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« The Jewish professorWay before google! »

All Flash, is NOT 2.0


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    Rated 4.5/5 stars (79 votes cast)

    It amuses me at times to take a stroll among the upcoming and promising Jordanian radio stations and their websites. Which I have criticized in the past as being, backward, non-functional and stuck in the 1990s.

    So what do 80% of them do? Not due to my criticism, they decide to redesign their sites using all flash.

    Bravo, it's flashy. It still sucks!

    (Jordan radio guide courtesy of Nasimjo)

    All flash sites are really bad. Not because they don't provide any value add. But because of the nature of their content.

    Don't get me wrong, I think technologies like flash are fantastic. I also think it's a valuable addition in moderation to any site. However, having the whole site written in flash is a big mistake! Especially, if you're a radio station, and trying to interact with your listener-base.

    Users don't usually memorize radio station names when they hear them on the air. So they resort to search engines to find the sites. Which means it would help A LOT to have some good content on the website to help listeners get what they need.

    Flash is one of those media content that simply can't be crawled and indexed by search engines (Think of crawling and indexing as a person who scans your web text, and keeps a summary note of all the important stuff so people can refer to it when they people ask)

    Think of it as a huge image on the page. With a lot of text inside it. Although some very advanced crawlers might be able to automatically recognize the contents. It's even harder to do that for video or flash. Major sites like YouTube for example, will augment the content of a video with a lot of meta tags and some description. However, if you're like me, and have searched for videos online. You will notice that most of the hits, homed in, on some text inside the comment section. On many cases that made my search results that much better.

    Another negative side effect of all flash sites is that they don't provide any content for older, or less powerful browsing platforms. Like phones. Which means, these people and devices people will be blind to what is on the web page. Not only that, some devices might render it incorrectly where the locations of, say, buttons will be incorrect, so a user will not be able to click it.

    Which leads to the mandatory talk about accessibility. Folks, the Internet is not made only for people who can see very well. There are people who depend on text narrators to browse. It's painful as is for them. Flash pages make it impossible.

    Some people think that embracing and replacing everything with flash is their free ticket to Web2.0. The fact is, flash has been around for a very long time. It's great as supporting content. Or even primary content as long as a text version is available. Believe me, it has been tried and proved to fail by just about all the major websites back in 2001, it failed then...

    And it will fail now!

    Unless you're running a Jordanian radio station's website!

    With all due respect to all the radio stations. This is something that really irks me, and I hope we grow out of it soon.

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    « The Jewish professorWay before google! »

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