All Flash-No Substance
As web developers we are constantly asked by our clients for flash-based websites. They are understandably attracted to the “bling” factor of flash-based sites. Those hypnotic blurs, fades, and slides dance their pretty little images past our eyes and we think “ooh, aah, I want it now! Naturally any business owner would want potential customers to have that exact reaction when opening up their site. But the practical, nuts and bolts technical reasons not to use flash far out weigh the wow factor. Here are the top 5 reasons why a Flash-based website is a bad idea.
1. Invisible to search engines. Flash is essentially just fancy graphics, and search engines like Google do not see graphics. In order for a search engine to index your site it relies on textual information and “tags” essentially code, to tell it what elements and information your site contains. If your site is primarily graphics and flash elements, then search engines will rank it well below similar sites with more text.
Click to see some examples of major web sites using Flash and how those sites look to Google compared to Magento Commerce and WordPress.
3. Needs constant updating. How many times have you opened up a site only to see a message informing you that you have to update to the latest Flash version to view the site. Even if the error message is legit ( and more often than not, they are cleverly disguised Trojans waiting to attack your computer) then you have to go to the Adobe site, click to download…agree to terms…(which include agreeing to let Adobe install spyware on your computer)… wait for the software to update… restart…..
Who needs the hassle! Most users will simply back out of the site rather than go to the time and trouble. Also if you need to update information on your site, then you better have a Flash developer handy as any changes require complex coding, and you will most likely have to pay a premium for that.
4. Does not conform to standard web practices. No cutting and pasting, no back button, no bookmarking a single page within the site, etc. Flash doesn’t work with the way we actually use the Internet. People are viewing your web site for THEIR convenience, why make it hard for them. As a customer myself, I feel if a company’s site is difficult to navigate they must also be difficult to do business with.
5. Not viewable on iPhones, iPads, or other mobile devices. More and more people are using phones and other portable devices to access the Internet. If you are using flash you are inaccessible to a huge percentage of Internet users.
As you can see, using Flash to create your website makes that old adage hold true: All Flash, no substance.