Some of the comments, discussions, notes here are old, addressed and rectified but still it is worth the re-read. This is rather an excerpt from a discussion between a Flash Developer and some Top-Decision-Maker (the discussion is more biased towards e-learning but then it is applicable to most Flash development work).
Q, Vanity/Rudeness : Just because you can make a logo, text or an object rotate and transform, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Your focus should be on your learners as guests, use of Flash shows that your true priority is “look what I can do!“. I particularly dislike Flash intro pages, they’re the height of rudeness (thank goodness that’s becoming rare). I want to get to the content, not see an intro movie about what I WILL BE able to see/learn as a “preview of coming attractions”.
A : Noted, however it is possible to use animation appropriately too, to supplement learning material. Think of a science learning module showing how a particular widget works. Showing an animation, portraying how things interact would be beneficial. Showing a chemical reaction how atoms form into a molecule, showing business graphs etc.
Q, Navigation : I don’t need to see your navigation pretty, I just need to be able to see it. Wish more time were spent by site/module, organizing their content, rather than trying to make it pretty. Plus, you can break some browsers that way, or your learners may be in an environment that prohibits plug-ins, in which case no one gets to see how to get anywhere on your site/module.
Q, Handicap : Imagine you’re visually challenged, how the heck are you supposed to “see” content that’s been Flashed? Read about Section 508 compliance and Flash. You can either go through a LOT of time and additional expense to try and make Flash slightly accessible, or just don’t use Flash in the first place. If you’re physically challenged, I’ve seen sites that require you to chase links around the page before you can select them, not the best idea.
A : I agree that Flash is limited with it’s accessibility features, but they are there. Accessibility is largely a state of mind, though, and both Flash and traditional html apps can suffer badly in this area. Overall, Flash benefits with better potential for good usability. With HTML based apps, your form components are limited to drop-downs, selection lists, text fields, radio buttons and check boxes. If you want to do something like display tabular data and allow rows to be selected, or to display nested data, you have to develop the component using DHTML, and good luck getting it to work across browsers. With Flash, you have a significant choice of ready made components that can augment the usability of an application. You can do 508 compliance in Flash, and we better do the tricky but challenging stuffs than in boring old HTML.
Q, Security : There seem to be a growing use of text only browsers (!) which can’t see any Flash. There hasn’t been any security breaches, that I’m aware of yet, but as Flash allows more interaction into deeper areas of content, it probably won’t be long.
A : (giggles a bit but well under the sleeve) Do you mean, using lynx or gopher once again? Today, learning content are delivered not only through text, images but videos, games, interactive contents are vital part of e-Learning. As one who works in the field of professional web design, I don’t see this preponderance towards text browsers. As far as security goes, everything is vulnerable. Flash has gone for years with only a few things here and there. I think it is best to judge security based on history rather than based on what might be. Anyways, Flash runs in browser’s security sandbox. So it has similar security level as browsers have. It is noway less secure than a browser.
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