>From a surfers point of view, are they really bothered?
As a surfer (on a dial-up), I truly, truly hate Flash. It ranks right up there with pop-ups. I can't begin to list the number of sites that I have voted in support of their choice of flash with the "Back" key.
As a surfer on dial-up, I hate Flash sites that greet me with (LOADING....), and a staus bar that says 2% of 783kb downloaded)
But I also hate sites that take download minutes indtead of second for any reason whatsoever.
I've seen sites with Flash elements that are respectful, that download as fast as a straight HTML site, and that are very easy on the eyes, intuitive to navigate, and well done in general.
I don't feel the problem lies in Flash technology itself, it lies in developers who misuse it (and there are MANY), thinking that the index page is a great place for full audio/video infomercials.
That being said, I'm sure that vector graphics will be importan in the web's future. It may come in through open source SVG, rather than Flash however.
Flash is very cool. However, it is not so cool if you are trying to climb in the search engines.
I think the use of a lot of flash (the home page, for example) depends on your audience. If you are coding for the general public you don't want to design a home page in flash because of download issues. However, if your site is targeted towards businesses or corporations then Flash can be the way to go if your trying to impress.
I've seen some really remarkably cool Flash sites, using original, (fairly) intuitive interfaces that really couldn't be done any other way....
I think Flash will end up being primarily an "accent" technology to the web. There are great things that can be done with it, but a lot more routine things that can be done more compatibly with other technology.
As already stated meeting a large flash file on a home page is often off putting when for the majority of visits you want simple product info.
As a designer Flash is excellent because it gets rid of the layout/compatibility issues associated with different browsers and plateforms. However, it is often an excuse for the creativily challenged to get aaway with poor design and technical expertise.
I think Flash will become more widely used especially with the growing ability to link to dynamic content without the need to have the Genorater server component.
Used wisely this an effect technology.
I must admit I agree with RC in that I don't have the patience to wait for a "Flash-Only" site to load - well most of the time, the Jaguar site is an exception.
But I am seeing an increasing number of sites using Flash as smaller components of the overall design. I have seen some graphical presentations that you would not be able to do in gifs in a fit, and yet are still under 10k.
Until we have suitable bandwidth, which even then will not be enough but that is another story, then I believe complete-flash sites are a no-no. But Flash components that load whilst there is something else to occupy the viewer can be quite effective.
As a surfer, I go to to a site for info- I want it now - I want it yesterday but not tomorrow evening.
Sony Broadcast are having a total revamp of their site........ by the time you've tracked down the info you want- the model has been updated! Lovely looking site but a prime example of how NOT to do it
All to often, I get the feeling Flash is there just as an ego trip for the person who has put them there, bit like video effects. Have I ever done it with video...certainly not ;)
A few personal observations:
My site is very graphics intensive, and I've gone back and forth on the Flash question many times. (i.e. am I living in the dark ages by NOT using Flash???)
But, I can honestly say that, while I HAVE seen some Flash sites that were interesting, I have NEVER seen a Flash site that I re-visited BECAUSE OF the Flash presentation. Rather, I find the Flash display very annoying on the second visit to the site.
Many web designers who employ Flash to a high degree seem to think that the ONLY reason surfers want to come to your site is to view the great Flash presentation that THEY created. Couple this with site owners/managers who really have no clue, and you get the situation we have now - long load times for Flash presentations that surfers aren't really all that influenced by.
I've also noticed many sites employ FLASH to make up for the fact that there is really no other meaningful content on the site.
As far as I know Flash is the best way for delivering sound.
I can take a 1meg wave file and loop it in Flash where the file size becomes 12K. And it will stream meaning it will play before it's all there.
There's a lot of Flash abuse around but methinks we haven't seen the end of that technology ...not even close.
>There's a lot of Flash abuse around but methinks we haven't seen the end of that technology ...not even close.
...not even close to seeing the end of the technology, or not even close to seeing the end of the abuse? ;)
Edited by: sean_orourke
Edited by: sean_orourke
>...not even close to seeing the end of the technology, not even close to seeing the end of the abuse?
Both. ;) We're *still* seeing rampant abuse of animated GIFs, and Flash must be even more appealing to those types.
I admit it
I LIKE FLASH
I think we will see a whole lot more in the future. Perhaps to many people here at WebmasterWorld thats bad news but just do your part and dont abuse it (whatever that defines out to be to you).
What can you do with sound? [killersound.com]
BH, (deep down) I really like and appreciate the Flash technology, even though I may only like 1% of Flash sites. The big question: will a large enough % of Flash designers focus on usability before the average surfer accumulates too much Flash baggage? It is good to see that Macromedia has added zones for usability [macromedia.com] and accessibility [macromedia.com].
Calls to mind the tongue-in-cheek model of Web technology adoption:
* The technology shows great promise, but availability is not widespread.
* The availability becomes universal, but the technology starts to get abused.
* The technology is raised to an artform, but many heavy users have already disabled it (or actively ignore it).
Good links sean.
Could you imagine if you had a development team with the likes of a Hillman Curtis and a Brett Tabke and a Jakob Neilsen working toward a common goal of producing a user friendly, high-ranking, beautiful site? I see it coming ;). Macromedia is a solid company and as you can see they are starting to address the issues with Flash.
The 40K rule doesn't change just cuz you got 90 seconds of video of your granny jumping the Grand Canyon on her three-wheeled bicycle. Even if you do yank out 8 frames a second and DeBabelize the crap out of it and then speed it back up to 15 frames a second when you publish...it's still gonna be bigger than 40K.
If it is cool and you build it....they will come...and come back to see it again, and send their friends too. But giving the viewer a choice is good customer relations :)
I think one good sign is the willingness on MM's part to let the technology go open source. Our buds down under have really taken it and run with it.
Swift Tools [swift-tools.com]
Flash is "cool" technology, I love to play with it, just to see what creative things can be done with it.
Unless a web site is "Shocked Site of The Day", and I'm going there specifically to see what cool stuff was done with Flash, IHMO it adds absolutly nothing to a web site that would make anyone want to visit or return.
When I go to a web site, I'm looking to either buy something, find information quickly, maybe find out what services a company offers, review it for a directory listing:)etc..
Imagine a real world store where it was required that every time you went to shop, you had to wait for the door to open while you were forced to watch the companies' logo jump around? Probably wouldn't go there too often. Maybe at the door the clip you had to watch actually contained some valuable information. If the customer wanted to watch the clip, they ought to be able to choose if they want to watch it, and shouldn't have to stand outside and watch the same clip (that was at one time informative) every time they visit.
Same goes for an ad agency, or virtually other kind of site.
As mentioned numerous other times inthis thread, download time is often severly hampered by Flash, another reason to avoid it.
IMHO the web is not television, most use of Flash assumes that people come to watch the web, and they don't. The web is a medium in which people look for information, and if they feel comfortable enough with what they see and the technology they use, they might actually break down and sacrifice a credit card number to purchase something. Find some people who are not intimately familiar with the web and ask them what they think of it?
It sometimes seems really funny to listen to my grandparrents talk about the web, and how confusing it is. They just want something that makes them feel comfortable, and is easy to use. They do however have to spend money, and probably have a fair amount to spend, as do many of that generation and others nearing retirement who are not terrible technically savvy. Overblown design (not necessarily referring to Flash) will not help attract their money that is going to be spent somewhere. It could be a lot easier (and in many cases more desirable) for them to simply log on, point click, order, than driving all the way to the mall to pick up something that is not needed immediately. (But it's not)
It (Flash) could be likened to the New Coke debacle a while back. When people were given a taste test, they loved the sweet taste of it, but when it came to drinking a whole serving, it just wasn't that great. Flash looks cool, and a taste can wet the palate (sp?), but when actually encountered and navigated in a real world scenario where people are action and task oriented, it just doesn't measure up.
There is one entertaining newletter that covers this type of thing with a bit of humor, is it OK to post URL's of things like that here, or is any URL posting against guidelines?
Edited by: skibum
Thanks for asking about the URL post first skibum! You definitely get big brownie points for that.... ;)
URL posting is a flexible issue here. It's generally frowned upon, esp. when it's an affiliate link or someone pushing their service or product site (outside the commercial forum). But in this case, I'd say it's probably fine.
One way we like to see it done is to put a 'hidden' link like this [webmasterworld.com]. (That link leads you to the code directions for the board script... like how to do links, bold, italic, etc.) That way, people can access the information without the URL getting direct promotion.
After reading the moderator guidelines I wasn't sure if was just signatures that were frowned upon or links all together. In any case here's a link to a rather enlightening newsletter [grokdotcom.com] on the topic of how technology, design, and usability all blend together to make for a good or bad web experience.
>BH> Could you imagine if you had a development team with the likes of a Hillman Curtis and a Brett Tabke and a Jakob Neilsen working toward a common goal of producing a user friendly, high-ranking, beautiful site? I see it coming.
It might already be here...
* Brett Tabke has arguably the most usable forum on the planet.
* Jakob Nielsen can be found easily in the search engines for almost everything related to usability.
* Hillman Curtis unleashed the quote "I don't think any animation is worth a 30-second download."
I also agree with Mivox's earlier comment about Flash being used primarily as an "accent" technology. Of course, there will be plenty of exceptions, but for many sites it will be the "spice", not the meat & potatos. Some sites may only feature Flash in the hosted advertisements. Macromedia's Rich Media Center [macromedia.com] has some good info for anyone interested in learning about Flash advertising.
skibum and everyone - a Foo recent thread at [webmasterworld.com...] attempts to clarify some of the URL posting policies at WebmasterWorld, you may find it useful.
I LOVE Flash! It is great - The best when PROPERLY used!
The biggest error i have noticed on this board is the perspective people seem to assume that because they dont like it other people wont like it.
Rule Number 1: Never assume anything
People are impressed with effects wether you like it or not otherwise Hollywood would not exist! At the moment everyone is coding in HTML because thats the most common and best method of delivering online content. BUT the day will come when the web becomes broadband and delivers rich multimedia content.
Why is flash so good? Because you design it and it will look the same on any machine and any browser! No worrying about margins, how the browser going to look at your code, etc.
There should never be a flash only site, I am well aware that not everyone wants to see animation - they want to cut straight to the hard info which is why you have a HTML version of the site. However some ppl do like to be entertained so im going try and cater to their needs as well.
Flash as with any other medium come equipped with its own little problems but as with every other medium it is merely a stepping stone to get to somewhere much better!!
Long Live Flash!
Yes its true there are thousand of bad flash sites almost as many as bad HTML pages ;)
Very well put Knighty :)
>Yes its true there are thousand of bad flash sites almost as many as bad HTML pages
...thousands more bad html sites actually
I came across this recently very impresssed shame about the download time, but what a work of art.
makes me want to go out and rent "Enter the Dragon" again
I got there first. Posted in foo!
I actually waited for that page to load on my *home* connection... whooo. Worth the wait though. :)
I think that's going to be the biggest area for Flash, no matter what... entertainment sites. People will wait for movies and games and stuff like that. They won't wait for information, and they probably won't wait for shopping/customer service.
A lot of Flash-y menu/navigation/'pratical' effects will soon be possible with DHTML, once browsers actually live up to all major standards for CSS1 & 2 and HTML (which is definitely coming in the next versions or two). Then the only thing Flash will be necessary for is really graphically intensive stuff like animation. And I think the web is definitely a minimalist medium, where if it isn't necessary, it will fade out of use.
I regularly see flash that could have been done in DHTML, I think I know partly why. There are a lot of people who have bet their intellectual farm on Flash, they've invested so much time in it that given half the chance they will use flash for *anything* - I think this also the reason you see "flash only" sites, its a hell of a lot easier for them to position content and graphics in it than HTML.
Last year I took on a site that had been done entirely in flash (not even very nice looking flash at that) and developed an HTML version of it. The pages loaded quicker than their 150k flash counterparts and the product shots and graphics looked pin sharp compared to the dodgy flash. My sister who is completely oblivious to web design and technology happened to ask what I was working on, I sent her the link and asked her what she thought. Her reply was "I like flash sites - they look professional".
I think a lot of the average surfing public see flash and no matter what quality they are impressed.
In the favour of flash I think there is a lot of bad flash that gives it a bad name, you can produce neat tasteful but still "flashy" flash for a few kilobytes.
The ones that realy crack me up are site's that just use flash for some snazzy navigtion bar, sad or what! Even more so when they don't offer any alternative when surfers don't have the plugin.
I've just finished an html site for a recruitment company and they now want a flash site to run along side, so I've talked them into letting my autistic powers oop's artistic powers :) run and produce a flash presentation, should be fun.
Something else I've noticed, I made a site for company a few months ago, giving the option of entering the flash site or html part and after analysing the log's 70% of traffic goes to the flash site.
"Like most things in life, everthing has a place" *tigger how profound* :)
This is very nifty... a designer's site where the mystery navigation is explained visually at the end of the intro animation... and yes, the intro is actually worth watching.
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