Flash in the pan?

Flash in the pan? 150 150 hopeworksdesign

A Plea to All Architects and Designers that Continue to use Flash Sites for their Business Website:

Just Say No to Flash!

flash in the pan

Ha Ha Ha! Flash in the pan! Get it? Ok, ok, sorry I couldn’t help myself but no more bad puns. I’m sure you’re familiar with Flash, the web technology that allows the creation of some pretty nifty online experiences, and you’re aware that it’s not exactly a flash in the pan trend. But hopefully, you are hip enough to know by now that you shouldn’t use it for your architecture/design firm’s website. This isn’t going to be some long anti-Flash diatribe, no worries. The technology has its advantages and can do some amazing things, but for architecture and other design firm websites, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages (are there any…?). 

(No time to read full post? Get the Short Story.)

Pros and Cons

Flash has been around now for a little over a decade and has a lot to offer for building rich interactive interfaces, cool animations, and advanced online video. This is great…just not for your architecture/design firm’s website. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the animation heavy arch/design sites complete with mystery navigation, (thankfully, they’re appearing less and less these days). Architectural Record even wrote an article calling them out titled, Architecture Firm Websites: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’. It’s a good article that goes beyond the problem with Flash driven sites and into the errors of using ‘archispeak’, not listing contact info, and not showing images on the homepage. If you haven’t read it, definitely check it out. 

For those still hanging on to their Flash websites or thinking about having one developed, please reconsider. The main reason Flash is a no-no is that it works against what should be your firm’s website raison d’etre: generating quality leads! Your firm’s website is (or should be) the foundation of your online marketing system. That foundation cracks if your potential clients can’t see your site on their iPhones or iPads (Flash isn’t supported), or if it takes too long for your site to load (people will leave, not wait), or worse yet, if people can’t find your site at all because your site doesn’t always show up in web searches (Google’s spiders and web browsers can’t read Flash code). Not to mention, if you want to update your Flash site, you have to contact your web designer/developer instead of being able to make edits yourself.

html5 vs Flash

Alternatives to Flash

So, does this mean you’re stuck with a static, animation-less, video-less website? No! Using combinations of code called HTML5 and CSS3 allow you to create many of the same or similar experiences once thought to be Flash’s domain. Previous versions of HTML and CSS combined with javascript/AJAX can make some website magic. The benefit is that the web browsers can read them, so SEO (search engine optimization) is easier and more reliable than with Flash, they are supported by both mobile and tablets, and a CMS (content management system) can be integrated so its easy to make site edits on your own without needing to know how to code. Some architects have caught on to this and moved away from a Flash driven site. If you take a look at this list, you’ll notice that the architecture firm websites listed have since updated and are now Flash-less, yet still make use of animation and other nifty tricks. 

The Short Story

If your architecture or design firm has a Flash website, it’s time to make the decision to leave Flash behind for something that will help make your website a strong foundation for your online marketing system. In most cases, you can keep your current design but have the accessibility of a non-Flash site. Keep in mind that an overly animated design actually works against you (Flash or no Flash). Your website should be designed for your prospective clients, not for yourself or your peers. 

Ready to get modern with a website built on HTML5/CSS3? Or wondering if your website design is optimized for lead generation? Need advice on your social media strategy? Contact me for a free 20 min website and online marketing review. 


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