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Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

Will You Flash Your Visitors in 2010?

By Brendan Regan
November 11th, 2009

I just finished reading a “prediction” post called 9 Digital Trends for 2010. While some of the predictions were pretty expected (e.g. Facebook will continue to have an impact in 2010), a few of them really made me think.

The #9 prediction was that there would be “more Flash, not less” on websites in 2010.  The authors posit that Flash on websites will experience a resurgence online in 2010 due to increased adoption of broadband, improved track-ability, and new options for making flash sites more search engine friendly.  They also predict that flash will deliver the “rich, brand-extending experiences” that consumers are craving.

While I’ll keep an open mind for Flash in 2010, I still have many doubts built up from whenever Flash came out through 2009:

  1. While more track-able, Flash still doesn’t offer the depth of analytics (or at least not easily) that other formats offer
  2. While more search engine friendly, Flash still doesn’t offer the rich, index-able content that search engines still reward
  3. Flash is still a “specialty” skill set, which makes site maintenance and optimization more tricky
  4. There still seem to be usability/accessibility issues with most of the flash sites and micro-sites I see.  In most cases, people aren’t interested in learning a brand new interface on every site
  5. I’m not convinced that consumers are looking for “rich, brand-extending experiences” that are best-served by Flash.  People are still task-oriented, and want to “get in and get out,” especially when it comes to researching purchases or making purchases
  6. Flash sites seem to be the sites that display “creativity for creativity’s sake,” and don’t focus on the prospects’ needs, motivations, and goals.
  7. Except for some niche applications, flash animation doesn’t accomplish much that AJAX and other similar approaches can’t do (without requiring a downloaded browser plugin)
  8. While broadband may be continuing to grow, there are still PLENTY of customers (especially in rural areas) that don’t have lightning-speed connections.  Do you really want to exclude them in any way?

Are there exceptions to the above?  Of course, but exceptions won’t make something a trend in 2010.

Another thing to keep in mind about Flash is that there are really two schools of use:  One is using Flash animation, and the other is using the Flash format to deliver true video experiences.  In my opinion, using Flash to deliver video experiences is the more valuable of the two approaches, so maybe that’s where the resurgence in 2010 will come from?

Another question in my mind is whether Adobe’s recent acquisition of Omniture will have any effect on the track-ability of the Flash technology.  My bet is “yes,” but I’m not sure how soon changes will come.

So, Grok readers, what are your feelings about Flash in 2010? Do you plan on using it more?  Less?  The same?

Add Your Comments

Comments (41)

  1. interesting post about Flash in 2010. I’ll create plan on using it.

  2. Very interesting!

    I think you are right, there are two way of designing a website with Flash: all-creative sites, made by using Flash interface, and sites made by programming in Flash, with Actionscript.

    All-creative making of a site with Flash can’t lead far speaking about SEO, and, most often, also for usability. But these sites are usually made for communication agencies, advertising companies, freelance designers, etc. So maybe it actually reaches visitors needs.

    Though, Flash is still a very powerful software, especially the way persons like John Maeda work with it. So I believe sites programmed with Actionscript still have a future,even if they obviously have to focus on usability and resolve SEO issues.

  3. I just don’t think it is a smart choice to use flash on websites because there are still many people with slower computers and many using mobile to search that doesn’t support flash. In my opinion flash is a thing of the past not the future.

  4. hmm.. thanks to remind us on this. It has to be planning from now on, great article Brendan. Thanks

  5. Well of course you can use flash on your websites in 2010.But for now you can only use SWF format as it is getting indexed by Google now.

    Long ago I mentioned about it on SEO post.
    http://monetarytruths.blogspot.com/2009/04/google-has-started-indexing-flash.html

  6. I do think we’ll see increased use of flash but in advertising only, anything to grab the consumer’s attention.

    We’ve already seen more dynamic and user interactable menus on websites, but as far as I know these don’t use flash.

  7. I think the key is if Google will index flash better, or if they can come up with a super bot to read what the flash is displaying and the relevance to their search results. Flash is great, but if all you have is a flash site, good luck getting found by the search engines!

  8. I’ve got flash on my site and Google seems to index it, though not as well as regular content. I think they will start to give it more weight in search results soon though.

  9. Another nice post from you, Brendan. I think we must ready for it. It seems a great idea using Flash in 2010

  10. Google Bot indexed few of my flash content.But not all of them.

  11. I completely agree with the fact that we will see more Flash in 2010 . Popular search engines already know that and that is why they are now capable to reading text present in the flash .

    It adds much more colour and creativity to your site but on the other hand it slows down the load time .. as people with slow internet connections ( like Indians where still the average internet speed is just over 350kbps ) will need to wait much longer to load a site .

    Like they .. to gain something .. you have to loose something .

  12. Yes the future of flash is very good and one will definitely consider using flash for their websites.

  13. Flash has its uses, but often it’s used for the sake of it… rather than to improve the user experience. So 9 times out of 10 I’d say ditch the flash, it’s probably harming your conversion rate.

  14. Very interesting, post about Flash.I had just removed a Flash application on my website with AJAX, and i will say that ,Ajax had almost overtaken Flash application in web development.

  15. All sings are pointing to Flash shrinking in popularity, not growing.

    HTML5 and CSS3 makes interactivity easier for developers, that will hurt Flash.

    Plus the iPhone doesn’t support Flash and it’s popularity is only growing.

    And the idea that search engines are crawling Flash is a myth. Yes Google can see some Flash content sometimes depending on how it’s implemented, but other engines still see nothing. A search-friendly site is still one that limits the use of Flash.

  16. yes of course i will…

  17. was the drop in flash usage not due to programmers realising that search spiders cannot read it … in which case its usage will not return – valid point about iphones above as well

  18. Insightful post.

  19. “In my opinion, using Flash to deliver video experiences is the more valuable of the two approaches” – Totally agree with this one. Flash is good for static sites, but you really can’t use it on dynamic sites. I think trend will go down.

  20. All-creative making of a site with Flash can’t lead far speaking about SEO, and, most often, also for usability.

  21. I been using flash sites for years and will continue to use them. You just can’t get that wow factor without flash.

  22. I don’t like flash websites.

    Neither does Google:)

  23. Whilst I don’t have a problem with websites implementing partial flash within their content. I really believe that making an entire website from flash is just a way to make you do more work than you have to in terms of SEO.

  24. Google spiders are able to index Flash now, but judging by the rest of the way Google operates Flash will still be a weaker in terms of SEO.

    Google is all about usability, and in most cases Flash is not as usable as normal web sites.

    Also, Google is likely to make page load speed a factor, which could impact Flash.

  25. And the idea that search engines are crawling Flash is a myth. Yes Google can see some Flash content sometimes depending on how it’s implemented, but other engines still see nothing. A search-friendly site is still one that limits the use of Flash.

  26. Everything change…. and there are a lot of people improving new ways in the net….

  27. Just had a client who called and asked why his site was not showing up in Google. I reviewed it, and it was entirely built in Flash. It was invisible to the search engines.

  28. [...] Source:Will You Flash Your Visitors in 2010? Share and Enjoy: [...]

  29. yea i will

  30. Another consideration with using of Flash is how it factors into the SEO of your site.

  31. Very interesting, post about Flash.I had just removed a Flash application on my website with AJAX, and i will say that ,Ajax had almost overtaken Flash application in web development

  32. I see Flash being used less and less. It’s difficult to implement, difficult to edit and not search friendly. Not to mention its limited use in mobile websites.

  33. Yes I must flash my visitors in 2010.In this year I’ve plan to provide the best to my visitors.

  34. Flash is much more dynamic and adds a visual appeal that you don’t find in a typical website. The fact that search engines can no index these sites better will make them far more popular. Your thoughts make perfect sense!

  35. Well, actually I’m thinking of using flash too and reading your writing above makes me even more to use it. Thanks for sharing…

  36. Flash can be beneficial but, for the most part, unnecessary. Although, I do agree that it is useful when used for video. I don’t plan on using it in 2010 or in the near future.

  37. the only problem which has to be solved is about SEO nothing more. Flash simply rulz ;)

  38. Don’t use flash unless it has a strong advertising purpose on your site. If it just makes it look good, you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s really worth it.

  39. As long as SEs read plain text and can’t do anything on flash, I will never ever integrate it.

    Also flash will reduce ur loading speed for sure. With Google Caffeine up, this might affect your placement as well.

  40. It is a very complicated topic. Properly developed flash applications deliver plain text and links which Google does read. An alternative way is to use a combination like Flash + XML for plain-text data. Which is nice because you can use non-standart, anti-aliased fonts which are readable by search engines.

    Anyway, HTML5 will not kill Flash anytime soon.

  41. As long as it runs more quickly than the original Flash versions I will consider using it. The problem I always find is that it is terribly slow to load. Just gauging my own reaction on sites that run Flash I can see people becoming as impatient as I feel and even a little resentful.

    I certainly think twice before returning to the site.

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