Flash Now Readable by Search – Usability Experts Panic

July 7th, 2008

After a LONG waite, Adobe announced this week that Flash files are soon to be readable by search engines. This removes a major impediment to using Flash for Web sites, as previously all files created in Flash were essentially invisible to Google, Yahoo! and the rest.

So, we now have the classic good news/bad news scenario unfolding. Making Flash readable takes away the biggest technical knock against Flash usage. However, the biggest common sense knock against Flash remains, which is the fact that Flash is misused in most cases.

Unless you’re a cartoonist, film editor or other such business, the point of creating an all-Flash Web site is dubious at best. The fact is, people come to your Web site to get questions answered about your business. And in most cases, using motion and animation to answer those questions gets in the way of the users’ needs. Certainly, the much-maligned “Flash Intro” is maligned for good reason as more than 75% of all users immediately click “skip intro”.

My biggest fear is that search-friendly Flash will spawn a new generation of all-Flash sites that do a lot more showing off than information conveyance. This is already an issue for a lot of agency Web sites, and I hope they don’t take this new technological advance as an opportunity to layer on even more Flash (and music) on sites that are already overburdened with cheekiness.

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