Monday September 17, 2007

Dear Miami galleries, thanks for keeping those sites updated, now can we talk about the Flash?

Try this experiment: Google a few of the artists that David Castillo represents, and note where the gallery’s page for that artist falls in the search results (#1 for Pepe Mar, a little way down on the first screen for Andrew Guenther, and on the second screen for Wendy Wischer). Repeat for Fred Snitzer (oops, it’s not possible to link directly to his artist list). Nope. Nada. Nothing (note: not even when you add the name of the gallery to the request). Hernan Bas is there right now, but with a broken link and slipping fast.

That, my friends, is why you don’t want a Flash website.

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  1. Habla Mierda    Mon Sep 17, 11:17 AM #  

    I’ve been turning down clients who want Flash work for a long time. I first make an attempt to convince them to use standard XHTML/CSS, but if they persist I tell them to find someone else.

    Small bits of Flash here and there for functionality is fine, but it’s absurd to use for an entire site.

  2. Onajídé Shabaka    Mon Sep 17, 01:58 PM #  

    Yes, I designed and maintained an older version of Kevin Bruk’s site when his stats were still on the upswing. When he wanted a redesign when his Flash designer moved on, I quoted him a fair deal for a non-Flash site that gave his staff control panel access for maintaining the site that was rejected. The numerous problems with 100% Flash site are well documented. Web sites are considered eye candy to some and not fully functioning web applications that can do much more and, have much more accessibility for the non-web/internet professional.

  3. LRC    Mon Sep 17, 03:55 PM #  

    There are Flash sites out there that function like html. Yes, html! You can use the browser navigation, you can bookmark individual pages and link directly to them and yes they are picked up by search engines. What your probably looking at is poor Flash development. Here and here are examples of some of those Flash sites with added functionality.

  4. Habla Mierda    Mon Sep 17, 04:44 PM #  


    It’s still a complete waste of resources. The sites aren’t machine readable, they require more effort to maintain, and regardless of the opening of swf it’s still pretty much a proprietary format.

  5. alesh    Mon Sep 17, 04:49 PM #  


    I agree that there are some sites that are really well done Flash sites and that benefit, on balance, from Flash. The second site you cite is a good example.

    The first . . . meh. I googled “tackled that complexity with more complexity of their own”, which is straight out of their “about” page (oops, there is no way to bookmark it, is there?), and sure enough, their site didn’t come up. The flash implementation is pedestrian, and no, my browser navigation does NOT work.

    BTW, here’s a flash site I really like.

  6. LRC    Tue Sep 18, 05:44 PM #  

    I totally understand what you guys mean, but sometimes it’s appropriate to push the envelope a bit. Here’s what I mean.

  7. Onajídé Shabaka    Wed Sep 19, 12:28 AM #  

    I personally have no issues with Flash being used in the appropriate context. The last site that LRC links to isn’t selling objects like a gallery would anyway so, that example isn’t a good one. However, for TV, radio, music type sites Flash is very good.

    If one wants to push the envelope, it’s probably more appropriate for an artist to do it rather than a gallery, unless that gallery is doing something experimental and/or web based. I love sites that I have to explore because everything isn’t handed to me on a plate, so to speak.

    And, let’s be honest about our intentions and comments and application familiarity because LRC designs Flash sites to earn income. I do the same with non-Flash sites. And, I recommended one of my clients to him, although the deal wasn’t struck, as far as I know. If somebody wants Flash I have several developers I work with that can provide them with what they want.

    And, speaking about LRC’s past Flash work, I had asked a client to provide me with some information to which that client said, “It’s on our web site.” Of course, since the text document wasn’t actually text, it was not possible to copy-and-paste it for use in another application. That is a bad use of Flash, especially when users don’t understand that it may look like text but, isn’t.

  8. alesh    Wed Sep 19, 06:31 AM #  

    Precisely, Onajídé.

    I’d add that even when text can be selected and copied to the clipboard in Flash, it’s apparently not spider crawlable, so no listings in google. So I guess it’s great if you want a top-secret site.

    Also. Flash works well enough for video and music, but it works by wrapping the content in this external thing . . . I’d say the world would be a happier place if we’d standardized on something else . Maybe Quicktime, or embedded mpeg/mp3 files (browsers would have developed a feature to keep them from autoplaying. But yes, when I do video it’s flash of course.


    I agree that for certain sites Flash is appropriate. You correctly realize that your site is not such a case, and I think galleries would be wise to realize the same thing.