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The death of Flash?
From popup blockers to Flash blockers
Wlauzon




msg:1563427
 3:51 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Over the past few weeks I have been seeing a lot of comments like this one from another thread here:

The web sites my roommate visits that utilize Flash is mostly advertisement.

Why that one got my attention is because not 5 minutes before that, I read a similar topic in one of the Styling newsgroups - about why NOT to use Flash - more and more people are turning it off.

And today, for the first time in years, I turned off my Flash in IE.

Since an estimated 90%+ of internet users now have popup blockers installed, the new rage is the "unblockable" Flash ads. The only way to stop them now is to kill Flash completely.

I predict that it will not be long before someone comes out with a good Flash blocker. And when that happens it will kill Flash - or at least severely wound it.

What happens to all the sites using Flash - especially for navigation etc - when 90%+ of all Flash is blocked or turned off?

 

HughMungus




msg:1563428
 3:58 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

There alreaday is a *great* flash blocker. I've been using it for years to prevent annoying flash ads. Do a search for: no! flash.

Wlauzon




msg:1563429
 4:16 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I use TurnFlash - just a little icon sits in the tray and click to turn Flash on or off. Just installed it, so not sure if it is 100% effective yet in both IE and FF.

rocknbil




msg:1563430
 6:25 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

It has been inevitable since the beginning. As long as you use Flash as an OPTIONAL item, not one to present the core of the site's message or service, it should not destroy the website. Same thing with Javascript, ActiveX, or any other browser add-on.

Macromedia's site (and others risky enough to build flash-only sites) sure would be hosed though! :-)

Lord Majestic




msg:1563431
 6:30 pm on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Macromedia's site (and others risky enough to build flash-only sites) sure would be hosed though! :-)

Perhaps if they provide option to block popups at source people won't be THAT unhappy.

Wlauzon




msg:1563432
 5:00 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

With all the hype about virus, trojans, spyware etc, it seems a lot of people are simply turning off anything that need active-x, flash, or a script to run.

I don't see this situation getting any better for a while.

bird




msg:1563433
 7:04 pm on Mar 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Since an estimated 90%+ of internet users now have popup blockers installed, the new rage is the "unblockable" Flash ads. The only way to stop them now is to kill Flash completely.

The AdBlock extension to Firefox doesn't make a difference between the type of content it blocks. It just removes anything that matches your defined patterns.

On top of that, it can "hide" loaded flash elements by placing a grey area on top of them, so that annoying animations become invisible. Unfortunately, they'll still use up CPU capacity.

twist




msg:1563434
 7:10 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

As long as you use Flash as an OPTIONAL item, not one to present the core of the site's message or service, it should not destroy the website. Same thing with Javascript, ActiveX, or any other browser add-on.

Yes, flash is great but it should be kept off main pages and users should be told they are entering a flash page.

I think Flash's greatest days are still to come. It only gets better with each version. As soon as they create a video format that equals the rest (quicktime, wmv, rm, mpg) they will dominate that market. Now apple forces you to download some iTunes crap along with quicktime, wmv is fine unless you don't use windows, realmedia is a HUGE pain in the but and very annoying to install anymore and mpg is just to big. Flash has a quick and easy install and not only could be a great video player replacement but already is a great mp3 replacement. Even if you offer a mp3 to download always nice to be able to preview it in flash right on the webpage without opening an external player. Not to mention the quality games that are popping up more and more everyday.

larryhatch




msg:1563435
 7:31 am on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Speaking only as an occasional browser (fun time off)
there is only one thing I would miss if Flash died entirely.
"All your Base are Belong to Us". - Larry

rocknbil




msg:1563436
 4:48 pm on Mar 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

^ ^ ^ LOL . . . What about other greats such as the celebrity deathmatch boxing game, and all the school project asteroid dupes? :-)

SWFWizard




msg:1563437
 2:39 am on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Flash dies...I'd love to see that happen. I'm sure that the average internet user loves to stare at text all day...blocking flash ads...haha. Are text ads any different?

twist




msg:1563438
 5:29 pm on Apr 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

In my opinion, text ads are as exciting as watching grass grow. I typically don't like flash ads but I have seen some pretty amazing ones that without a doubt have caught my attention.

headown




msg:1563439
 11:14 am on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Months ago I embarked on designing my own site to showcase my photography portfolio. I really admired some others I'd seen that used Flash exclusively. Not having knowledge of HTML, CSS, even WYSIWYG, I found Flash very easy to learn with stunning results and slick presentation. However, I sell prints and my market spans well into the senior citizen surfers, those most likely to reject the technology. I bit the bullet and did it the old fashioned way, with static HTML pages. In the end it looks fantastic and I'm happy I avoided the flash experience. My most common surfing activity is reading the NYTimes on-line. I visit several times a day. Their ad space has increased dramatically with flash usage. I find it very difficult to read the news when there are looped, spinning and vibrating images less than an inch from the text. So I keep flash disabled all the time while surfing with Safari. Now it's great, not only are there no disturbing flash ads, but less adspace all around as the flash is replaced with an empty white box. And what's crazy, is now when I surf to some of the photography websites that were flash based and such an inspiration in design, I land on a blank page. Zilch. No notice, no alternative, not a single word. I feel bad for these artists as I am guessing they were convinced by a designer that it's the cool way to go, but not having an alternative is a big risk, and a diservice to your visitors. And really, I'm a young guy who loves cool technology, but if 90% of that technology manifests in the form of annoying commercials and I have the possibility to erase them, why wouldn't I?

twist




msg:1563440
 5:16 pm on May 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't personally use flash to show photos but a good use for flash would be a photo slide show or something similiar. For example, have the typical thumbnail pages but also include a link to view a flash photo slide show. It's not forced and if done right could be a great addition to any photo website because flash has the ability to fit the photo to the screen. People with smaller resolutions would really enjoy not having to use scrollbars to view images and flash can fit images to screensize much better than a browser can. Browsers tend to create jagged distorted images when they are automatically downsized.

headown




msg:1563441
 12:06 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

It really seems like Flash gets used mostly in a form that is trying to bridge the web page to the TV. Advertisers I'm sure love the ability to change and refill the adspace they've secured, as well as enticing viewers with clever statements strung out over a movie. This method can really hold the attention of even those (like myself) who couldn't care less what they're selling. But really, imagine you had a button on the remote control of your TV that could turn of the commercials. And as advertisers increase their use of Flash, the more people will disable it. Then the ad folks will get hip to this and realize they're missing a chance for a click. It's only a matter of time. So something will give, another evolution will occur. I don't think Flash will "die" any time soon, but perhaps higher speed connections will merit the replacement of swf files with streaming formats, and Flash will seem like nothing more than a charming relic, like 'flip books'. Even if it retains its usefulness for advanced animated graphics, as long as it carries the stigma of an ad, one's continued use of Flash as a design element could only be considered as an enhancement. In other words, you have to accept that maybe they'll see it, maybe they won't. And more likely, they won't. In terms of users getting savvy enough to disable plug-ins, I would guess that blocking distracting ads is going to be one of the first things they venture into the preference menu to change. (Blocking Pop-ups is often already checked by default upon installation of most browsers, isn't it?) They will probably feel pretty clever when they succeed, because I certainly did. And they won't think twice about what they might be missing.

A quick anecdote: I sent my father to my photography site to take a look and test it out. I figured he's a good average candidate for testing. He uses the internet daily, he doesn't really get how it works, and I figured he was still surfing with his browser's default settings. He reported back that he didn't see any pictures. Over the telephone, we walked through his IE browser preferences, and we discovered he had disabled all JPEG and GIF images! He'd been surfing this way for months! He said he did this for fear of getting a virus, as per a friend's piece of advice. I can only hope that a user purposely visiting a photo web site would know to enable images, but I cannot assume they'd be willing to turn their Flash on, if it were disabled.

WorkingDesigns




msg:1563442
 5:09 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

IMHO the problem is not with Flash itself, but the way it is over used when HTML/CSS can do the job just as effectively. Flash is an appropriate tool for developing games, interactive tutorials, product demos and maps which cannot be done as easily or effectively using HTML/CSS. As for people turning off Flash because it delivers ads, what is to stop people eventually switching off all ads ie graphics, video, sound, affiliate code etc. Flash is one of the many tools at a Web developers disposal and if used appropriately it can add to a users experience.

HughMungus




msg:1563443
 5:38 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

As for people turning off Flash because it delivers ads, what is to stop people eventually switching off all ads ie graphics, video, sound, affiliate code etc.

People can already do that. A text or image ad either doesn't distract you while you're trying to read something or it can be stopped by hitting escape or your browser's stop button. The ad is still there, but, it's not distracting you. You can't do that with Flash ads. Smart publishers would be wise to always have an ad that is served if a Flash ad cannot be.

Another bad thing about Flash is that if you don't have it installed yet or if you don't have the latest version, you're prompted to install it -- over and over and there's NO alternative to NOT installing it other than blocking Flash entirely. This is the same kind of prompt that appears for evil cursor/dialer/spyware programs (when people are told, "Never install anything from a website"). Not smart.

twist




msg:1563444
 9:13 pm on May 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is the same kind of prompt that appears for evil cursor/dialer/spyware programs (when people are told, "Never install anything from a website"). Not smart.

This is my fear with using cookies. Either people have them permanently disabled or they get the dreaded popup asking if they want to allow cookies from my website. At least with flash I can put a warning on the link to the page or the page itself saying it will require a special type of program called Flash in order to work but it would be impossible to explain to people that the next page requires cookies. I really wished they had picked a name other than cookies. Imagine your grandmas computer telling her she needs cookies.

headown




msg:1563445
 11:57 am on May 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

In one of my previous posts, I used the NYTimes site as an example of how disabling plug-ins results in white space where an ad should be. I'm now noticing they've re-scripted their pages so that when the site detects that I've disabled flash, a static graphic ad is inserted in it's place. I was going to be surprised if this was was overlooked for very long. The Times as of last week completely redesigned it's article pages, and I'm wondering if this mistake and correction were part of the process. Now I realize that a site can determine that I have flash installed, yet disabled. (no prompt to install flash, alternate content displayed). That means an administrator can collect statistics on how many users are surfing with this combination. Those are statistics I would be interested in seeing.

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