BMP in the Road: Flash in the Pan

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It used to be that every website that represented “creative” groups had a website done in Adobe’s Flash. You’d find menus, pieces and targets bouncing all over the page like little movies that screamed “LOOK AT ME! AREN’T I CLEVER!” At Alstin, we did the same thing. It was fun and new, but once BobsHubcaps.com jumped on the Flash bandwagon, it was obvious that what was going on was a fad. As a creative agency, the last thing you want to do is what everyone else is doing.

Besides the theatrical mess that Flash allowed web-designers to implement, there were other problems as well. Some of our computers here have fans that only run when needed, and the only time you’d ever hear them kick in was when a Flash-based site was loading in the browser. You’d think a fairy was blowing leaves inside your computer while searching for the spinning beach-ball of death that she’d left on your display. I don’t think it’s an accident that “Flash” rhymes with “crash”. Sometimes, force-quit was the only way out.

To add to that, the little phenomenon known as the “iPhone” doesn’t support Flash (its siblings, the iPad and iPod touch don’t either). The reasoning behind that is supposedly the effect the previously mentioned reactions would have on battery life, but there are other reasons that have more to do with Apple’s bottom line. Regardless of the reason, if your website is done completely in Flash, millions of users can’t see it at all. In today’s economy, who can afford that?

Unfortunately, Flash has been the goto standard for embedding video on websites, so it appears that we’re stuck with it, no? No indeed! A little something called HTML5 has been brewing in the wings for sometime now, which not only does the simple tricks like embedding video, but it can do a bit of interactive motion work as well. Best of all? No fans and no beach-balls! That’s not to say there isn’t a place for Flash, but the days of watching “LOADING 25%” clips may be tapering off as we start to trade some of our overbearing style in for more underlying substance. At that point, I won’t hear the fan, I’ll be one.   - j

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About Jay Scheuerle

Jay Scheuerle, our Creative Services department's Art Director, could have been a doctor, but chose to work amongst us mere mortals. An even-tempered designer and telescope enthusiast who's been shutting out co-worker chatter for more than nine years, Jay sees the angles others don't.