Flash technique in Web Design
Analysis & Showcase:
What is Flash, when and why to use it?
is it good or bad?
Flash is a vector animation software originally designed for creating animations to be displayed on web pages. Vector graphics are ideal for the web because they are very lightweight. Flash is a web design style that has become popular, and overused. Wikipedia defines it as: “a software platform that manipulates vectors and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images”. So, those images that just slide on the page using tools like image rotators or slideshows do not belong to this category. Before I begin criticizing Flash, I have to admit that in some rare cases it is an effective web technique. If applied correctly, as an informative mean to present some knowledge about a product or activity, it is a great tool. Naturally, the layout has to be equipped with enough guidelines to help users how to navigate easily through the site. Additionally, the user should be given the alternative to decide whether to view to learn about something or not.
Otherwise, to be completely honest, I am not that much comfortable with calling Flash as a true web style design. In my humble opinion, web design is above all about content and text. Flash manages text very poorly. As Luke Clum states: “No matter how you slice the pie, at the end of the day we all need to provide detailed content for our readers, not just pretty images.” We visit the web to read about things, not to watch something similar to a television commercial. There are a few descent design trends out there to be utilized to effectively embellish the contents. Flash is not one of them. Most of the Flash websites that we see nowadays are actually of video games’ and short animated movies’ character. And it is not at all what the web design is about! Furthermore, Flash webpages take much longer time to be loaded. It can be a real issue if the user is using an older browser or does not have the proper Flash plug-in. The dramatized situation is where Flash designers go overboard and take the liberty to unnecessarily create too fancy, heavy Flash movies simply to impress the users. I call it a Flash-driven stupidity.
Even so, I have included Flash trend among my classification of web design styles. Firstly, because whether you like it or hate it, it is out there and has been used in a lot of websites. You have to deal with it after all. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, there are some unique instances where finding another effective style option is not easy. Although Flash is still a big player in web design, I think its usage is going to be diminished gradually over the coming years.
Note: As we know, Flash sites take usually a lot longer time to load. So please be patient a bit when you visit the following showcase.