[TriLUG] OT: Flash web developers?
cmp at cmpalmer.org
Mon May 3 22:09:55 EDT 2010
Here are some designers in the RDU area:
On Mon, May 3, 2010 at 8:47 PM, John Brier <johnbrier at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, a friend of a friend wants a web site (mostly static content
> AFAIK), I think for a vineyard business that is built using Flash.
I want to preface this with a couple of disclaimers. One: I don't want
to try to talk him out of using flash. If he has good design reasons
for wanting flash content, then so be it. Two: I'm not make a pitch
for myself or anyone I do business with. I'd love to help him with his
site, but I've got a Masters Paper to finish.
There are several things that flash-based sites sometimes get wrong
that I hope he'll avoid:
1) No deep linking and/or inability to copy/paste. I find an awesome
wine that I want to tell my friends about, or an event at his
vineyard, and I have trouble conveying this to my friends on
facebook/twitter/whatever because all I can do is link to the front
page, which forces people to go through a 1-minute flash intro with
2) 1-minute flash intros with sound. I know you (as an entrepreneur,
business owner, etc.) really have a singular vision of your business
and want to convey it to the public just so, but recognize that if you
don't meet people on their terms, you're likely to scare a lot of them
off. There's a sizable chunk of the population not annoyed by
flamboyant intros. There's another sizable chunk that are. Think of it
this way: do you enjoy businesses where the service staff sing a ditty
every time somebody walks in? Do you know people who find that
3) Google has improved their ability to look into flash sites and
index important content, but it's still not as good as what you'll get
with a fully standards-compliant website and some good white-hat SEO.
4) Analytics fail. Much of the navigation on many flash sites happens
within a flash object, and you get no analytics about what's happening
in there. If you use a standards-compliant setup you can throw in
google analytics or any number of other products and get some rich
information about how your site is succeeding--or failing.
5) Flash /only/ with no other content. Web-savvy users like me have
software that blocks flash from new domains in order to avoid
CPU-eating animated ads. How am I supposed to trust that your flash
app is worth enabling if your site gives me nothing but a flash app?
What happens on a slow connection or an old machine? Did that get
6) How do you update? If you were to get a designer to provide you
with an off-the-shelf CMS (eg. drupal, wordpress) with a few plugins
and a custom skin, you'd be able to provide fresh content yourself
continually, but with flash you either have to have special software
to update/add content or pay someone to do that. Your friend may think
he just wants completely static content, but if he's in small
business, I promise he'll want to update or change something within
six months of the site going live.
7) What about the blind? Is your flash-based site Section 508 compliant?
With some cursory searching you can find plenty more pitfalls of
depending wholly on flash.
There are sites that have a lot of great flash content that don't make
any of the above mistakes, so again: I'm not trying to talk him out of
using flash. What I am trying to say is this: find a designer who does
complete websites, not just somebody who can whip together a flash
object. Furthermore, once he has picked a budget and gone through an
intake interview and decided for himself, "Yes, I like this designer
and want to work with her/him," then he should not push for specific
technologies like flash. Trust the designer. You're paying a
professional for a reason. Ask questions, sure, but trust that the
designer has expertise in making great sites, and that's what you're
Cristóbal M. Palmer
cdla.unc.edu research assistant
 the long tail is really key here. We get a ton of main page hits
at ibiblio.org, but they're absolutely dwarfed by the traffic to all
sorts of non-front pages, and many of them come in through forms of
sharing--eg. facebook--we could not have anticipated would be a major
factor back when the pages were designed (often 5+ years ago).
 This only seems to work in the niche of food service that shovels
people through as quickly as possible.
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