Oli Warner About Contact Oli on Twitter Subscribe

Flash isn’t flashy

Monday, 12 February 2007 flash webdev

A fairly common complaint from some webdesigners is clients want too much Flash and this is fairly easy to understand.

Clients want flashy websites! That’s why they’ve come to see you in the first place. They want something that oozes class and makes people think they’re the best. Flash is pretty. It looks (or can, at least) look like it cost a million dollars, but more often than not, unnecessary Flash usage looks just that: unnecessary.

If you’re like me, you will realise Flash isn’t the mark of a great site — but conveying this feeling to the client isn’t always easy. When you’re working for somebody, it isn’t really viable for you to grab their tie, pull them across the table and scream in their face. That won’t help anybody.

You need to educate them. It won’t work with all clients but most should realise you know what you’re doing otherwise they wouldn’t have hired you for the job. Here are a few arguments against using Flash for everything on a website:

You should explain if they want certain aspects of Flash, like video, they can do that without the entire site being Flash-based. If they want something that looks like AJAX, suggest AJAX!

Some clients may infer they want you to work on two versions of the site — one that supports flash and one that does not. Where this might look like it’s going to net you twice the cash, you should explain that making two versions is making two sites. Making two sites is making it twice as hard to update and maintain.

Ultimately all of this requires good reasoning from you. You should suggest what is best for each scenario and it’s likely that some parts will require Flash. Don’t try and beat Flash down because you hate it — rather, because there is something better.