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April 30, 2013

The Siren’s Call to Switch from Flash to HTML5

The Siren’s Call to Switch from Flash to HTML5

We’ve made no secret of our excitement about HTML5. It’s free; it’s mobile and tablet compatible and it’s SEO friendly. On the other hand, some would argue (not us) that Adobe Flash does have its strong suits. You don’t have to write complex code in order to create cool and elaborate animations. You can stealthily insert advertisements very easily. Your content has greater protection from greasy-haired internet thieves.

However, as mobile apps become an integral part of most internet marketing strategies, having a software program that doesn’t necessarily require the wizardry of a Flash expert in order to develop video applications is certainly a plus. Hello, HTML5!

Well, not quite. You see, HTML5 doesn’t, technically, exist yet. Oh, there is what is called a working specification in current operation, but the final publication won’t take place until 2014.

So, what should you choose; the grizzled old Flash workhorse or the phantom HTML5? Well, it depends upon the client’s and the client’s customers’ needs. For your edification, we will explain all of the selling points for each software program. Are you as excited as we are? We thought so.

Flashy McFlash

HTML5 proponents would have us believe that comparing Adobe Flash to HTML5 is like comparing chiseling symbols onto a stone tablet to using a Xerox copier. But Adobe Flash isn’t nearly as primitive and outmoded as HTML5 fanatics would have us believe, and it does have its uses.

  • Dazzling graphics. It’s fairly easy for a novice to design fantastic animations and graphics for Web pages using Flash; no real expertise with complex coding required.
  • Thwarts Internet thieving like a digital ninja. Flash works extremely well with Digital Rights Management.
  • The vast majority of enterprises use some form of Flash. 70 percent of Web based gaming applications use Flash; 24 out of the top 25 Facebook games use Flash.

As we have said, Apple products – iPhones and iPads – are not compatible with Flash. It is a long and bitter story as to exactly why, but unless your desire audience consists primarily of Apple zealots, you don’t need to feel hemmed in by the petty squabbling of two digital juggernauts.

If your website is to be animation-heavy, with lots of graphics and relatively little text, Flash might be an option worth exploring. On the other hand, it cannot be ignored that HTML5 could be …

The Wave of the Future

Remember way back when we said not to worry about Flash’s lack of compatibility with Apple products? Well, for some of you, that may be a legitimate concern. Let’s face it: anybody who’s anybody has an iPhone or an iPad, and that is a market that really cannot be entirely ignored.

In fact, the ultimate goal for HTML5 is to be compatible with all systems and devices; even though it currently can’t be recognized by several very common browsers. Nevertheless, HTML5 has a handful of advantages over Flash, including:

  • No plugins. Unlike Flash, HTML5 doesn’t require the user to install supplementary plugins in order for the program to function.
  • Open standards. Adobe Flash developments are entirely dictated by a single company. HTML5, on the other hand, relies upon developer feedback, which will greatly influence the evolution of HTML5
  • Greater search engine visibility. While Flash programs are hampered by the fact that their coding is compiled and search engine spiders cannot spider their content effectively, spiders can read HTML5 content as plain text, allowing for higher search engine placement for the website.

In order to develop and design the best website for your needs, you need to have a firm grasp of how your users will view it. If you anticipate having a great deal of content in the form of blogs, articles or product descriptions, you may want to consider HTML5. Likewise, if the vast majority of your site viewers will attempt to access your site via Apple iPhone or iPad, you can’t afford not to use HTML5.

However, if you anticipate your viewers will be accessing your site on a desktop; if you will require a great deal of interactive animation; and if your site will be primarily a business to business program, Flash may be the most appropriate choice.

So, what have we learned today? We’ve learned that there is really no reason for Flash supporters and HTML5 enthusiasts to be at each other’s throats (c’mon girls; you’re both pretty). We’ve learned that Flash is still the standard for the gaming industry, while HTML5 is basically a highly productive apparition in its current incarnation. We’ve learned that Flash still has a legitimate market despite the fact that certain popular devices refuse to support it, but we’ve also learned that once Apple abandons you like a mogul abandons a first wife, it may be time to officially wet yourself with fear.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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