Get Flash to F... Off
Flash sites are the web's equivalent of the blonde portrayed in blonde jokes:
Pretty, but really dumb.
As Wikepedia says,
the World Wide Web is a global information space which people can access
via computers connected to the Internet. Ideally, to achieve that goal
of global connectivity, web sites should:
Unfortunately, sites written in Macromedia Flash break with all those ideals,
for little reason, all for a few cute graphics. Let's look at those areas
- Macromedia Flash isn't available for all hardware platforms.
- For those with restricted bandwidth (last time I was in Japan, 14.4kbps
modem connections were my best net access), Flash is unusably slow. Ordinary
graphics on a web site can be turned off in any graphical browser, but a
Flash-based site has no such user controls.
- For those with slow hardware, Flash is very CPU-intensive. Other
CPU-intensive graphics, such as the animation of animated GIFs, can be
turned off in a good browser (eg. Mozilla/Firefox), but a Flash-based site
has no such user controls.
While some search engines are now attempting to index Flash sites, their
efficiency varies. When there are multiple Flash objects on a page, those
will be indexed independently and search engine users will be directed
to the individual Flash objects/movies/etc, rather than to the parent web
page... unless that web page has actual content.
Many vision-impaired individuals use software to read web sites to them
and tell them how to navigate. With HTML, this simply works. With Flash,
it might work, but only if the developers have put a great deal of money
and effort into
testing their site with screen reader software. This is
extremely unlikely to happen, except perhaps on a very large site. It
should be noted that discrimination against the disabled is illegal in
some countries and the 2000 Sydney Olympics was prosecuted for providing
a site that wasn't sufficiently usable to the blind... and they weren't
even using Flash, just very poor HTML coding practices!
- Macromedia Flash isn't available for all browsers. This is especially
true of text-based browsers, such as Lynx,
which is a brilliant tool for quick access to the useful (text) data of a
- Flash has various versions, and the site may require something other than
what's installed on the machine you are currently using.
- Users may simply be somewhere where they don't have control over their
software environment to the extent that they can install arbitrary software,
such as in an airline lounge or a net cafe.
In short, a Flash-based site basically says to visitors: "Unless you have
the software we want you to, have copious bandwidth and CPU power,
don't mind us controlling what you see and do, and don't have a visual
disability, screw you. Cute graphics are more important to us than content."