May 10, 2010 Off

The Pros and Cons of Adobe Flash

By in Advertising, Review, Web Design

Adobe Flash, which was previously known as Macromedia Flash, is a multimedia platform that is used to add video, animation and greater interactivity to many different areas. Its use in advertising is becoming increasingly common, and it has spurred an endless parade of online games. It can enhance audio, text layout and flow, colour correction, 3D effects, animation and more. Given all its capabilities, companies (especially creative ones) are turning to Flash for – well, flashier websites. Ad agencies and designers have finally found a platform that can really bring their message to life and showcase their creativity. They now have the tools to make a site that allows users to interact and be dazzled by their work, instead of just reading what their company is all about in plain text.

Flash allows for the use of rich media banner ads, and at the same time is slowly becoming the death of pop-up ads. Once advertisers realized just how bloody annoying people find pop-ups, they weren’t quite sure what to do with themselves. But Flash and DHTML ads are being used with more frequency, now that so many people have pop-up blockers. The use of Flash animation and motion graphics are thought of as being eye-catching to the user as opposed to a static ad. They have the ability to be more sophisticated and have a greater integration than pop-up ads ever could. Flash is often used in interstitial ads, which are ads that appear between web pages. They are more in the background and not quite as much of an affront to the user.

There are some disadvantages to Flash though. For example, websites that use Flash in their intro take longer to load than a regular website would. Considering the attention span of online users, this is a pretty big deal. Another downside is that Flash intros are harder to be picked up by search engines. Also, if users are downloading something that users Flash, this also means a longer downloading time. This is because the size of the file is bound to be bigger. Still, Flash gives users an enhanced experience in navigating a site. If those users are willing to wait for a site to load, they can be in for a real treat.

One designer made Flash a crucial part of navigating through her site and enriching its visual experience: prismgirl.org. Instead of clicking around with the traditional arrow, you get to find your way through a mystical looking landscape using Tinkerbell as a flashlight (that’s my take on it anyway). The little light allows you to move around as you please, giving the user more control (and fun).

This website thomasedison.org is another cool one. These are the kinds of sites that just make browsing better, and getting to the information you’re seeking feels like more of an experience. Of course, a creative ad agency must be included as an example: dead-line.com. The way things on the site pop out at you and move around as you select pages is really well done, and speaks to the agency’s message.

All in all, I would say Flash is more of an asset to advertising and websites than a disadvantage. Sure there are longer wait times and bigger file sizes. But if we all learned to practice patience a little bit more, these things wouldn’t be issues anyway. Maybe it’s a good thing that Flash causes a bit of waiting. It allows us to anticipate what’s coming, the way a child anticipates ripping open his presents that have been under the Christmas tree for weeks. Okay maybe Flash isn’t THAT exciting, but it’s a pretty cool tool nonetheless.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

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