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More on Flash MX

10 Apr 2003

A few days ago, I discussed how Macromedia had taken steps towards greater accessibility for users of varying physical abilities in the latest version of Flash. Thomas Vander Wal points out that these advances are more like baby steps – certainly in the right direction, but also illustrative of just how far they need to go. I would say that in addition, it is the rare Flash developer who takes all the needed steps to make a Flash presentation or application really perform anywhere near Section 508 compliance.

Meanwhile, over at Digital Web, Nick Fink tells a frightening story. Apparently at this year’s South by Southwest “Show and Tell” session a young designer was asked why his site was rendered entirely in Flash. He replied, “Jeffrey Veen said ‘Flash is the future,’ so I designed my site all in Flash.”

Well now.

It certainly is flattering to think that anyone would take what I say with such conviction, but honestly – Flash is the future? That’s a significant misinterpretation of my desire to see Flash used well. I have been saying publicly for a while now that I’m excited to see Macromedia pushing ahead with a standard set of interface controls. This allows Flash developers to not only save time when creating Web applications, but also does a great service to user experience on the Web by encouraging UI consistency.

There are dozens of great examples of Flash-based Web applications that put HTML forms to shame. But at the same time, have a look at the most-trafficked sites on the Web and you won’t see a single one developed in Flash. Each Web technology has its strengths and weaknesses. Applying the proper solution to the present problem is the hallmark of good design.

So, to sum up:

The future of the Web is Flash.
The future of the Web is xHTML.
The future of the Web is CSS.
The future of the Web is some other stuff too. Just wait 6 months. You'll see. ​

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