The Death of FLASH Effects Business Websites

Who’s been warning of the demise of FLASH? Me and everyone else! It shouldn’t be a surprise that FLASH has fallen out of favor in designing websites. What is surprising is the reality of just how invisible a business website can be if it uses FLASH.

  • We have to time travel back to 2008 when I wrote about FLASH as an invisibility cloak (see http://designtospec.com/flash-is-it-the-webs-invisibility-cloak/). The budding smart phone and tablet world didn’t include the ability to view FLASH so those website have never been able to be viewed on handheld devices.
  • The first proverbial nail in the FLASH coffin was in November 2011 when Adobe announced on their blog there would NEVER be a FLASH player on phones.
  • The next nail was this summer when Adobe announced they would stop making and distributing the FLASH player in 2020.  What does this mean? Probably that newer computers won’t have access to a means of viewing FLASH. Computer geeks will probably be able to dig up an old version of the FLASH player but there won’t be any guarantee that it will be compliant with upgraded operating systems.

Why would someone wait until 2020 to convert their website from FLASH? There’s NO reason to wait. I read an article on CNN that states Google’s stats on the usage of FLASH. The percentage of computer users who use the FLASH player plugin to view website on their desktop/laptop computers is astonishing low. Google says it’s 17% (see http://money.cnn.com/2017/07/25/technology/adobe-killing-flash/index.html).

The numbers are very scary for FLASH website when you start playing with them.  Mobile usage surpassed desktop usage a year or so ago. In 2016 BRG reported desktop use was at 48%.  Google is used for 77% of searches which means 36 out of 100 desktop users are using Google.  Then the 17% who download the FLASH player plugin looks like approximately 6 out of 100 users bother to download the plugin to view a FLASH website. OUCH!

I started removing FLASH from client websites in 2008. I continue to recommend getting out of FLASH website and into sites that use HTML and HTML5 to display content so your business website can be seen on the most computers and devices, and be seen by the most people.

 

 

I ♥ gif: Oxford University Press Picks gif as the word of the year!

It seems like we’re always hearing of a new “word of the year.” Remember back to 2009 when “unfriend” (like on Facebook) was announced by the Oxford American Dictionary as the word of the year? It seems that when a word morphs from a noun into a commonly used verb it catches the attention of academics who follow those kind of things.

This year’s word is interesting because it’s something known to designers and developers for years and now is gaining traction in mainstream culture. You probably already are familiar with JPG, a file format. GIF is also a file format. Photoshop users are probably also familiar with the ability to animate GIF files.  Not yet familiar? Then you may want to view the Nyan Cat, one of the most well-known GIF animations on the web.

As a web designer/developer I’ve been using GIF’s for years (example: millrivergroup.net). However, these little files are gaining more visibility and usage on the web because they aren’t FLASH.  Last year I wrote about the demise of FLASH (November 10, 2011: Is Flash Dead? The Significance for the Small Business Website). FLASH users beware because the tablet and smart phone revolution is here and they don’t use FLASH! When you want something to move on your website and you want it to be seen on phone and tablet… it’s time for a GIF.

So the move to talking about GIFs as nouns to speaking of GIFing may have caught the attention of the ivory tower intellectuals, but the GIF should be catching the imagination of those who work with the web as a relevant file format to add movement to websites to be seen on current technology.

Is Flash Dead? — The Significance for the Small Business Website

Today Adobe announced on their blog: Flash is dead. It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but they did announce the development of a Flash player for mobile devices has been nixed.  What does this mean for the small business website?

If you are a small business who has a website created exclusively in Flash, it means your site will continue to be invisible on smart phones, pads and other mobile devices. (see my 2008 post “Flash: Is It the Web’s Invisibility Cloak?”).  All the hot smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry and all the new pads do not have a Flash player and it looks like with Adobe’s announcement they will never have one.  If a small business has a Flash site and wants to be seen on the growing number of mobile devices, they must convert their site to HTML or HTML5.

Yes, Flash will live on because it still has useful applications. It’s a good program for building games. It can handle complex web functions: Steve Shankland on the CNET.com news blog pointed out that Flash is used to upload multiple file attachments in Gmail. Games and advanced functions are seldom part of a small business website.

My advice remains the same as in the past: whether starting a new small business website or to reclaim your visibility on the web—limit the use of Flash and be seen online!