Sunday, October 5, 2008

Uses of Flash

One of my pet peeves lately has been reading articles, posts, and comments about the limitations of Flash and how it should only be used as icing on websites and not the cake. In the Flash Community, most developers know better, but venture outside of this bubble and you will discover a scary world, a world similar to idiocracy (but HTML pages have electrolytes), in which everyone views Flash as evil and should be used as little as possible.

One of my first tastes of this outside world came when I joined Triiibes, an online community focusing on marketing. After a few heated debates within Triiibes, I wrote this post on why Flash sites should not be overlooked by the marketing community.

Yet still, the majority of the online community still views Flash as a redheaded step child only to be let out in small doses. Just search "uses of flash" and you will see what I mean. The top result is an interesting article from GoogleWebmasterCentral that states how Flash is only meant for Video, icing, and I hate to even say it... Splash Screens. ugh. Seriously? We realize splash screens were a mistake, do we still have to go there?

This negative attitude seems to be spilling over into the Flash community as well. I recently read Lee Brimelow's summary of FOTB. The last paragraph mentions how Jonathan Harris ranted about the current state of the Flash community being too focused on experimentation. Lee does a nice job of pointing out that experimentation "is only a small fraction of what Flash is used for."

Sure we have our fair share of Artsy Experimentation (at lot of which is bad ass by the way... just check out Natzke and you will see what I mean.) And I will admit, Flash does a damn good job w/ video... it is the backbone of youTube and even Hulu. But to say its not cut out for the real world is just plain naive.

All it takes is a few minutes looking at past conference winners to see the variety of excellent work out there. You will see everything from animated shorts, to games, to e-commerce, to educational, to 3D, and beyond. And these types of sites are popping up daily, just make a trip over to theFWA and you will see some premier sites hot off the presses. Whats more is that there is an entire underground group that uses Flash off-line, which is rarely recognized by most people. These underground projects include installations, presentations, and even complex visualizations used by the Department of Defense. I am guessing not many people realize just how far reaching the Flash community exists.

Still, there are going to be haters out there who say, "but HTML has electrolytes (SEO) and Flash should never be used for a full website or application." Really? Can your electrolytes pull off Nike's site?. A site riddled with true interactive experiences backed with deep linking and global language support.

It is about time the outside world realizes there is more to Flash than Splash Screens and that SEO is not the end all be all to what makes a website successful.

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