Websites on Flash…

The Walking Dead

… Soon to be Just Dead

Along with it, millions of websites on Flash will also be killed.

In my book, Adobe Flash has been a dead option for building websites since mobile started dominating the scene with online traffic. However, as Adobe officially drops support for Flash Player at the end of 2020, Forbes reports millions of websites still using it will effectively die. This news is coming up on being three years old as Adobe put the end of life date out there back in July 2017.

“But, why?”, you ask.

In the earlier days of website design and development, Flash allowed for some simple to complex movement on websites as opposed to static content. Designers and developers could do anything from subtle background movement to an interactive, animated user experience on websites. Over time, however, a few developments in the online experience have evolved to where Flash isn’t as supported by browsers – if even supported at all.

  • Even when just new to the scene, mobile browsers didn’t support Flash. This forced websites build in Flash to build entirely new mobile-friendly alternatives that appeared if a mobile device was detected (m.website.com) or completely re-design their website. After years of websites looking to be more mobile-friendly, responsive websites, instead of separate domain websites for the two interfaces, became the norm.

  • HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, and Web Assembly have developed and matured to a point where they’ve become more supported by the browsers. These allow for parallax backgrounds, images, and content that can move as scroll through a website.

  • Less is more. Flash – while allowing for some “cool” user experiences – can create counter productive outcomes. Too much animation and interactive content for a website targeting consumers (not gamers) could be overwhelming and lead to less conversion. Flash also created some drag to page load speed, which greatly effects the likelihood of a visitor staying or bouncing. Modern alternatives to Flash are more subtle and, if built in properly, don’t have as negative an impact on page load speed.

  • Content built in Flash has never been search friendly. As creative and cool as your website has been, you’ve been missing out on the search value your content could have had if it wasn’t buried in a Flash element not readable as text to the search engines.

What now?

If you’re website doesn’t have any flash elements… nothing. You’re good. For websites still using Flash that hope to still reach consumers, it’s time to convert to modern and best practice design/development practices.

You may be nervous about taking on the task of redesigning and re-developing your website, but you’ll find yourself connecting with more people than you have before due to the limitations Flash has put on your target audience. It’s an opportunity to revisit what’s important to your company and update your website with the most relevant and current information you may be lacking on your website.

The fact Adobe will take millions of websites using Flash off life support doesn’t have to be the end of life date for your website, too. The remedy is remedy means a little bit of work, but there’s plenty of time for that between now and December 31, 2020. Let us know how we can help.