Boycotting Flash

I’ve had it.  I’m done with Flash and Silverlight and any other bogus “Rich Internet Application” technology used to deliver what should be normal websites on the WWW.  Now, internal websites/applications are something entirely different.

But relying on Flash to deliver information guarantees an absolutely abysmal user experience.  Designers, I know you’re a clever artsy bunch, but most of the time these types of sites leave users guessing on what to do and where to click.  Websites aren’t meant to be a guessing game.  But in Flash sites, I’m relegated to wave the mouse around to see what I’m supposed to click.  It’s a fun game, maybe there are some Easter eggs hidden in there.  Is that little box the Menu page?  Oh yes, because the box unfolded and a flower popped out.

I remember the days when Flash sites had a “low bandwidth” option.  For me it was the “you just want to get to the information and not see a dancing clown” option.  I can’t copy text.  I can’t bookmark pages.  Back/forward doesn’t work.  I enter a new land, where the last 10 years of using the HTML paradigm do not work, and it’s now up to the whim of the designer to invent a new paradigm, hopefully incorporating some lame Smash Mouth song.

Please, designers, leave Flash to where it belongs – ads, games and streamed content.  If you’re a restaurant, I don’t care about entering your site through a Flash facade of your physical location.  I don’t want to click a door to enter.  I just want to see the menu.  I just want to place a to-go order.  I just want to find your closest location.  Not solve some Myst-type labyrinth of insanity.  My favorite Firefox plugin – Flashblock – lets me boycott Flash.  I’ll decide when I want that garbage to show up, thank you very much.

About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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  • Ram

    Bookmarks and Back/Forward work on a Silverlight app, but the developer has to do some tricks in order to have it (DeepLinking and some JScript respectively)… but I have to admit that the missing copy/paste functionality is a pity !

  • ” I can’t copy text. I can’t bookmark pages. Back/forward doesn’t work”

    Thats true of a lot of Ajax apps too though, look at google maps where URL in address bar stays the same but I can click on a “link” button to get a real URL.

    “I enter a new land, where the last 10 years of using the HTML paradigm do not work”

    I get you but even on the Web side the more we write JavaScript or use Google Gears or whatever the more we’re thinking of moving beyond the basic HTML paradigm.

    I guess I’m ambivalent on Silvelight but a former colleague ( was using it to create a snazzy app called Colaab and the thought of desinging such an experience using HTM/JQuery or whatever is scary. Plus you can get things done quicker and without so many technologies involved.

    Tradeoffs is all I’m saying.

  • @colinjack

    That’s why I would make the distinction between a RIA and one that is just there to deliver information. It seems that, at least in the states, that restaurants are the biggest culprit. Since there is no one paradigm, I have to guess.

  • As with all general statements, you can find cases where this doesn’t apply. I agree that when it comes to restaurants, most are probably better served with clean HTML pages. But then again, the inconvenience it costs us may be offset by higher sales with the average customer.

    I know that for the photography business, having Flash is pretty critical since you need to present your work in a fancy / schnazzy way. Just having a bunch of images on a page or even using something like the jQuery Lightbox plugin just makes you look like an amateur compared to the others.

  • Richard Marriott

    Hi….On the subject of presenting photography, doesn’t Flickr do a pretty good job of this without using Flash?

  • +1

    I hate sites that force you into their site through Flash. Half the time I leave before even going further. Movie and musician sites favor Flash too, which is disappointing.

  • Matt

    I guess you’d love

  • @Matt


  • Böopler C

    I absolutely and completely agree with the author.

    To say I am offended by sites that force visitors into “upgrading” their browser or “installing” flash that I already have but chose not use is to put it very, very mildly.

    The amount of pure garbage polluting the internet bandwidth has become mind boggling and trying to find relevant information amid the cacophony created by Flash and the labirynthine procedurism enforced by JavaScript has made it more difficult than the old time library search methods the internet was supposed to liberate us from.

  • mike
    perfectt example of what the web should be
    Gawd I’m gonna puke if i see one more whack a mole game of joke of the day oe evony ad…

    How about a pure html kulture
    dial up site quality
    call it t-model or hotrodor just retro.
    You computer geeks have alot to learn…adding stuff on that has nothing to do with operations is not how you get faster or better.
    I’mgonna get me an html holesaw and lighten up the net

  • Geri

    i totally feel it, brah.