Questions for Web-Designers / Web Developers / Flash gurus etc.

They have: 1 posts

Joined: Oct 2008

Hi, I am new to this community, and I hope you can help me with some research I am conducting...

I am a second year Graphic Design student in the UK, and I am working on a module titled "Research in the Commercial World", in which I must research a specific area of commercial practice.

My main area of focus is Web-Design, and how in recent years flash has shifted from being a secondary element in a website to one of the main ingredients of a successful site, possibly sometimes the sole ingredient...

I have put together three research questions that I would be grateful if as many of you could answer for me. The answers you provide me with will help me form an opinion on the matter, so I can then feed-back my findings and conclusions to my tutors.

The three questions are:

1. What decision making leads you to using flash in your websites?

2. Does it depend on the client to decide if they want you to use flash?
Or is it up to you?

3. Once you have decided to use flash within one of your websites, how do
you judge if it should be completely done in flash or a mix of
html/flash?

Thank you all in advance...

decibel.places's picture

He has: 1,494 posts

Joined: Jun 2008

Hello Stavros and welcome to TWF!

There are a lot of knowledgeable and friendly people in this community, glad you found it.

Please take the time to post and introduction to tell everyone more about yourself (ie, are you vegetarian - like me - ?) Smiling

Regarding Flash, I think the trend towards sites entirely built with Flash has peaked and is now declining. Flash is still de rigeur in certain industries eg fashion, but many "Web 2.x" communities depend on other technologies such as php/mysql. As sophistication about SEO/SEM has increased, and competition for listing ranks increases, Flash is recognized as a potential liability.

Your questions:

1. What decision making leads you to using flash in your websites?

Certain animations are best handled by Flash. Also, flv is a pretty universal video format.

2. Does it depend on the client to decide if they want you to use flash? Or is it up to you?

If a client requests Flash, and it is a good use of it, no problem. I have seen sites that use flash for a logo that could have been a png. If I see a good use for Flash, I would just go ahead and use it if there are no downsides, no need to consult with the client.

3. Once you have decided to use flash within one of your websites, how doyou judge if it should be completely done in flash or a mix of html/flash?

I refrain from sites entirely built in Flash because

  1. Flash is bad for SEO/SEM
  2. Flash requires someone who knows Flash to update it (unless some content is supplied via XML, but that still has limitations, compared to a WYSIWYG-capable CMS such as Drupal
    1. As a Web Developer who works 85% of the time with Drupal, I rarely use Flash. When I do, and it is complex, I subcontract a partner who happens to be in Hyderabad who specializes in Flash.

      Recently, I was Project Manager for the rebuilding of a Flash site for an artist's portfolio and events, a good use of Flash IMO, had to be rebuilt because producer lost the fla, and the SoThink fla extractor did not work on it. My partner did the actual Flash, and we added image and news management with XML which was not in the original. The project came out great, it is live at http://artistandrea.com/ and we both got totally ripped off by the producer. He never got the fla, but we never got paid....

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
...how in recent years flash has shifted from being a secondary element in a website to one of the main ingredients of a successful site, possibly sometimes the sole ingredient...

I don't agree with this. I think Flash is best used in niche situations (such as interactive features and video). The SEO and accessibility issues really are a big problem. I've also found that Flash sites are more time consuming to build and more difficult to update.

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
1. What decision making leads you to using flash in your websites?

This chart basically sums it up as far as full site design goes.

Otherwise it's mainly about which technology can best accomplish what I need to do. If ajax/Javascript can accomplish what I need, then I feel that that's a more suitable method. I generally prefer to work with native web technologies as much as possible. The exception is video - flash is currently the best way to embed video.

I also don't really have a lot of flash expertise anymore. It's most efficient to use tools I'm already familiar with, or things that work well with tools I already use.

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
2. Does it depend on the client to decide if they want you to use flash? Or is it up to you?

I work for a large organization so this isn't really an issue for me. Usually the technologies used are up to me. If someone really wanted a full flash site I'd probably try really hard to talk them out of it. I don't really have the skills to do that anyway.

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
Once you have decided to use flash within one of your websites, how do you judge if it should be completely done in flash or a mix of
html/flash?

If I was ever in doubt, I'd check this chart again.

JeevesBond's picture

He has: 3,955 posts

Joined: Jun 2002

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
Hi, I am new to this community, and I hope you can help me with some research I am conducting...

Hi, welcome to TWF! Hope your research is successful. Smiling

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
My main area of focus is Web-Design, and how in recent years flash has shifted from being a secondary element in a website to one of the main ingredients of a successful site, possibly sometimes the sole ingredient...

I also disagree. It's going in the opposite direction in my opinion, being used for adverts and embedded videos (which will soon be superceded by the <video> tag).

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
The three questions are:

1. What decision making leads you to using flash in your websites?

Need a video player, or an advertiser gives us a Flash advert.

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
2. Does it depend on the client to decide if they want you to use flash?
Or is it up to you?

Both. I don't know Flash very well anymore and would try to steer a customer in the direction of HTML/CSS/Javascript, if possible.

Stavros Patsalidis wrote:
3. Once you have decided to use flash within one of your websites, how do you judge if it should be completely done in flash or a mix of html/flash?

I would only create an entire site in Flash if forced to do so. Flash is an open file format, but there are (almost) no players other than the one provided by Adobe.

Whenever an aspect of the Web is controlled by a single company we have a problem, without competition that control will inevitably lead to hindrance of the field of computing in general, and the Web in particular. See the lack of 64 bit Flash, or Flash for different processor architectures. A version for Linux has only just now become workable, after years of waiting.

The openness and simplicity of the Web creates competition, which begets better software and universal access regardless of platform.

a Padded Cell our articles site!

They have: 3 posts

Joined: Feb 2009

basically using Flash in websites is a big problem on SEO. Based on the site and clients need use the level of Flash on your website.If you want to be listed on top of the search engine rankings don't put more Flash..

decibel.places's picture

He has: 1,494 posts

Joined: Jun 2008

jackrajiv wrote:
basically using Flash in websites is a big problem on SEO

Google indexes text in Flash

Google can now discover and index text content in SWF files of all kinds, including self-contained Flash websites and Flash gadgets such as buttons or menus. This includes all textual content visible to the user. In addition, we can now find and follow URLs embedded in Flash files. We'll crawl and index this content in the same way that we crawl and index other content on your site - webmasters don't need to take any special action. However, we don't guarantee that we'll crawl or index all the content, Flash or otherwise.

We're continually working to improve our indexing of Flash files, but there are some limitations:
Googlebot does not execute some types of JavaScript. If your webpage uses JavaScript to load a Flash file, we may not be able to discover and index the contents of that file.

That is interesting... but I think Adobe Flash Detection Kit includes a plain embed if JS is disabled

We currently do not attach content from external resources that are loaded by your Flash files. If your Flash file loads another file - such as an HTML file, an XML file, or another SWF file - we may index the contents of those files, but we won't consider that content to be part of the content in your Flash files.

Ooh - another gotcha - I like using XML for content management in Flash

We're currently unable to index the bidirectional language content (for example, Hebrew or Arabic) in Flash files.

Note that while Google can index the content of Flash files, other search engines may not be able to. Providing text equivalents of these files will help other search engines crawl and index your content.

You could also consider using sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement). sIFR (an open-source project) lets webmasters replace text elements with Flash equivalents. Using this technique, content and navigation is displayed by an embedded Flash object but, because the content is contained in the HTML source, it can be read by non-Flash users (including search engines).

Want to join the discussion? Create an account or log in if you already have one. Joining is fast, free and painless! We’ll even whisk you back here when you’ve finished.