Usable Macromedia Flash -- myth no more
The Macromedia Flash backlash
In order to understand why the notion of "usable Macromedia Flash" is not a myth, we need to understand the core arguments against Macromedia Flash content being usable. In essence, there are three basic criticisms:
- Macromedia Flash content is generally gratuitous, superficial and annoying.
- The Macromedia Flash content is generally built once and not updated.
- Macromedia Flash content does not adhere to many of the established standards for Web content.
Each of these arguments has a basis in fact. The totality of Macromedia Flash content currently deployed on the Web provides ample justification for these arguments. However, the reason that usable Macromedia Flash is not a myth is that the critics have focused on what designers have actually done with Macromedia Flash, rather than on what can be done with the product.
In spite of the robust capability of Macromedia Flash, the product still has a reputation for poor usability. It is a new and evolving format for the Web and developers are still going through a period of growing pains with Macromedia Flash features and technology. Furthermore, much of the Macromedia Flash content on the Web was developed with little attention on issues of usability.
Macromedia Flash is a dynamic, powerful Web application product
Macromedia Flash is the most powerful cross-platform, interactive development product available to Web developers today. Macromedia Flash does not have the cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility issues that plague DHTML. Macromedia Flash is a more stable environment for interactivity than JavaTM applets. For a Web site requiring something more engaging and interactive than what can be created in HTML, alone, Macromedia Flash offers many possibilities.
Macromedia Flash can improve usability
Developers can use Macromedia Flash to provide a good user experiences online. When executed correctly, with attention paid to the needs and wants of users, Macromedia Flash content can actually improve the user experience on any Web site.
The true challenge is for Macromedia Flash developers to start using Macromedia Flash to improve on the usability flaws inherent to the Web. Slow downloads and confusing navigation are problems for all Web surfers. Macromedia Flash offers developers powerful tools to resolve these and other difficulties that users typically experience.