Why is Everything so “Flashy”?

I’m sure this problem has always been around, but I hadn’t noticed it nearly as much for the last few years. So many people seem to be using Flash on their sites again, relying on it, and javascript, to render much of their design.

The problem, of course, is that a user without javascript or without Flash, doesn’t get to see much of what everyone else sees.

So, my question is why everyone seems to be using so much Flash again, recently? Why are so many home pages being built almost completely with Flash, only to completely fall apart when javascript of Flash is disabled? Why use Flash at all when 99% of the things being done with Flash (aside from things like YouTube videos, etc.) could be done with javascript and AJAX nowadays, and could be built to degrade gracefully for those without javascript?

An interesting discussion on this subject was started over at CollegeWebGuy.com. Since then, I’ve come across even more examples, though I don’t really feel right in sharing them.

It just bothers me, as someone who railed against Flash for so long only to see the days of pointless Flash splash pages finally go by the wayside. Now, to see Flash seemingly making a comeback in such a big way (at least, among higher education Web sites) really upsets me. To me, it actually seems almost lazy.

Why bother putting in the effort to develop sound DOM javascript and AJAX that degrades when you can put something together in Flash in a few minutes?

Enough of my tirade. What are your thoughts? Am I just super-sensitive to this, or are you noticing a comeback in Flash usage, as well? Does it bother you to see that, or are you okay with it? If Flash is necessary for certain applications, what are some ways you can make it accessible to disabled users?

5 Responses

  • cjp

    I have noticed it too, though I think it will not slow any time soon. I have noticed among my graphic-designer friends that they feel flash is just a lot easier to work with. So i think the push comes from there.


  • allen

    Great point Curtiss – I too have seen a lot of Flash on the product site side – but on the blogging side, it’s still just text — mostly for the SEO. It’s not like Flash development is any cheaper today than it was a couple of years ago.

  • I have noticed it a tid bit, but I have not ventured out much from my standard sites lately either. Perhaps with Adobe taking over Flash and the growing fusion of it and PS makes it a lot easier now.

    Web sites have their own target markets like restaurants, sports and anything else. If your frequently-visited-sites want to push for a few changes here and there, either you can follow, or you can take a few steps and create your own path.

  • Ha, and here is something I stumbled upon a while ago. (No, I was not intentionally looking for this either!) Everything You Don’t Know About Flash: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/reference/article.php/3696596

  • Sam

    Besides movies, I definitely think there is a place for flash with animations and effects that just don’t implement that well with javascript, however I agree with you that a lot of people just use flash out of laziness which I can tell you is much more prevalent in South America than just about anywhere else.