I agree with Steve Jobs. Yes, Adage is a Microsoft Gold Partner and I said that. A lot of controversy has been surrounding this lately with Apple refusing to support Flash on the iPhone and the iPad. You can read more about it in this article.
I of course don't really mean we should get rid of Flash as I think it is a great technology. But I do think Flash is being overused as a tool in the web designer/developer toolkit.
Ok, to the point ... first I am going to assume you are looking to implement some animation on a portion of your web site that highlights your services or work examples, etc. Stop reading if you are one of those people who think building entire sites in Flash is a good idea ... we are going to have to agree to disagree.
Over the last several projects, we have been doing more and more with CSS, DHTML, jQuery and JavScript to where animations do not require Flash with very similar effects. Why is this good?
- Less overhead
- No special tools required
- Search engine-friendly markup
- More control
Some examples of non-Flash animation:
Again, no Flash needed! Let me detail why this is good.
To provide the effects you see on those pages, a Flash player is not required. Therefore, the Flash player does not have to start and you do not have to stare at a spinning circle or other graphic telling you to wait a minute to see what you visited the web site for. With Flash, you often have to wait for the content that has been deemed important enough to draw your attention but in many cases you have to wait.
No special tools needed
When a Flash movie is made, it requires that a file first be created by a developer or designer using a desktop tool from Adobe called Flash Professional. This is not cheap and can be cumbersome to use in the wrong hands. So, if you want to make ANY changes, they have to be made by someone with the software (your developer). There are ways around this but it takes more time and effort to make simple changes.
Search engine-friendly markup
Search engines do not view Flash content in the same manner that they do HTML text. In the last few years, they have taken steps to try an index Flash content but it is far from perfect. It is getting better but the accepted general rule of thumb is do not rely on the search engines to index Flash well if at all.
Flash content that you see on web sites derives from an original source file in which the designer or developer manipulates all of the text, graphics, audio, video and animations. Once a developer is done working in this file, they output this source file as a compiled Flash movie, at which point it becomes uneditable without going back to the original source in Flash. This creates a problem later when changes need to be made to the Flash movie and the developer has left town or they do not want to give you the original source file. This is something that happens often.
There must be a better way
Again, I am not advocating the elimination of Flash as a tool ... just suggesting a little more HTML, jQuery, and CSS can go a long way to a better web site. HTML 5 is very compelling as an alternative but that discussion will have to wait for another blog.