Miles Young
Miles Young 17 January 2014

5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Flash on Your Website

Discover the downsides to using Flash on your website in the modern web era.

An attractive website can do great things for your business. Adobe Flash makes for some cool looking sites, but it has enough downsides that you should think twice before using it. What are those downsides?

It Doesn’t Boost Your SEO


Search Engine Optimization is one of the best ways for you to gain visibility, build credibility as an authority in your industry, and acquire more customers. Hence, you want to do everything you can to make your site appeal to search engines. Flash, unfortunately, as it says at, “...serves your content in a way that seals off search engines from your data… it gives all of your content to the browser in one pile of code that isn’t indexable by most search engines.”


Search engines can easily read HTML content, giving those sites a huge advantage over ones that rely on Flash.


Compatibility Issues


You’re at home surfing the Internet and come across an amazing website. The next day, you bust out your mobile device to show the website to a friend and you end up disappointed. Why? Because the website relies on Flash and many mobile devices do not support Flash. Check out this list of devices that do support Flash to see how limited that design platform really is. Notice that some of the most popular devices are not on the list.   

One infographic on mobile usage points out that 50 percent of people who own a mobile phone use it as their go-to Internet source. If one of those users stumbles across a Flash-dominated website and can’t view it, how likely is that person going to be to go back to that website when they go home and sit at their desktop? 


Flash websites also have a fixed size, so a site designed for display on a small resolution screen will stay small on screens with a bigger resolution. That leaves the viewer with an itty bitty Flash site in the middle of a huge screen.


Painful Updates


Website managers usually maintain their sites through a content management system (CMS). With such a system, even if you hire a designer to get your site up and running, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to take care of minor updates yourself in the future. CMS updates often work on cloud SaaS platforms. This means no matter if you’re working on a home connection or remotely with a Hughesnet satellite connection, updating your content remains just as easy.


With Flash, however, it’s a different story. One of the major reasons to avoid it is that updates are tricky to execute, meaning you might be at a total loss if you try to do it yourself. The expense and time it takes to have a pro make every update for you takes away from the productivity and usefulness of your website.


Usability Concerns


Websites that contain nothing but Flash have some particularly outstanding problems, as listed by an expert in his blog. A few of those problems are:

  • Bookmarking blues. It’s not possible to bookmark a specific part of a Flash website.
  • Touchy about touch. On many Flash websites, interaction depends on rolling a mouse over something.  Even many desktops are going the way of the touchscreen, making this feature kind of a bummer.
  • Too much hunting. In-page search is a convenient way to find exactly what you want without endless scrolling. This feature does not work on Flash sites.
  • Overwhelming effects. The point of a website goes beyond looking cool. It should also function well. Some developers go overboard with Flash and end up making a website that is tricky to navigate. Resist the temptation by forgoing Flash altogether.

Impending Obsolescence states it well when it says, “There’s nothing that you could do with Flash that you can’t do without Flash.” Basically, Flash had its time in the web design limelight, but now it is an old and troublesome tool that does not cater to the wants of today’s Internet users. Some developers still rely on Flash because they are creatures of habit or because they don’t keep up with evolving standards in web design. You don’t need to fall into that same trap.


If you’re just getting started on designing your website, or it’s time to give it a makeover, explore the world beyond Flash. Your website viewers will appreciate it.

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