“Hate” may be a too strong a word for it. There are plenty of nifty applications for Macromedia’s Flash, from the singing horses through Mark Fiore’s cartoons to the oldie-but-goodie Frog Blender. And truth be told, there is many a situation where a flash movie is pretty much the only solution.

But there the following situation, all to prevalent, that really tick me off.

Gratuitous Flash Intro

I think these are actually getting less prevalent but they are still out there. You go to a company’s main URL and you are greeted with a big-ass, expensive looking animation. Actually, more often than not, you are greeted with a progress bar slowly making its way across the screen as you frantically hunt for the blissful release of the “Skip Intro” button.

What are they thinking when they do this? Do they believe that visitors want to be looking at their flying logo for a minute or so before we access the information we want to get from their site? No we don’t want to watch! You’re wasting your money and my bandwidth and time.

Here is a great example demonstrating a completely useless intro page. Even with the movie cached locally, it takes 10 seconds before you can click on a link into the actual site. Note the total absence of a “Skip Intro” button (you’re going to watch this, damnit!).

Flash Navigation

I love this one almost as much as frame navigation. Again, it’s mostly done as gratuitous eye-candy. It comes usually in two forms. A link either opens a new Flash movie, along with its lovely progress bar, or it transitions to another section of the same movie, making it impossible to bookmark anything but the top-level URL.

Compare the navigation and responsiveness of Canon’s older EOS-1D page with the newer EOS 10D page. They both use flash, but the first one only for images inside of HTMl documents. Which one is faster, easier to navigate and can be book marked? Also, notice how you’re prompted to answer the question of whether you have Flash. If only there was some way for the computer to figure this out automatically…

Flash For Text Display

I can’t find the link for this, but I have actually seen sites that display lots of text-only content as a flash movie! It takes forever to load, has that “custom” look that clashes with all the other sites and, of course, is not parsed by search engines nor can sub-sections be easily book marked.


If you’re tempted to put a flash movie on your site, think about it twice or three times. Ask yourselves these questions:

  • Does it really add anything for the visitor or is it gratuitous?
  • Will browsers without flash be able to navigate your site?
  • Will users be able to bookmark sections of interest?
  • will visually impaired users be able to navigate/read your site?

If you answer “No” to any of these, seriously reconsider using flash for that application.