Flash Is Being Abused

Not The Flash, the comicbook character, but the multimedia application used by too many damn web sites for their entire content. I don’t mind Flash if it’s used minimally, as a tool used to deliver content HTML can’t provide; but why the hell do site designers use it for EVERYTHING. Fancy graphics and confusing user interfaces do not attract visitors who are simply looking for information, especially when the user has to wait for a Flash application to load.

I suspect a lot of site owners are convinced by would-be developers to have their site designed all in Flash because they’re told it’s the “latest and greatest” technology in use now; and then, once the finished site is presented in some fancy boarding room, the audience “Ohs” and “Ahs” over the neat, creative interface and features. And that’s it. No usability testing, no browser compatibility tests, and no feedback from objective users is given.

If I have to wait for more than 3 seconds for a site to load, or can’t figure out how to navigate a site in less than 5 seconds, I’m outta there; they’ve lost me as a visitor forever.

Some advice about programming user-interfaces (with Flash in mind):

  • Make site navigation obvious. Don’t use gimmicks where a user has to move the mouse over every pixel on the screen to see where the links are on the page.
  • Enable users to EASILY skip introductory splash screens.
  • Enable users to turn off sound and other annoying features.
  • Don’t manipulate the browser’s window. If I want to make the browser go to full-screen, *I’ll* do it.
  • Don’t use Flash when HTML and CSS will do.
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