Flash is something that is always debated when it comes to its use on websites. Some people LOVE it. Some of your clients might request it because it looks “cool.” While it definitely has some good capabilities and its place on the internet, I urge you to stray away from it when creating your website. Here are some of my reasons why:
It is bad for your website’s SEO
A fully flash website doesn’t create unique urls for individual pages on the site. When a website is made completely in flash, the URL will be indexed as www.yourwebsite.com. Search engines are constantly looking for fresh content by crawling the pages of websites. If your only website url is your main domain, then they won’t have pages to crawl and you’ll get lost down in the mix.
Search engines rely primarily on text. Although Google is capable of crawling some of the text in flash files, its abilities are still limited. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that while Google is the number one search engine, it isn’t the ONLY search engine. Many other search engines do not support text crawling within flash files. As stated above, if your pages can’t be crawled, then they won’t be indexed and will rank lower than your competitors’ text-heavy sites with compelling content and keywords.
It isn’t mobile or tablet friendly*
Apple’s iPhone and iPad have never supported flash, one of the key reasons someone might have chosen an Android phone over an apple product in the past. However, Adobe pulled their Flash Player from the Google Play store this past August, nixing flash for Android users as well. The reason for this dates back to a statement from Adobe in 2011, “HTML5 is the ‘best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.’”
Here are some more important points to remember about why flash’s mobile incompatibility will hurt your site:
- 50% of US adults own either a tablet or a smartphone
- 33% of US adults use their tablets or smartphones to receive their daily news.
- 20% of mobile owners have been frustrated because their phone took too long to download something (or, in the case with flash, wouldn’t download the website at all!)
*While some mobile devices and tablets (like the Kindle Fire) might still support flash, you’ll be alienating the majority of mobile and tablet users with flash websites.
**Statistics from this Daily Blogging infographic.
It’s annoying to the user
Just plain and simple, Flash, when used the wrong way, is annoying to site visitors. Let me paint you a picture. Your friends have suggested meeting up for dinner and drinks at a new local restaurant. With excitement, you use your smartphone to visit their website to see what kind of menu they have, only to find that the website won’t load because it’s in FLASH. If you’re anything like me, this discovery will annoy to to no end.
Additionally, Flash typically requires a longer loading time. Not only might this annoy your visitors and increase your bounce rate, but it also annoys Google.
Another annoying aspect of Flash is when sound is added. Granted, sound sometimes exists on websites without flash, but Flash is definitely a big culprit. Unless you are a music web application, please please omit sound from your website. I have never met a person who went to a website and said “wow, this unexpected music is just delightful.” I HAVE met people who have raged about the annoying sounds that suddenly starts blaring from their computers. It’s another aspect of flash that will send your site visitors to your competitors’ websites instead.
And lastly, even the installation of Flash is annoying.
Are you a defender of Flash websites? Please share your opinions with us in the comments below.