Designing in Flash: It’s about accessibility

I like Flash. I think it’s a “pretty toy”. I think there are a lot of cool Flash sites out there. BUT…(you knew it was coming)…just because you’re a designer who likes working with Flash don’t forget not everyone likes Flash. Those who don’t will often not download the plug-in when the JavaScript alert pops up, afterall, they didn’t ask you to write arbitrary code to run on their machine. Remember these pointers next time you’re designing with Flash:

  • Use minimal Flash on your page. In other words, don’t make the whole site Flash. This has the possibility of alienating a clients potential market and may cost clients sales in the long run.
  • Use alternate tags for all Flash items so those without Flash have some idea what the graphic represented.
  • Plan your Flash presentation so crucial elements and graphics (navigation, customers name, etc.) are coded in the HTML
  • Before making a presentation in Flash research some. See if there is a more accessible way to achieve the same effect.

Most browsers don’t ship Flash enabled. It’s up to you to provide the client the best possible site for their money and their market. Unless you’re working on an intranet where you know all machines are Flash enabled and always will be, plan on someone not being able to see your design and that person being an important client.