Why You Need to Replace Your Flash Website
Modern technology changes at an incredible speed, and with it so too does the software required to develop, create, run and maintain it. Whilst some platforms are able to evolve and adapt to the new requirements, others find themselves floundering – and eventually (or sometimes suddenly) become obsolete.
‘Change is the result of insurmountable market pressure’
– Ted Coine
Flash was once the go-to format for websites, especially those dealing with video and media content – but it has not been able to maintain its market dominance, and is now being surpassed by new innovations and programs that can better cope with the pressures applied by the requirements of modern technology.
Why You Should Replace Your Flash Website
Changes in the Industry
In 2010, Steve Jobs published a blog about why Apple products were not supporting Flash and concluded that ‘The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
At the time, mobile internet was in its infancy, and having mobile-friendly content was seen as an optional extra; but this is no longer true – a huge portion of the populace now owns a ‘smart phone’ and accesses the internet on the go.
Over 50% of websites were loaded on a mobile device in 2016 – beating desktop and laptop computers for the first time. This means that if you don’t have a functional mobile site, you are automatically excluding over half the web going population.
Digesting this information requires a change in traditional thinking where the internet is concerned and a review of not only what your mobile site contains – but also how well it runs, and how easily accessible it is to your audience.
The days when a Flash-based website was considered the epitome of sophistication are long gone. The program is now generally seen as a bug filled, slow-to-be-patched relic of the past that simply can’t cope with the intricacies of the modern web experience, and is often a liability in terms of security and customer satisfaction.
Issues with Support and Accessibility
With the introduction and improvement of HTML5 and other such software, Flash has fallen behind what is now considered as the industry norm, and although many companies still use the software for their websites – they will most likely find that the software will cause them an increasing number of problems as other industries and related technologies that they work with, continue to move away from the platform. Although patches and new developments have continued to have been rolled out, end users quite often don’t update their programs – finding that the updates cause more problems than they solve.
This causes additional issues for businesses running Flash based sites, as even if they update to the latest patch – there is no guarantee that their audience has, and if potential customers cannot access the site, they are more likely to abandon the attempt and visit a competitor instead.
Finding that functional balance between previous and current patch editions can cause major headaches for both your customer and your business as a whole. The modern mobile experience has evolved, and there is less tolerance for outdated or inferior software – people who are already accessing sites on the go, do not want to be spending time waiting for graphics or videos to load, or find that their time is being wasted on a site that doesn’t meet their needs.
Flash is Being Phased Out
It is vitally important if you have a flash based website to be aware of the fact that the industry giants have decided that it’s time to move on. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, two of the most popular web browsers, have decided that Flash is no longer right for the customer experience they want to give, Benjamin Smedberg wrote that moving away from Flash would, ‘bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness.’
Google Chrome is planning to only provide Flash by default for the top 10 domains that rely on the plugin. All other users will be required to answer whether Flash can be allowed to run or not – meaning that unless you are the top of the top, your site will automatically have a stumbling block in the way of your audience accessing your content.
They are not the only ones to decide that they need to move on, as previously mentioned – Apple doesn’t support Flash on mobile devices – but they have now also blocked Flash by default on their Safari web browser, and as of September 1st 2015, retail giant Amazon has also stopped serving Flash ads on their sites.
What Does this Mean if You Have a Flash Based Website?
To truly get ahead and be seen, your business needs to be forward thinking. A lot of time, effort and money may have gone into developing your Flash based site, and that might make you reluctant to revamp or remake it – but it is an absolute fact that the use of Flash is declining and support is being withdrawn. Holding on to a Flash-based site will become more of a liability and potentially decrease lead generation and sales, as newer, faster alternatives are introduced and your potential customers gravitate towards sites that are easier to load and use.
Being stuck in the past not only affects how your customers interact with your company, it also influences what they think of your brand – if you are using outdated technology, you could end up with a reputation for being out of touch – a very damaging label, especially if your company is trying to expand into new areas, or release an innovative new product.
On balance, when it comes to risks and rewards – the path industry is taking is clear; that is away from Flash; and it’s up to you to decide, for the sake of your business, whether you will follow.