them, and even less of the really talented ones who can make a site both entertaining, dynamic, loads quickly and is serch engine friendly to boot. The chances you can hire one, assuming you can afford one, are even less considering they’re usually busy people.
- It requires your browser to download Adobe stuff – I’m glad Adobe is no Microsoft because given their monopoly over this technology, MS would’ve sucked every penny they can make off of it by now. Regardless, making a site dependent on any one company / technology is never a good way looking forward.
- Content is King – At the end of the day, people go to a website – any website – for its content. They want schedules, they want articles, they want prices, images, information, etc. The more of it, the more ways to get it, and the easier to get it, the better. Anything that deters / confuses / deflects / deviates / sidetracks you from what you want to get from a website negates the purpose of making a site to begin with, and should be removed immediately.
Flash in my humble opinion, is three things: From a developer standpoint, it’s a great way to make extra money. You can get quick jobs adding ‘Macromedia Flash’ to your resume, or getting freelance work quickly, because lots of people are looking for that.
Second is from a website developer / provider point of view: It’s a great way to impress bosses and clients. We all know these are the people who usually know the least about the Internet, but since they hold the purse strings, we pander to what impresses them. And so we make big impressive full Flash websites to get them to say ooh and ahh to make them sign the checks.
And finally Third, from a user and search engine point of view: It’s close to useless. Content will be, forever and ever to me, KING of all that makes the Internet work. If you want to make a great website, focus on finding content and delivering it as easily and as painlessly as possible. Make your life simple by believing this: People want to know what’s going on, and a website’s job is to deliver it – that’s it, no more no less.
I’m such a believer in this that I’d bet everything I have on a bet: Any Blogspot site with complete info will get more hits than any full Flash site anytime of the day, day or night*.
* Unless of course it’s a Flash based gaming site, whereing the content is the games.