There’s been a lot of rumors going about over the past few weeks about Adobe killing off Flash, and the software giant has now confirmed that Flash on mobile devices is officially dead! Instead, in an official statement they have underlined its commitment to “aggressively” contributing to the development of HTML5, however they also confirmed that they would continue work on Flash for desktops. How long will this be the case for though? I think that this could be the first step in the demise of Flash, and it probably won’t be long before we are seeing Flash completely killed off.
If your scratching your head wondering why this is happening, well there are a few reasons. The first and probably most important is Usability: its something that nowadays as web designers, is drilled into us, for the simple reason that everyone should be able to enjoy the web, regardless of disabilities or impairment. Flash has made this a nightmare because it embeds everything into its files, leaving text within files unreadable through a screen-reader, and if the screen reader can’t tell the user what’s on the page they obviously won’t be able to enjoy it.
Not search engine friendly: As mentioned above, text within flash files cannot be read screen readers, and the same rule applies to search engines, they cannot read the text on the page, so if someone searches for content that is uploaded on your flash site they won’t be able to find it. So the only way someone is going to be able to find your site is through you telling them about it, but that has its boundaries too.
Slow loading time: it is well known fact that Flash takes longer to load than standard HTML content, without getting into the nitty gritty of why exactly this is, it can have a big impact on people actually viewing your site. For example if you have quite a large amount of rich content on your site, its going to take a while to download it all, HTML does this bit by bit as you need it whereas Flash will download the whole file at once, so if someone clicks on your site and has to wait for 10+ seconds for it to load, chances are they are going to get fed up waiting and leave the site.
There are many more reasons out there but the 3 above probably play the biggest part in the decline of Flash. Apple also has quite a major role in the death of Flash on mobile, as they refused to include it in their app store, their reasons being some of the above mentioned. This has obviously been a huge blow to Adobe as iPhone, iPod and iPad make up a huge percentage of the global share of mobile devices with iOS contributing over 60% of the market share of mobile internet use in October 2011 according to Net Market Share. Check out the graph below!
The rise of HTML5 and its capabilities will, I think ultimately lead to the complete death of Flash, its not that I am completely against Flash, I think it has its uses – such as games, but I just can’t see a long term future for it with the way things are moving forward.