Using Flash for Portfolio Sites

Flash is perfect for snappy presentations and videos. It’s a great way to control the way people receiving information.

Unfortunately, most photography and art portfolio websites are built using Flash so they look more like a video than a website. I discourage this use of Flash for the following reasons:

  • People who want to view a Flash-based photography site have to have a Flash player already installed, or they need to install or update their Flash player before they can view your website.
  • Flash websites take a long time to download, so viewers spend a lot of time waiting.
  • People can’t send a link to a specific page on a flash site. If Mom wants to share pictures of Junior with Grandpa, she sends him the link to the photographer’s site, and he has to sit through the whole presentation.
  • People can’t copy and paste information from your Flash site. A bride-to-be can’t share pricing or pictures from your wedding photography website with her fiance by pasting them into an email.
  • In the code for a Flash site, there is almost no text. Search engines like Google display websites according to how relevant the site is for the user’s search terms. If there aren’t any words that match the user’s search, search engines don’t think the site is useful for that person.

For more information about using Flash alternatives for your portfolio website, check out the Featured Website. I used Javascript in a photography website to give all the functionality of Flash with none of the nasty side effects.

Allow people to move through your site at their own speed and share it as they wish. Use Flash sparingly for small videos.

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