To Flash or not to Flash, that is the question.

Devices and programming are continuously changing, evolving, and adapting.  The surge of the iPhone, iPad and their brothers have thrown a curve to some companies with sites that rely heavily on Flash for images, tutorials, navigation, and advertising.

As one of my clients said, “It’s nothing personal, just means that you get more hourly projects for a while.”  He realizes that part of having a website is being willing to periodically reinvent, rethink and discard.  Such is the dilemna with Flash and the iPhone.

 


Your web professional that created your flash site for you two years ago hadn’t counted on this surge in new devices that won’t display Flash.  You’ll have to invest a bit of time to either completely recreate your site, recreate certain elements or choose not to accept the fact that many web surfers are doing it on three inch touch screens.  I find a middle-of-the-road solution works well most of the time.

There are several alternatives to slide shows that involve html, CSS and JavaScript. Some are simple, some look beautiful with smooth transitions, some are time consuming, but worth the effort.  They need to be evaluated on a case by case basis.  They also need to be tested in all browsers before making the decision. Your web professional can help you evaluate your current site and make recommendations of what solution would work best for you.  Beware if they pooh-pooh the idea that anything needs to be done. I find this the case with designers who rely on Flash for everything.  They don’t care about the alternatives most of the time, and usually don’t want to bother creating a solution that doesn’t involve flash.  Doing nothing is not a logical solution.

The CSS based ones are sleak, but sensitive.  Your existing CSS files may undo the work being done in your new slideshow – at least in one browser or another. Test before launching and celebrating.

Smashing Magazine, a personal favorite, has a list of alternatives to Flash for slideshows.

For at least one client, I’ve gone the simple route. They really want to keep flash for most site visitors. They only want to offer an automated alternative for those on devices that don’t support Flash.  These simple scripts in the header of your pages will detect and redirect to an “i” friendly version of your page.  You will, of course, have to create the i-friendly version of the page.

if you want this quick redirect solution to hold you over or just handle your needs, feel free to copy the code below – be sure to delete the extra spaces in the comments areas.  Be sure to change the redirect URL to the alternative iPhone friendly page.

The best solution, on your next redesign, if it’s due in the next year, plan your new site to be friendly in ALL browsers on ALL devices and to be Web 2.0 and CSS 2.1 compliant.  This can be tricky and time-consuming for the initial set up, but updates will be simpler and you’ll have happier site visitors.

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