Can We All Just Agree?

I just want to make this clear: Flash is a pile of shit.

I’ve just been talking with Lee from Sugarhouse Lane and I got us into a Pythonesque one-upmanship about just *how* much we hate Flash (‘I hate Flash so much that it’s annoying’, ‘I hate Flash so much that I get a headache’, ‘I hate Flash so much that I want to punch things’….)

My last email to him was about how I was working on this Flash site a couple years ago (regular readers might remember my ‘worst job of my fucking life’ postings) and how the sheer frustration of working on a content-heavy entirely Flash-based site would cause me to cry, sob, on the Tube all the way home. I mean the thing would take *literally* two minutes to load and when I’d tell the wanker production manager that was far too long, he’d tell me that it didn’t matter and besides I didn’t know what I was talking about. I would hold in my desire to punch things all day, get on the Tube and burst into tears.

Flash is shit.*

Let’s just all agree on that and stop sending death threats to people and all gang up against the people in marketing who think that people actually *want* Flash-based content-heavy sites. K? If we do that, then everything will be lovely again. I know it.

* For the record, I actually think Flash is perfect for ‘pretty pictures’ or ‘experience’ sites, but if there is *content* which requires navigation or might be something that people want to share with their readers then it’s a pile of crap.

22 Responses to “Can We All Just Agree?”
  1. Lee says:

    The ultimate one up; blog about it first. Good job!

    …the fact remains that my perseverances with flash navigation design has of late been somewhat non-existent. I simply switch off.

    Now I have designers and ‘executives’ in a myriad of other situations who tell me “Well you’re not Joe Public… they like the flash experience, not everyone can use the internet like you”. This infuriates me further. And usually ends with something from me so bold as… “but you’re stifling information distribution” at which point i know I need another drink and i should probably get a hobby.

    Now i tend to use my mother as a ballpark for the ‘average’ internet user. When prompted with a flash loading page her usual responses are;

    1) Is it broken… what is it doing… am i downloading something bad?
    2)Oooh someone just im’d me, i’ll close this window and chat to them instead and hope that it’s not some guy who wants to be naked on his webcam.
    3)Waits for it to load watches the intro and thinks that was the whole ‘flash experience’!

    Oh another one, don’t get me started on flash intros, if i want to watch the trailer I’ll click trailer please.

    And for anyone wondering where the genesis of this morning’s chat comes from it was in relation to a coming soon movie’s web presence styled for UK and US audiences.

  2. giagia says:

    “A coming soon movie” ie Sunshine. ;)

  3. Toby says:

    Thank god. I thought it was just me…

    I’ve been trying to learn Flash for ages and it does my nut. Nice to hear I’m not alone.

    Sorry it got to you so bad though.

  4. Amanda says:

    I have no desire to touch Flash. It hurts my ego, but I’m willing to live with that in order to avoid a life of pain and suffering.

  5. Penny says:

    Just to be clear, ‘Flash’ sites are the sites the come up on one’s computer, and one gets a little box that says something like ‘MIME does not support this format’ or something similar, followed by another one from internet explorer saying ‘Sorry, IE has encountered a problem and has to close’. I don’t do any programming, so please excuse an ignorant question.

    If that’s the Flash you are talking about about, then the inventors of that diabolical program should DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Metaphorically speaking, of course.

    I love your ‘Sunshine’ blog, btw. I am SO looking forward to seeing that movie and am very jealous that everybody in Europe and the UK gets to see it before those of us in the US do. Apparantly, everybody in the US is too busy watching ‘Norbit’, ‘300’, and ‘Premonition’ to be bothered with sci-fi.



  6. giagia says:

    Penny, anything that just doesn’t *work* is crap. :) Seriously, it’s simply form over function and, though there is a time and a place for that, far too many people are fooled into thinking that they need to have some site with bells and whistles that ultimately doesn’t work. Or crashes people’s computers. Or just is impossible to navigate.

    OH!!! I forgot!!! WMVs and ASFs are complete and utter TOSS. Real Video sucks donkey, too. FLVs I can live with (the only Flash I accept is embedded FLash Video on places like YouTube). Quicktime, however, is perfection.

    And I am *very* excited for ‘Sunshine’ to be released! Weeeeee!

  7. Jas says:

    Flash is actually pretty good in its place, and carefully used. It’s great as a video player wrapper in Youtube or Google Video, but many other sites show that even this use can end up being terrible. It’s great as an embedded data visualization tool, like in Google Finance, with the whizzy zoomy graphs. It works pretty well as a vehicle for animations, like on Weebl’s site.

    Pretty much anything else, though, sucks a fat one. Just look at the Flash-based nightmare that is okcupid’s chat system.

  8. Ae-Mess says:

    As a freelance Flash game developer the thing I hate about it is that the actual Flash authoring tool itself is so buggy… although it improves a teeny weeny bit with each new hideously expensive release.

    I hate sites that are entirely made in Flash but I LOVE regular sites with Flash based videos, music, cartoons, games etc. on them. It makes the internet an even more fun place to be. Plus I personally think that Flash video is miles better than Windows Media and a bit better than Quicktime.

    But hey, I basically agree with you, so I’m not even sure why I’m typing this….

  9. Ae-Mess says:

    Hey, I just noticed someone mentioned up above, that’s who I work for under the name of The Booboo!


  10. giagia says:


    Here’s an example of crap flash site (Habitat’s site). The design is fine, but the problem is that you’ve got to go through all kind of steps to try and find something and then you can’t just ‘favourite’ that page or, indeed, *link* to something like, say, the Buzz Aldrin Moon light he designed for them… Rubbish. It’s so infuriating to use that it has actually made me leave my house and go to the shop!!!! Seriously. In the real world. It’s that bad.

  11. Rachel says:

    Sad thing is, you went to their shop, so that’s a win for them.

  12. giagia says:

    But it was for the BUZZ ALDRIN LIGHT!!! I *mean*… :)

  13. After 5 minutes exposure to the Flash development environment I couldn’t help feel it was designed with graphic designers in mind rather than developers. Just my first impression though, I’m willing to be corrected. Oh. An M&S really should know better. Why did they have to add a flash intro a perfectly acceptable ‘retail’ portal :roll:

  14. giagia says:

    Why? Because, I’m sure, some fast-talker from a Flash design company fooled the marketing people at M&S who don’t really know better into thinking they needed it. Simple as that. Clearly no one in their right mind would sit down at a meeting and say, out of the blue, ‘Hey! You know what we need on our website?! A Flash intro!’ *tsk*

  15. alex says:

    flash = people(style>substance)

    html = people(substance>style)

  16. ourman says:

    First off, long time no speak. A big hello from Nicaragua. Quite a change from Hanoi. But good. Very good. Pics on my flickr if you ever fancy a holiday.

    As regards flash – I can only “do” blogs and crap looking ones at that but I’ve been begging designers for years not to use flash. Everyone hates it. Yes it makes web pages look like fancy magazines that designers read. But you just have to turn a page on a magazine.

    Can you imagine where it would be if Google had decided to use a flash homepage?

    It still amazes me that people don’t get that, however nice a website looks, people just want to find out information.

    So anyway, hi Gia. Sunshine looks good. I still listen to the Five Live podcasts and demi-god Mark Kermode likes it. – I’ll try to find a pirate copy on the streets of Managua next time I visit.

  17. Jon says:

    “Clearly no one in their right mind would sit down at a meeting and say, out of the blue, ‘Hey! You know what we need on our website?! A Flash intro!’ *tsk*” Gia, obviously you only attend meetings with a smarter class of person than I do :)

  18. alex says:

    Hey! You know what you need on your blog?! A Flash intro!

  19. Damien Jorgensen - Cardiff says:

    Agree? If everyone agreed there wouldnt be any fun in anything! lol

  20. Francois says:

    People like you make the web a nazistic place :D.

    Flex/flash push the web-application far away from what js is able to do.
    The only rule wich needed to be followed is right technologie for right application.
    Like nobody would understand why wikipedia would need flash (for exemple), nobody would understand why a complex information system with complex architecture would be develloped in html/js wich doesn’t allow you to follow any architectural rules

    (and you can’t say my english is bad blablamomo i’m french, that’s will not make you more smart ;), or guive you the truth)