I am devoting the next several Mini Blogs to a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Adobe / Macromedia Flash. This has been a controversial subject as long as I can remember. I have been using Flash for about seven years now and I would like to share my experience with you and set the record straight about the misunderstandings and apprehensions people have about using it on their websites. Although there was much more skepticism five years ago regarding whether or not Flash is the future of the internet, today there is no doubt that it is here to stay as proven by the world’s leading branding sites. So, for those of you who are not a computer geek like myself or have had a bad experience with Flash from a poorly designed site, long download times or gratuitous wiz bang intros, this one’s for you. The truth is Flash is by far the most elegant, easy-to-use, cross-platform solution available as evident by its exclusive use by companies such as Taco Bell to Mercedes Benz.
I will be covering some of the advantages of using Flash during the next few mini blogs and will also address the most common questions and misunderstandings people have like:
All Flash sites look too “Flashy”, high tech or futuristic.
Flash sites take too long to download.
Search engines can’t properly index Flash sites.
Microsoft first distributed the Macromedia Flash Player with its Windows 95 operating system. It included Flash Player 6 in every version of its Windows XP operating system and it’s also distributed with the Apple Mac Operating System, including Mac OS X. And what about AOL? Flash has been installed as part of every version of the AOL client since 1999.
In April 2006, NPD Research conducted a study to determine what percentage of Web browsers have Macromedia Flash Player pre-installed. The results show that 97.7% of Web users can experience Macromedia Flash content without having to download and install a player.
In September 2005, Macromedia introduced Flash Player 8, which delivered revolutionary new expressiveness and rendering performance – including bitmap effects, filters, alpha video, and a new video codec for Flash video. All of these new features led to a rapid proliferation of Flash 8 content on the Internet, driving the fastest adoption of Flash Player in it’s history.
Also introduced in Flash Player 8 is Express Install, an option for seamlessly upgrading visitors to the latest player version using a Flash-based experience automatically. Express Install allows you to use an in-context upgrade experience for your content so users never have to leave your site. It also lets you gracefully handle user cancellation and avoid system restarts.