HTML vs. Flash
After the decision on which cheap hosting company to sign on with for your website comes another decision: how will you build it? There are numerous design languages you can use, the most popular of them being Flash and HTML.
Let's look at the two, their pros and cons, and which websites they work best for in order to help make your decision a lot easier!
HyperText Markup Language, or HTML, is a language introduced in the Internet's infancy in 1991. It was designed to more effectively organize and manage content. It allows you to create web pages, and HTML code is written to post links, text, images, and more to these pages.
The most recent version is HTML 5, bringing video and animation integration straight to your site. This is something previous versions just couldn't do.
- Compatible with all screen formats, making your site accessible and readable from any device: tablets; PCs; mobile; etc.
- SEO. If you include great keywords in content you post on your website, your website will be perfectly optimized for the search engine.
- Fast loading. No more plugins necessary!
- Easy to learn, easy to use. Even a novice can get the hang of HTML quickly.
- CMS integration. Easy to install and use, thousands of pre-built CMS will allow you to easily use HTML without knowing a bit of code.
- Browser support. HTML5 is only supported by modern browsers (a.k.a. everything except older versions of IE prior to 9). You'll find that older browsers don't give you the same enhanced browsing experience as the latest browser version.
- Media licensing problems. Because of licensing issues, media must be compressed in a variety of formats in order to make it compatible with most browsers. It takes a lot of time, but this issue might be addressed in the form of updates.
Macromedia's Flash gives you the power to add video and animated content to your website. In order for Flash content to work, you must have a Flash plugin. Website designers love it: they can create engaging and highly interactive web page components to please the user.
- Simple. Adding animated content is super easy!
- Interesting site. With Flash animation enhancing your website, users will likely find the design more appealing.
- Quick to download and display, thanks to the fact it is more disk space efficient than bitmap formats, making it small in size.
- Bandwidth efficient.
- Has a large community of developers to provide support when needed.
- No SEO help. Search engines don't care at all about your fancy Flash content!
- Not compatible with all screens. Those viewing your page on their tablet or smartphone can't see your fancy Flash animation.
- Another download for the user. To be able to read the code, the user must have Flash Player installed on their computer.
Flash offers little usability. According to usability expert Jakob Neilsen, “Although multimedia has its role on the Web, current Flash technology tends to discourage usability for three reasons: it makes bad design more likely, it breaks with the Web's fundamental interaction style, and it consumes resources that would be better spent enhancing a site's core value.” This is up to user opinion however.
So who should use Flash versus HTML? If your website's purpose is all about the image of your business, or is designed to promote the products and services that you offer, Flash is a great way to go. However, if you are a site offering customer support, for example, you might irritate your customers with all the fancy, useless Flash animations.
Does your site feature Flash animations? What language do you rely on?