Should We Still Use Flash?

Someone recently declared to me that we should stop using Flash. It had me thinking about where and how we use Flash. It seems that, unless a site is a 3D world or needs something only flash can offer, it should be used sparingly. If you just want a big image with text, maybe a full-page Flash site is not your best option. Also, I think it is inappropriate to use Flash as a method to smooth the loading between pages with some slick transition. The impact on your Search Engine Visibility suffers more than it's worth.

I'll use Contento Interactive as the example. The header was built in Flash as an eye catcher, while the content remains HTML. Each enhances the other. The user can appreciate the animation and the Search-bots can appreciate the easily read copy. This decision also depends entirely on your business/advertising model. For Contento Interactive, it is important that the tutorials and articles inspire good ranking for people searching for Flash development. I've seen plenty of fantastic full Flash sites (try VectorPark) that gain recognition because of the quality of their content earning in-links from other sources, which to Google is the cat's meow for grading sites. Full Flash is possible, but you have to offer something worth linking to, and a smooth transition is not it.

On the other hand, Search engines are getting better at indexing Flash files. there are still many miles to travel before it works great, but it's a start. According to Google, TextFields with embedded content can be indexed - which puts the kibosh on dynamically loaded content. But then again, xml streaming into your page is also considered, as long as it's marked up clearly.

As I see it (pun intended) the absolute solution to this whole problem is to create a snapshot of a page as it appears on the screen, grab and convert the visible text, as you would a scanned document, and index it. This way, an image with copy or Flash or a movie will be indexable regardless. Speech recognition is impressive at this point - so indexing audio should be possible in the near future. Even images can be tested with face recognition and shape isolation to determine what is in there. Extracting the words is just the beginning. The same technology can be applied to Google Street View, for example, indexing the world as seen from the street. Seems far fetched? So did a handheld intercom device featured on Star Trek in 1966. Luckily the two-tone spandex body suit never caught on!



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Gry Online | June 2, 2010 4:14 am
You certainly deserve a round of applause for your post and more specifically, your blog in general. Very high quality material

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