Flash is a fantastic tool that when used properly can greatly enhance the web experience. Through the incorporation of a dynamic graphic display and audio technology, Flash can create a rich environment that can be matched by few other programs on the web. This appeal has captivated many designers and website owners world wide.
Flash does have its shortcomings which all novice designers and new web owners should be aware of. In essence, the strength of Flash lies only in its video and sound performance and should therefore be used strictly as a method of ornamentation or audio delivery. Flash should never be relied upon as a vehicle to deliver important text content, or be the only means by which to navigate your website. In addition, Flash functionality is greatly limited on most handheld devices.
Flash, Web Accessibility, and SEO
Flash certainly has its place. As you can see by our own web page, we have made an essentially austere website more interesting by adding the dynamic circles in the orange field to the left. What we did not do is put these words that you are currently reading into our Flash programming. On the web, text content is king. This refers to the old adage that ‘form follows function’...meaning, ‘I don’t care how pretty it is if it doesn’t work’. The point being, these words are far more informative than the fancy circles to the left. These words are not only important to website designers and owners, but also to screen readers and search engines. The Google, Bing, and Yahoo search enginescannot see Flash at all; they only read words, not pictures. Search engines rely on your text content to rank you in their pages when someone types a few keywords into Google. The better your text content, the higher you will rank in Google. In addition, blind people and people with motor skills challenges, who rely on screen readers, cannot see Flash at all. This means that if you are building a website entirely in Flash, not only have you made it much more difficult for people to find your website, you have also made it impossible for individuals using screen readers to ‘read’ it. (check out some of our of Flash demos »)