I'll admit it. I hate Flash. That's not right. Let's rephrase. I dislike improper use of Flash. And it's not Adobe's fault. Flash is definitely a great tool for the web. It's just not used properly and most of the time quite overused. I have seen some really terrific websites using Flash, but at the same time, I've seen at least twice as many making terrible use of it. Here's some advice regarding your use of Flash.
Don't use Flash as your ENTIRE website!
You're website shouldn't be built completely as a .swf Flash file. Why? Here's a few reasons:
- Not everyone has the Flash plugin installed on their computers. And they may not be able to install it.
- It's not SEO friendly. Google has a decently hard time searching through Flash content.
- Or Analytical friendly for that matter. Sure, Google Analytics recently added Flash tracking, but it's not perfected.
- It's hard to bookmark a specific "page" of your Flash file for the user. Users don't want to bookmark your "Main" page and have to navigate to the content they want every time they need to get there.
For your Navigation Menu
Seriously? This also isn't SEO friendly and it's rather annoying as a user to have to wait for your animated navigation menu to load each time I go to a different page. Just use AJAX please.
As a container for your content
Okay. Now this one I really don't understand. You made an HTML page and then put your content in Flash. Why?! This makes no sense if all your content is text and links. And I've seen quite a few of these. Please don't do this.
To protect your pictures from being "stolen" or hot-linked
Yes. Putting all your images in a Flash file will stop someone from hot-linking. But that doesn't mean you should use it for that. There are other ways around it. And if they really want the picture, they will find a way. As for stealing them, not so much. There are various screen capturing programs out there. And the ever so popular, Print Screen button. I always hear this as the reasoning. Especially for Photographers. It's stupid. Don't use it as an excuse for poorly made Flash use.
For your Intro Page
Ok. I hate Intro pages. They're dumb. But people (usually movie-based websites) make and use them. I still haven't quite grasped the reasoning behind making the consumer wait to get to your content, but whatever. That's a different topic for a different day. As for using Flash in your Intro Page. Go ahead, just make sure you have a "Skip Intro" button. And trust me, I will always press that button.
Where do you not like seeing Flash? What are your pet peeves regarding Flash use? Please share your experiences.