6 Reasons Not To Use Flash On Your Website

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Categories: Adobe Flash

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UPDATE, I wrote a newer article detailing 5 reasons to use Flash
Although this may come off as a devil’s advocate article, there are reasons you shouldn’t use Adobe Flash on your website. Even though I do have a hat as a Flash Developer, there are things people should know. Here are the reasons I came up with, in no particular order.

Load Time

This always strikes a chord with web usability enthusiasts. The longer it takes for your site to load, the more likely your visitor is discouraged from revisiting your website.

Eats Up a User’s Time

Intricate animations or Flash intros (brrrawrr :/) eat up a user’s time. When users visit websites they usually have a goal: to find information. Having Adobe Flash animations that animate content, navigation, etc. is likely to bother the user who already has a goal in mind.

Time Comsuming to Develop

Flash pieces aren’t simple pictures that are cut and paste with animation filters being applied. It’s based on a timeline and is very time consuming. This places a restriction on organizations with limited budgets.

CPU Heavy

Although you may be running a computer made in the last 3 years, this isn’t the case for everyone. Flash can get CPU heavy and run like molasses on older computers. Again, this discourages users from digging deeper into your site and revisiting your website.

Frivolous

Flash is a very eccentric word, just saying it gets me excited. But having Flash for the sake of having Flash just isn’t a good idea. If what you’re looking for is Flash, you should be able to justify all the points mentioned in this article.

Different Usability

Replicating usability circumstances or interfaces in Flash is a pain. Buttons, scrollbars, textboxes can all look different and confuse users. This can overwhelm older or inexperienced users that aren’t used to “minesweeping” websites for surprise content.

That’s all for now, hope that helps. :)

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13 Responses to “6 Reasons Not To Use Flash On Your Website”

  1. Digital Revolutions Says:

    I concur, Flash (while fun and pretty) is generally a bad idea :)

  2. Patrick Burt Says:

    Yup, a usability nightmare, but there is a time, place and demographic for it. Thanks for the comment DR. :)

  3. Thomas Says:

    I’m so behind on my reading! lol Loved this article, it’s very true. All the graphic artists in the world love flash, cuz you can design what you like and have it display as you like in an html page that Flash will output for you! However, it’s really just a bit much most of the time. I totally agree that there are demographics for it, like brand builder sites, let’s face it, flash instills an emotional response, and Marketers LOVE that kind of stuff. If you can make a flash movie 30 seconds to say a TON about your product and make the user fall in love without having to click around, they’re all over it.

  4. Patrick Burt Says:

    There is something to be said about things appearing 100% as you’ve told them to. Tidbit: Internet Explorer caches XML files loaded in through Flash, for some reason.

  5. Joe D’Ambrose - On entrepreneurship, life, & college » Blog Archive » FLASH: Flashy isn’t always good for users or business. Says:

    [...] 6 Reasons Not to Use Flash from Patrick Burt [...]

  6. Who carez Says:

    Well i don’t agree with some of the statements here but I have seen full on flash sites preform much better as in speed and user friendly then your average html sites. I guess it stems down to how good the person creating the site in flash really is. There are ways to get around what has been mentioned above.

  7. Patrick Burt Says:

    @Who carez

    Absolutely. Overcoming the issues specified above are tedious and sometimes require specific skills. I do agree with your first statement that I have seen flash sites perform better speedwise/usability then html sites.

  8. Flash: A History of Misuse and Abuse. Where Do We Go from Here? Says:

    [...] also: 6 Reasons Not To Use Flash on Your Website, Why Flash is Mostly [...]

  9. Chris Hernandez Says:

    Don’t forget the fact that the content inside of flash-based media is not easily searchable yet! Yes, XMP metadata is getting to be more mainstream, but still not quite search-engine friendly.

  10. Good Blog Says:

    That

  11. Robert Blanda, CaddisArt, Inc. Says:

    Patrick,

    I have posted your page on my facebook and have read many of your articles. I love your stuff and stand by many of your opinions, especially since Im so old school web developer.

    PS – as far as this article, you failed to mention that flash doesnt do well in the SEO world.

    Respectfully,

    Rob Blanda
    CaddisArt, Inc.

  12. digital art Says:

    Wow, marvelous weblog structure! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging glance easy. The full look of your web site is great, let alone the content!

  13. Adobe For Mac Says:

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