Bad Side Of Flash 5
Posted on 07 Oct 2000
by nicholas schaffner (nicholas)
Rated 3.43 (Ratings: 3)
- More articles in IA/Usability
Macromedia, a money hungry monster of poor usability
One of the biggest hurdles a web-designer must overcome is bringing together a site that allows access on all platforms, browsers, and systems. Many people thought that the Flash swf format solved that problem. A developer was able to have full control over a presentation that looked exactly the same across the diversity of web users, as long as the users had the plugin installed on their computer.
If the user did not have the plugin, then he/she could not see the content. Thus, Flash did not solve the diversity problem. It is the same as requiring Netscape to view a site, if the user does not have Netscape, he/she does not see the content. All of these Flash developers have been lying to themselves, just so they could make some lengthy, bandwidth-heavy intro movie.
"But Nick, everyone knows that over 90% of users have Flash installed on their computers!"
Yes that is true, 90% have the Flash plugin installed, however that statistic represents those who have the Flash 2 plugin installed, not the current Flash 4 plugin. (only 74% of users have that) Those who don't have the latest version of the plugin installed will be treated to a movie lacking sound, advanced interaction (actionscript) and forms. While there are techniques for detecting plugin versions, most sites do not use them. (statistics source)
Finally, down to the point of this article. Macromedia recently released the latest version of Flash, version 5. To view Flash 5 files on websites, one needs to download the latest plugin version, or you are treated to a sub-par experience.
It has taken over a year for 74% of the online populous to bring Flash 4 onto their computers, how long is it now gonna take for the upgrade to Flash 5? Those confident few who have already started using Flash 5 are just kicking their users in the balls and contributing to the overall unfriendliness of the net.
The solutions; don't upgrade to Flash 5, don't upgrade the plugin, and don't upgrade your Flash 4 creation software. Sure, you can do some more complex programming with Flash 5, but there are other working solutions to such problems. Learn Perl, or CGI, use solutions that work automatically on the web, not ones that require your users to jump through hoops to see your content. Your life will be easier, and your visitors will be just as happy.