Flash in the pan

Flash? In The Pan

Gee RanasinhaCommunications

I’ve written about my dislike for Flash-driven websites before, but in the last few months I have noticed a definite shift in the way companies of all sizes are creating and distributing their web content. In light of the new-found strategy of communicating with your customers instead of at them, Flash-driven websites are losing ground in favor of websites where content is again the paramount criterion.

And thank goodness for that.

There’s No Place For Flash In Websites Any Longer

Regardless of company size, many organizations seem to have realized that ‘it’s all about the content’ and, as a result, are moving away from Flash to sites driven by content-management-systems such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

Add some so-called “Web 2.0” features – dissolves, fades, animations, etc – that can now be integrated into a standard website using JavaScript-based tools such as jQuery, and even the most media-hungry marketing director can be persuaded to ditch that old Flash-driven website.

Flash-based websites take more effort to update regularly, often force the user to sit through “loading” progress bars (even more annoying when you’ve just clicked on the wrong menu item) and make it virtually impossible to bookmark an interesting item of content. Conventional websites are more user-friendly (menus are where you’d expect them to be, and work the way that you’d expect them to work), can be updated virtually instantly, and offer better tie-ins with social media platforms such as Twitter.

Are Flash-based websites losing some of their popularity due to the particular company’s wish to get closer to their customers, update their content more often, and simplify the whole web experience? Or is it that a non-Flash site is cheaper to create?

Form Over Function

Companies have realized that a Flash website that resembles a John Woo or Joel Schumacher movie just doesn’t provide the results that they’re expecting. In fact, creating a overly-complex Flash-based website is, in my opinion, cheaper than doing it the old-fashioned way.

To create a Flash website you just need a few weeks, some good ideas, a competent designer and a half-decent Flash developer.

To create a lasting, engaging website you need a defined strategy, an execution plan, an understanding of your target audience and (last but not least) plenty of well-written and frequently-updated content.

Content isn’t just king, it’s priceless.