1. Flash will go away when HTML5 works properly in every browser and on every platform. In other words, not any time soon.

  2. I can’t help but feel that most of these agencies use Flash because the majority of their clients are not savvy in internet marketing – they’re a “I Know What I Want When I See It” crowd – and to be fair, Flash often looks amazing. Couldn’t agree more about the fact that it kills compatibility with anything that’s not a PC or that it’s often used inappropriately.

    These agencies are only pandering to their target market. Are they doing the right thing? Probably not, but if the difference is having a revenue stream vs. not having one at all, I can understand why they want to use Flash – lest they lose the opportunity for a sale to someone who does use it.

    I wasn’t impressed with Steve Jobs stance on Flash. Like it or not, it’s widely used – and Apple does need to take some steps to work with Adobe (and yes, this may include some financing) to bring the product up to scratch on Macs (including the iPhone and the iPad). Sticking his fingers in his ears and going “Lalala Flash doesn’t matter, our users can access 99% of the content on the net via other means” isn’t exactly a sound solution in my books.


    1. That is the most reasonable counter argument I’ve heard so far. I’m gonna give you your 2c back and also the $2 I was gonna give Steve Jobs.
      And yes, I’ve also been victim of the “yes we want our site social so Twitter and Facebook like it, but it’s gotta have pretty swirly things all over it”.

  3. Seriously, no-one cares about iPhone or the fact that Flash won’t work on it.

    For the record, I don’t like Flash.

  4. I say it’s the creatives, they see homepages as the reception area; all status & glitz or maybe Art?

    If you can’t do SEO or viral traffic..give them colour and movement that will justify the 5 figure bill for the site.

  5. Flash has its place. When Nike releases a new basketball shoe, they want an epic Flash movie, depicting a heroic basketballer battling faceless foes. (They want this: http://www.nike.com/jumpman23/cp3/#/video1 ) Flash is the best vehicle for this.

    If you want to argue the sense of Nike’s marketing approach, speak with Nike. But there’s no arguing the sense of the agency website approach. They use Flash (and auto-play audio) for their own sites because Nike and the like are their target clients, and that’s what THEY want. Agencies need to showcase their capabilities, or they simply don’t get a look in.

    Personally, I’m not really a fan of Flash sites. They can be very clever and fun to look at, but for information, HTML is best. Nor am I a fan of auto-play audio. But I’m not the target market of an agency website.

    Of course, as an SEO, I know the challenges Flash presents. And I know that it’s not for everyone, and definitely shouldn’t be recommended to everyone. Having said that, Flash isn’t necessarily the death-knell of your ranking. Good SEOs know how to deal with it; it just makes things harder, not impossible.

    iPhone? No big deal. Just create an alternate HTML site! Degradation, people!!!

    It’s easy to point out crap Flash sites. But there are a heap of really clever ones too. Just check out http://www.thefwa.com/ for some examples. Some are, no doubt, pointless and ill-conceived. But the same can be said of many, many HTML sites.

    Horses for courses.

  6. It goes like this:

    Boss: Hey we need to update our website!!!
    Designer: Huh?
    Boss: Ours looks shit! Who designed it?
    Designer: I did it just last year…
    Boss: Have you seen “name-of-other-agency-down-the-road’s” website?!
    Designer: Huh? No. When did they update their website?
    Boss: Went live today at 1pm!
    Designer: Right…
    Boss: We need a new website now! Something that is going to wow the clients, knock their socks off, and show them what we can do! Whatever you do, its got to look better than this [pointing to shiny new, all moving, singing, dancing website of other agency] !
    Designer: Okay, okay… I’ll get the developers on to it.

    2 days and nights later….

    Designer: Hey geek boy! We need our new website up by next week! Here’s my design.
    Geek boy: Huh? Next week? Okay, as long as it doesn’t have any Flash…
    Designer: Yeah? I don’t know, but I think it might!
    Geek boy: Lets see. Its amazing what we can do in HTML5 now. And we should consider mobile, SEO, blogs, social media, Facebook, Twitter…
    Designer: What’s that?!
    Geek boy: [looking at new design] Yeah, I think we could do this in HTML5. What’s this…?
    Designer: Oh, that’s how everything will move on the page!
    Geek boy: Are you kidding! Is that really necessary…?

    1 month later…
    Geek boy: Okay its live!
    Boss: Yeah? About time!
    Designer: Cool. Hey, I think that animation should come on faster…

    1 month later…
    Geek boy: I don’t think anyone is going to our site… the bounce rates are really high…and…
    Designer: I think it looks cool…
    Boss: Have you seen “name-of-other-agency-down-the-road’s” website?!

  7. The issue is that Steve Jobs never shared his toys as a kid and will end up dying on a deserted island full of useless gadgets.

  8. I love your logic!
    Some Flash sites are badly done -> many agencies use Flash -> therefore agency sites are badand also Flash is bad.

    By the way, you quote a statistic – “cut traffic by 50%” and link to the “research”. Nowhere on that link does it mention anything about cutting traffic.

    Anyway, I just found 10 really badly designed HTML websites. What should I use now?

    1. Thankyou,
      Yes those agency sites were pretty bad particularly as they are the “top” agencies for Australia.
      The link is not mine, it was embedded by Dr Jakob Nielsen, Mr-Website-Usability himself.

      Were those 10really badly designed HTML sites that you found also top Australian agency sites? Or at least the next 10 below the ones I listed? Wouldn’t really surprise me…

      Written on my iPad which thankfully blocks Flash sites (tho I admit to missing LITTLE flash elements and games -but not enough to want Flash turned on)

      1. I am sorry Laurel, but I am confused. You show 4 really bad examples of Flash to say that Flash itself is bad.
        None of these examples are even Australian and they are not even built by Australian Agencies.
        You then say that 9 of the top 10 Australian agencies are using Flash but give no opinion on whether you like their sites or not? I wonder if you even visited them. You just draw an incredibly tenuous comparison by the mere fact they have Flash in common.
        Using the same logic, I visited 10 really badly designed and built HTML websites. No they weren’t agency sites, but some agencies use HTML so their sites must be bad. We should ban HTML so people don’t misuse it.

        On the link issue, do you think you should maybe check sources before they are embedded? After all it’s your blog and you are using the link to reinforce your argument.

        If you don’t like Flash, great don’t use it and even block it. But if you are going to criticise it, come up with some better reasoning and don’t just jump on the bandwagon.

        I had hoped for better from you.

        1. One more comment –
          Had you done your research and actually gone to your hero agency “Whybin TBW Blog not Flash” (which is actually Whybin TBWA) and clicked on… oh I dunno, lets say the first link – “Adidas” you would have seen the following – “The locally produced engagement creative consisted of Flash driven game and rich media online executions”.

          Yes Laurel, that IS why they are number 1!

          1. *mildly* I wasn’t reviewing what they did for other clients but how they would present to my client looking for a top agency with an understanding of mobile and social requirements (eat your own dog food approach).
            I can see you are a Flash fan – not sure why you think I am saying kill Flash completely. I’m not. But I’ll leave you to your rants 🙂

        2. No need to apologise – the 3 examples were to highlight specific instances on how Flash is misused. The 4th example -non flash-is to show that bad taste reigns no matter the tool.
          When I visited the sites -you can see screenshots no? – I allowed the sites to load (browser flash blockers FTW!) And as someone looking for an agency to handle my client’s requirements they failed. Except maybe one.
          Btw “bandwagon” in social network jargon is often a “popular topic for discussion” tho trivialized. I think the loudest voices in the debate are pro Flash developers. The silent majority are not fans of Flash but think it “has to be”.

          So, I decided to do an impromptu review of agency sites for both social and mobile contextual relevancy. My verdict remains – as pretty shiny (debatable) brochure sites, Flash is fine. For anything else, use in moderation.

          1. Oh Laurel, put the shovel away and stop digging yourself deeper.

            To answer your comments:
            I am a Flash fan and also an HTML fan. I am a fan of the web and have been designing and developing for the web for 20 years.

            To answer your comment “not sure why you think I am saying kill Flash completely” – Um maybe the title of your blog post “Kill Flash Now”? Or maybe your $2 donation? If you have changed your mind, be honest and say so.

            My apology “I’m sorry Laurel I’m confused” was an apology that I couldn’t see your logic as there was none.

            And lastly, it is always interesting when people believe that they have the “silent majority” on their side. Especially with no facts, proof etc. You even go further and attempt to put words in the mouths of the silent majority – ‘The silent majority are not fans of Flash but think it “has to be”.’
            What do you base this on?
            I would suggest that the silent majority are quite happy with Flash and to back that up I will provide you with a fact – a statistic – Flash Player 10 – the latest version of Flash, until today, was adopted in record time – it went to 98% of internet connected PCs (including Macs) in less than 12 months. This is the fastest adoption ever. People have a choice whether or not to install the player. 98% is the voice of the silent majority Laurel. They are making their choice every day. You are obviously free to make yours.

            Also thanks for educating me on the use of the word bandwagon in respect to social media. As far as I can tell that is the same definition of the word that has existed since its inception.

            Let me offer you a social media definition – “Blog Post” – in your mind it seems to be ‘personal opinion offered as fact with no research, logic, proof, facts or substance of any kind.’

            You remind me of the leader who sees their people walking and thinks ‘There are my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them’.

            PS your blog is no longer on my reading list. If you ever decide to make some intelligent, researched, logical and interesting points I will be happy to come back, but for now, farewell.

            Stop digging Laurel, you are just embarrassing yourself.

          2. Oh, I couldn’t resist – your quoted article on ‘cutting traffic’ – that you claim was embedded in your post by “Dr Jakob Nielsen, Mr-Website-Usability himself.”

            Laurel, that article was written in October 2000!!!!

            C’mon, really? Do you think something may have changed in the last 10 years?

  9. Flash can only hurt a website, search engines cannot read flash so sites with flash cannot rank well on search engines, additionally flash it’s annoying to some people and looks unprofessional which could lead to high bounce rate

  10. HTML 5 doesn’t compare to flash, yes flash is implemented badly at times , specifically them times is not flashes portfolio but some bad developer! Flash is not just moving animations its a scripting language…if you have ever developed with flash im sure your thoughts would be different

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