3 August 2007

Flash does NOT suck, people DO

When I first saw the headline Flash Sucks on digg I was really perturbed … Flash is a tool, and how people use it is what has the possibility to make it “suck” …

After reading the article, I realize I was a little too hasty in not agreeing, it’s pretty well written and some really REALLY good points, and probably worthwhile for a good number of people who are going to use Flash.

but I think it’s not really THE tool that’s the problem, but the person implementing. The article does mention this point but is really strongly negative…

A GOOD carpenter will never blame his tools.

Flash CAN be Accessible

It really can be accessible it really can, and it’s not like it’s not on their radar and they have some top notch people and partners who are helping.

No one ever said anything in life was going to be be easy… look at this and tell me that accessibility is not possible with the Flash. YouTube could totally use this.

Flash is consistent

There has been allot of recent development JavaScript, that raises the question of Flash. But, face it, it’s not consistent… how much time you spend debugging in every instance of browser and platform. It’s not fun. If Flash works one place, there is a 95% it will work somewhere else without any further intervention.

Flash is not search able by search engines

Believe it or not, it maybe, and if not totally I am sure it’s not far away. But, some sites lend themselves to be Flash. This list from FWA has some really cool Flash sites and Smashing Magazine has a great list.

If your site is well established and you really DON’T care about search engines, you can build some neat fun stuff . Face it some portfolios are amazing . The are showcasing talent and not worrying about SEO. Word of Mouth is a wonderful thing.

Flash UI confusing!

Yes it can be, but who wants to live in a world where everything works and behaves the same. JavaScript UIs can also be confusing, hell even straight HTML. You have to think OUT OF the BOX… that’s the only way you can come with anything that is cool and maybe the next way to view navigation .

Conclusion: Flash does NOT suck, people DO

Use it when it is APPROPRIATE, know the limitations. Don’t forget about accessibility. If it’s too much work to do it in Flash, provide alternate text.

note: Flash was not created by Macromedia… they bought a company called FutureSplash.


Yeah, you’ve got it pretty much right there. But I think there is more to it. It’s not just that you know how to use the tool well, but if you care to do it well. Plenty of developers are skilled enough to make Flash sites accessible, or even optimized for search engines (Google can index the content of swfs. Not that well, but it can.), but most don’t bother to take the time to do so.

The same can be said about web developers. How many take the time to make sure a site is accessible? They could make the changes if they desired to, but when push comes to shove, they just forget about it.

Alex Jillard

Very right … many web developers do not take their time to make sites accessible. Doesn’t make HTML bad …

Daniel Bulli2

You’ve conveniently skipped over the small detail Flash is a closed proprietary system the undermines the very foundation of the entire web.

And Flash being consistent compared to Javascript is a bullshit argument, since Javascript is a standard relying on decent implementation by others, and Flash needs to bring it’s own damn universe to work everywhere. And everywhere is everywhere Macromedia cares for it to work, not everywhere people want/need it. This includes, omigod, search engines.

But other then that, Flash is lovely…

Flash can be uses appropriately and professionally with fabulous results. But only by people honest and knowledgeable enough to recognize how badly it sucks.


I use Flash. Quite regularly. It doesn’t suck.

Unfortunately, if we go by examples you gave (the “portfolios” and “amazing” links), then Flash does indeed suck. While those examples might look mighty “perty”, they sure aren’t usable in any degree. Not only that, but the interfaces are so busy and idiotically over-complex (and the one just gets busier as your pencil line scribbles over everything) that I gave up after about 30 seconds of fiddling with each. People sure do know how to make pretty things that get people no where.

Section Seven’s portfolio points to this site:


Is this what they mean by Flash sucking? Because that is what I mean by Flash sucking.


nice detailed explanation to compare from this one: flash does not suck people suck


Rick: I did conveniently skip this point as there is really no arguing it … It’s true and I can’t defend the closed proprietary system, but people want to make money so I can’t fault (although i don’t agree) for making it so…

ChrisN: I actually found them very intuitive. Maybe hard at first, but not rocket science. People want their site to stand out, and obviously do not care about search engines… can use this approach… just should make it accessible… The “sound provision” is definitely and example of web sucking. If you are going to SELL stuff your website should be accessible!!!

Qureyoon: Thanks

Daniel Bulli2

i grown to hate flash. But it has its uses. macromedia did make flash into the jugganaut it is today. I was so sad when they sold out to the adobe brand :(


Flash should still be the last option. Most of the time it’s overkill. All of my customers think they need something Flash on their website and it’s like talking someone off a ledge to get them to understand they don’t need it.

David Walsh

David: For a entire website I would say yes… even further than a last option. But for components like games or interactives I think they work pretty well… and can move further up the realm of options. JavaScript is great but there are allot of headaches when doing certain things.

For instance i created this Flash piece for kids to vote live during elections … doing this in JavaScript would have really been a super pain. Doable but a pain …
Zoom election piece

Daniel Bulli2

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