Your Website on Flash—or Is HTML 5 the Way to Go?

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Often, whenever I’m asked a technical question I try hard not to descend into geek-speak, lest I soon find the once-interested questioner’s eyes have glossed over and, in my best guess, they are probably thinking about plans for the weekend.

I’ve found that one exception to the “thou shalt not use geek-speak with non-geeks” rule relates to the flash debate. Any iPhone user who has ever tried to visit a flash-based website on his iPhone and instead was greeted by a small blue question mark knows what I’m talking about.

For those who do not know what flash is, Wikipedia states that flash, “is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages.”

Steve Jobs wrote a blog post earlier this year that outlined why he decided against supporting flash on the iPhone and iPad. After Jobs’s blog post people started preparing eulogies for flash.

Despite the anti-flash sentiment, there are still a large number of people offering to design websites in flash. Anyone who is considering updating their website should understand some of the reasons why people are moving away from flash:

  • I would argue the biggest reason to dislike flash is because the iPhone and iPad don’t support it. With mobile internet usage skyrocketing, anyone with a website should not want to exclude a chunk of the fastest growing group of internet users.
  • Flash is generally more resource-intensive than other formats. In other words, it’s more likely to slow down a computer.
  • There are some security issues with flash. For instance, the security company McAfee predicted that Adobe products like flash would be the most targeted software for computer attacks.

HTML 5, a flash alternative, is a new standard that aims to add many of the interactive features that flash provides. People like HTML 5 because it addresses many of the limitations of flash. I expect that HTML 5 will become the new standard for interactive websites.

I don’t want to dismiss flash outright, but anyone considering investing money in a new website should think twice before basing that website on flash.

Jonathan Stoddard
KTG Inc.
Denver, Colo.

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