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Designing Flash Websites: Pros and Cons
By: Joe Eitel
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    2009-04-01

    Table of Contents:
  • Designing Flash Websites: Pros and Cons
  • Pros of Flash Websites
  • Cons of Flash Websites
  • When Should You Use Flash?

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    Designing Flash Websites: Pros and Cons - Cons of Flash Websites


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    There are many disadvantages to utilizing Flash, none of which are more obvious than others in general. The disadvantages really come out depending on the situation. For a website that is made entirely of Flash, there are several cons that are quite obvious. The first is that you cannot make use of the "forward" or "back" buttons in the browser to get between pages.

    By the same token, you cannot navigate straight to an individual page or bookmark a page other than the home page. Although developers can get around these limitations though creative development, the fact is that web browsers were not created with Flash in mind. Although this may change in the future, for the present this is a weakness that affects all users.

    As mentioned in the introduction, one up-front weakness of Flash development is the relatively high cost of hiring somebody to make whatever website or application you want. In addition to the high cost, the turnover time is longer. Also, if you ever want to make changes to your website, they are relatively difficult. If you cannot get the same developer to make the changes, then whatever new developer you find may have an easier time simply re-doing the entire website. Obviously, the costs can mount up very quickly for even small changes.

    One weakness is a minor issue for some users but a very major issue for others. This is the fact that the file size of Flash websites is significantly larger than that of typical websites. While this is not a huge issue for broadband users who will be able to download the website in just a few seconds, 56K users may have a load time that is simply unbearable for them. Any user that navigates away from a web page before it has even loaded is a user that will never generate revenue or serve the purpose of a website.

    On that same idea, some users do not even have the software installed necessary to view Flash. If they do not have the Flash Player, then they will not be able to see any part of a Flash website. These users are incapable of seeing the website whether they want to or not: another lost customer. Although most users today do have Flash Player installed, many public computers (such as in libraries, schools, or workplaces) specifically do not install the player for security reasons as well as to ensure that people using the computers are not getting off task.

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