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Thread: I hate html

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    SitePoint Zealot Blunderboy's Avatar
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    I hate html

    I was trying to design a site with dreamweaver3 and was just about going nuts trying to get my tables to show up in the browser the way they do in dreamweaver. (WYSIWYG my ***!) Well, I gave up and have decided to go ahead with my own solution: I simply sit a Flash movie in the middle of the html doc, and can freely position text and images/animations exactly where I want them with all the flexibility that flash offers. Because this is such an easy/intuitive technique, I'm surprised that I don't see it being done very often. Does anyone else do this?
    I know that as far as search engines go. this is a dumb approach. What are the solutions for allowing the search engines to do their thing?

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    Don't ask me, I'm anti Flash. Macromedia can add on as many accessibility options as they like but at the end of the day the fact that I need the Flash player plugin defeats the purpose. If I don't want to install it I won't see the website and therefore it won't be accessible to me.

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    SitePoint Enthusiast m0n5t3r's Avatar
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    real
    Quote Originally Posted by Blunderboy
    I was trying to design a site with dreamweaver3 and was just about going nuts trying to get my tables to show up in the browser the way they do in dreamweaver. (WYSIWYG my ***!)
    The best (and cleanest) way of coding anything is by hand This way, you won't get to or
    Well, I gave up and have decided to go ahead with my own solution: I simply sit a Flash movie in the middle of the html doc, and can freely position text and images/animations exactly where I want them with all the flexibility that flash offers. Because this is such an easy/intuitive technique, I'm surprised that I don't see it being done very often. Does anyone else do this?
    Well, it is easy and intuitive, but it has its costs... That's why you don't see it being used.
    I know that as far as search engines go. this is a dumb approach. What are the solutions for allowing the search engines to do their thing?
    Flash6, AFAIK, puts a comment containing all the strings in the movie before the actual swf file, so the search engines are not the problem...
    The real problem are the non-Flash browsers: If someone uses any kind of text-based browser, or simply doesn't (want to) have the Flash player installed, he can't view the page... Not to mention that some people (well, not me ) think that a page should be readable by Braille and some other disabled people stuff. I've noticed that especially Americans have an (annoying) obsession with such things.

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    You go right ahead and put Flash on your site.

    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/browser.php
    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/os.php

    It looks like less than 1% are using something other than IE or Netscape. Less than 2% are using something other than Windows. I would say that the odds of your surfers having IE installed on a Windows box are very very good. That would mean that flash is installed too. One of those hidden installed things that MS does. No choice about it, its just there. All you need to do is put a nice text link on your page and lead the differently abled browsers to a boring, text only version of your site.

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    Obsession and the law

    For our European friend, it is not only an obsession; it is the law when you are designing for government sites.

    Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA), in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, has been charged with the task of educating Federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section 508 implementation. Using this web site, Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508. http://www.section508.gov/

    Nobody wants to be sued for not providing access to his or her site. I have been told by British friends that laws are even more clearly spelled out in the EEU, although they are not as litigation happy as many are here.

    Blind User Sues Airline Over Web Site Accessiblity
    Web site incompatible with screen reader program
    When Robert Gumson logs on to the Internet, he uses a software program that converts Web site content into speech. But when he logged on to Southwest Airlines' Web site to make a reservation, Gumson, who is blind, found that the site was incompatible with his screen-reader program.

    For the full text of this article, please visit: Law.com


    As far as use of flash goes, even if the player is installed by default many users do not have the correct version. Many (myself included) cannot add software to their computers without a lot of paperwork from the IT department. Most corporate intranets and their Internet access are regulated on a baseline. Additionally, the bandwidth costs of flash content are prohibitive for some small businesses and millions of people still have dial-up access. I know that if I have to wait for a page to download for more than 15 seconds, I am likely to look elsewhere.

    Making your site dependant on any non-standard compliant technology is folly. It is okay to use them, but you should always have a way to enter the site and provide the same content without the plugin.


    I guess what I am trying to say is know your audience, know the customer and know the law in your area. You can't go wrong by making content available in the fastest and simplest media possible.

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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    on accessibility...i think it was zeldman who so aptly put it: how about the world's largest blind user...google ?
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    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    You go right ahead and put Flash on your site.

    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/browser.php
    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/os.php

    It looks like less than 1% are using something other than IE or Netscape. Less than 2% are using something other than Windows. I would say that the odds of your surfers having IE installed on a Windows box are very very good. That would mean that flash is installed too. One of those hidden installed things that MS does. No choice about it, its just there. All you need to do is put a nice text link on your page and lead the differently abled browsers to a boring, text only version of your site.
    FYI, my stats are nothing like that - only about 50% IE users - so I say it would depend on individual site statistics to come to a decision. And even though flash is installed on my puter, I have it disabled and I assure you that I am not alone. At least if there is a text link, I would have access but does it have to be boring??

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    SitePoint Enthusiast m0n5t3r's Avatar
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    good point, earther...
    as of accessibility: if the code is standards compliant, then screen readers should have no problem with it; and the colors must be chosen in such a way that makes reading easy, anyway (i.e. the contrast should be fairly high), so it should be no problem with color-blind users as well... What I mean is, standards comppliant means accessible... Am I right? Btw, how many web developers do have a screen reader to test on?

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    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m0n5t3r
    What I mean is, standards comppliant means accessible... Am I right?
    unfortunately you're not. you can create an html/xhtml document that is perfectly standards compliant, validates and everything...but is still completely inaccessible. the most trivial of examples: in xhtml you are required, in order to achieve validation, to have an alt attribute for every image. in theory, this is also good in terms of accessibility. now, nothing prevents you from simply adding an empty alt to all your images (even the ones that carry lots of information, not just the decorative ones that, even for accessibility purpouses, SHOULD have an empty alt). now your document is standards compliant, validates...but is completely devoid of any information to anybody who can't see the images (and again, let me re-iterate...google is one of the world's biggest blind users).
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    SitePoint Guru quenting's Avatar
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    Flash6, AFAIK, puts a comment containing all the strings in the movie before the actual swf file, so the search engines are not the problem...
    Search engines don't care at all about comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    You go right ahead and put Flash on your site.

    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/browser.php
    http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2003/May/os.php

    It looks like less than 1% are using something other than IE or Netscape. Less than 2% are using something other than Windows. I would say that the odds of your surfers having IE installed on a Windows box are very very good. That would mean that flash is installed too. One of those hidden installed things that MS does. No choice about it, its just there. All you need to do is put a nice text link on your page and lead the differently abled browsers to a boring, text only version of your site. [img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
    I work alot with windows machines and internet explorer ... one thing I do know is that there has been 1 version where flash was a standard addon but they stopped doing that quickly ...

    Never assume that ie 5+ automatically has flash it just isn't true!!!

    If most have flash installed probably but not automatically..
    the neigbours (free) WIFI makes it just a little more fun

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    Plus, Macromedia Flash movies take for ever to load.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Glass
    Be kind to me--I'm on dialup.
    I am too, you know.

    Small bits of Flash are fine (navbars, small movies, et cetera), but when the entire site's content is in Flash...

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    Why is everyone so resistant to Flash? Every document I can find on the net about browsers and flash and users and OS and all that tells me that flash is a very good tool to use.

    Dont forget guys, you are experienced surfers. Most people arent. Most people just use what they are given and click the Yes box when it pops up.

    What about the 30 or 40 million aol users? (40 million the last I heard) They have flash installed, they have no choice.

    I recently built a new computer, installed win2k. Went to MS and installed the latest version of IE6. It installed flash with IE6

    Face it. Flash is here to stay. It looks great, gives nice interactivity to a site, and is way better than boring old black text on a white backround.

    One more thing, loosing a surfer that doesnt have flash installed isnt always a bad thing. That person is usually not one to spend money or stay up on the latest and greatest. (this is NOT directed at anyone here, just normal surfers) I would rather the guy with the win95 and some older free browser make a nice whooshing noise as he goes past my site. Too cheap to upgrade to a decent computer with new software on it, too cheap to spend money on hosting.

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    because you gotta have beer! firegryphon3207's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compuwhiz7
    Plus, Macromedia Flash movies take for ever to load.



    I am too, you know.

    Small bits of Flash are fine (navbars, small movies, et cetera), but when the entire site's content is in Flash...
    yeah well I'm on dsl and nothing makes me click the back button faster than waiting for an entire site to load. I'll click a link and wait for a movie to load provided it's an entertainment thing and not required to do anthing in the site. I guess I'm just spoiled thatway.
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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    If I am on your site to buy hosting, then why the heck would I care about your Flash movie? There is nothing in it that 4-8 lines of text or a table of comparison between your plans couldn't tell me, and frankly I don't care for eyecandy when I'm making as serious a decision as who I am hosting my sites (or more importantly, my clients' sites) with. I agree that it is all about the audience, and if your site is, say Lamborghini.com then maybe you should use a lot of Flash to wow your customers, but Flash should not be your only way to access content! Even an all-Flash site should have some kind of text-based alternative for those who may not be able to/care to download the Flash plug-in. Another thing you're forgetting is that there's no good Flash player for the Konqueror browser on Linux. Linux users are some of the most technically adept and are very likely to buy hosting; if your site is all Flash they won't be buying from you since they can't see anything.

    I've probably given people a lot to think about, so I'll wait for responses .

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    Why is everyone so resistant to Flash? Every document I can find on the net about browsers and flash and users and OS and all that tells me that flash is a very good tool to use.

    Dont forget guys, you are experienced surfers. Most people arent. Most people just use what they are given and click the Yes box when it pops up.

    What about the 30 or 40 million aol users? (40 million the last I heard) They have flash installed, they have no choice.

    I recently built a new computer, installed win2k. Went to MS and installed the latest version of IE6. It installed flash with IE6

    Face it. Flash is here to stay. It looks great, gives nice interactivity to a site, and is way better than boring old black text on a white backround.

    One more thing, loosing a surfer that doesnt have flash installed isnt always a bad thing. That person is usually not one to spend money or stay up on the latest and greatest. (this is NOT directed at anyone here, just normal surfers) I would rather the guy with the win95 and some older free browser make a nice whooshing noise as he goes past my site. Too cheap to upgrade to a decent computer with new software on it, too cheap to spend money on hosting.

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    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have nothing against Macromedia Flash, when it is used in moderation. For certain things, it's nice. I like the eyecandy-ful navbars. I like little games that make cute popping noises while 3D fish bounce around the screen. But...

    I hate site that are done entirely in Flash!

    For me, guys, that's the bottom line. Bits and pieces are fine. Nothing else.

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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by compuwhiz7
    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have nothing against Macromedia Flash, when it is used in moderation. For certain things, it's nice. I like the eyecandy-ful navbars. I like little games that make cute popping noises while 3D fish bounce around the screen. But...

    I hate site that are done entirely in Flash!

    For me, guys, that's the bottom line. Bits and pieces are fine. Nothing else.
    Flash navigation is no good either, since it's an essential part of the site. I don't mind Flash at all when used properly, which to me means on non-essential parts of a site's layout/structure. If your navigation is hidden behind Flash and you don't have some kind of alternative in HTML-land then you do run the risk of losing some customers. However, I have nothing against proper use of Flash if enough planning has gone into it (and you can easily tell which sites and developers properly plan their Flash usage).

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    Hmmm... I myself refuse to use Macromedia Flash, unless it's in a game. Straight XML and XHTML for me, followed by CSS, JavaScript, and C# for me, guys. No Flash or ActionScript.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    Why is everyone so resistant to Flash? Every document I can find on the net about browsers and flash and users and OS and all that tells me that flash is a very good tool to use.
    I personally love flash, but at the same time, it's got limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    Dont forget guys, you are experienced surfers. Most people arent. Most people just use what they are given and click the Yes box when it pops up.
    People may or may not click yes for whatever reasons they choose. And sometimes, people can't even click yes even if they wanted to. At the company I work at, I can't install this stuff and network admins won't take time out of their busy schedules just to install a plug-in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    I recently built a new computer, installed win2k. Went to MS and installed the latest version of IE6. It installed flash with IE6
    IE 6 is the last standalone version of IE. The next version will come only with a Windows OS. Personally, I think most people won't care. But if a new flash player or plug-in comes out and the ie installers aren't updated to include the new flash, then that's one thing to consider. And if people get sick of IE, the next browser they choose might or might not install flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    Face it. Flash is here to stay. It looks great, gives nice interactivity to a site, and is way better than boring old black text on a white backround.
    Flash is here to stay. Sure. Doesn't mean there aren't issues. Designing an entire site with flash? Not cool. Designing a site with html/css and images and then using javascript to sniff out a plug-in to replace elements with flash? That's acceptable because people without javascript or without flash will still have something to look at, while people with both get a better site.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    One more thing, loosing a surfer that doesnt have flash installed isnt always a bad thing. That person is usually not one to spend money or stay up on the latest and greatest. (this is NOT directed at anyone here, just normal surfers) I would rather the guy with the win95 and some older free browser make a nice whooshing noise as he goes past my site. Too cheap to upgrade to a decent computer with new software on it, too cheap to spend money on hosting.
    Losing a lot of surfers without flash is a bad thing though. A lot of companies disallow software installations (without admin permission) and a lot of non-profits are on dial-up. Ditto for government agencies. If you have a website that needs to appeal to these people, you need to design accordingly.

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    SitePoint Addict Viral's Avatar
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    To blunderboy: Flash is NOT a replacement for HTML. Flash is a tool that should be used for small movies or animations ON a web page. I say if you have that much trouble with html that you have to resort to using flash for your entire layout, you are not a web developer and need to quit fooling yourself. It's not that hard. You know you could just do the layout in photoshop with one giant image, then make a huge imagemap on top of it instead of html also. But that's just as ridiculous as using flash for the entire site. On top of requiring a plugin, it would also take up an enormous amount of CPU to run a full size flash application, and be about a 10 times larger download than text-based html. Besides, I've yet to see ANYTHING done in flash that can't be done in less space with other technologies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    One more thing, loosing a surfer that doesnt have flash installed isnt always a bad thing. That person is usually not one to spend money or stay up on the latest and greatest. (this is NOT directed at anyone here, just normal surfers) I would rather the guy with the win95 and some older free browser make a nice whooshing noise as he goes past my site. Too cheap to upgrade to a decent computer with new software on it, too cheap to spend money on hosting. [img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
    If I came your your site looking for hosting and found your entire website was designed in flash, I would say "This moron doesn't have the first clue how to even design a website. Why in the world would I trust him to know how to host MY sites?" and promptly flee to your competitor's html website.

    --Viral
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    Whoa, slow down guys! Its just a browser plugin. No need to resort to name calling.

    If I am on your site to buy hosting, then why the heck would I care about your Flash movie? There is nothing in it that 4-8 lines of text or a table of comparison between your plans couldn't tell me, and frankly I don't care for eyecandy when I'm making as serious a decision as who I am hosting my sites (or more importantly, my clients' sites) with. I agree that it is all about the audience, and if your site is, say Lamborghini.com then maybe you should use a lot of Flash to wow your customers, but Flash should not be your only way to access content! Even an all-Flash site should have some kind of text-based alternative for those who may not be able to/care to download the Flash plug-in. Another thing you're forgetting is that there's no good Flash player for the Konqueror browser on Linux. Linux users are some of the most technically adept and are very likely to buy hosting; if your site is all Flash they won't be buying from you since they can't see anything.
    I dont ask you to care about my flash movie, its just something I am trying. I have the text too. I understand that browsers have issues with some things and try to code for the majority. I dont like the all flash sites very much either, unless I am there for entertainment.

    Hmmm... I myself refuse to use Macromedia Flash, unless it's in a game. Straight XML and XHTML for me, followed by CSS, JavaScript, and C# for me, guys. No Flash or ActionScript.
    I can understand that. There are things out there that I dont want to use either. I havent figured out XML yet, so no XML for me We all have our own way of doing things. One thing I have learned, sometimes what works for me will not work for you. That doesnt make it wrong, just different.


    CRA
    True enough, loosing a LOT of surfers that dont have flash is a bad thing. Just how many am I loosing? Stats that I find when I research it on the net tell me the odds are in my favor. To bad 47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot I dont know exactly what the answer is here. I just know that flash is a good plugin and I like it and I am going to use it where I can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    CRA
    True enough, loosing a LOT of surfers that dont have flash is a bad thing. Just how many am I loosing? Stats that I find when I research it on the net tell me the odds are in my favor. To bad 47.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot I dont know exactly what the answer is here. I just know that flash is a good plugin and I like it and I am going to use it where I can.
    Do your stats tell you what version of flash is installed? For two years, at work, I was using IE 5.0 and whatever flash player it came with and I couldn't update to the latest and greatest flash players ever. I only have the new version of flash now that my company's upgraded to windows xp and ie 6 but now I'll be stuck with this version for the next few years. Ditto for everyone else in my company.

    I'm not saying that surfers don't have flash, or that designers shouldn't ever use flash. I'm just saying, there are a lot of circumstances. Anyone can do anything to their PC at home. But when a company or non-profit or government agency has a policy regarding technology, then that's a block of people that are affected. Even if 99% of your visitors use flash, if none of the workers at, say, Big International Bank can see your site or its key elements, then that decision is yours.

    And LiveJournal strips flash and javascript from its members templates over an incident where account names and passwords were harvested from cookies. So when IT departments ban javascript and flash for security reasons, they're not making up these threats.

    I don't have stats (and have never mentioned stats btw, only anecdotes), but it's part of the feedback I get every now and then. It's never, "I won't install flash on my computer." But the complaints against flash and javascript I got either came from dealing with dial-up or were work related. *shrugs*

    Now, I run a fandom site so all I win/lose are popularity points instead of dollars. But say, if Company Startup wants an IPO and Big Bank can't see the startup's website because flash isn't upgraded, then that's a problem. And that situation has happened once at my work. Minor inconvenience and the teams found ways to exchange information, but still.

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    SitePoint Zealot Blunderboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viral
    To blunderboy: Flash is NOT a replacement for HTML. Flash is a tool that should be used for small movies or animations ON a web page. I say if you have that much trouble with html that you have to resort to using flash for your entire layout, you are not a web developer and need to quit fooling yourself. It's not that hard. You know you could just do the layout in photoshop with one giant image, then make a huge imagemap on top of it instead of html also. But that's just as ridiculous as using flash for the entire site. On top of requiring a plugin, it would also take up an enormous amount of CPU to run a full size flash application, and be about a 10 times larger download than text-based html. Besides, I've yet to see ANYTHING done in flash that can't be done in less space with other technologies.



    --Viral
    Under certain circumstances Flash can be a replacement for html, depending on the kind of site you are designing. It is much more than an animation tool. I have seen some fine and creative sites made only or mostly in flash. If the site is more a visual presentation (no big animations, Flash files can also be small, but being a great web developer you'll already know that) then why not do it in flash?

    I am well aware that there are many problems with making an exclusively Flash based site. My original point was about what I see as the unintuitive nature of html. Html was never designed as a precision layout tool and I have always found it a very clumsy and convoluted method for laying out the visual elements on a page (browser issues aside)

    Why all this fuss about getting a little plug-in? This narrow-minded thinking doesn't seem to fit in with the open and experimental nature of the internet. Sharrup! all you old ladies.

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    100% Windoze-free earther's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhekn
    Why is everyone so resistant to Flash?
    Because it is so annoying. I would never put visitors to my site through that.

    Every document I can find on the net about browsers and flash and users and OS and all that tells me that flash is a very good tool to use.
    Not trying to be confrontational but . . . do you believe everything you read??

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    because you gotta have beer! firegryphon3207's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blunderboy
    This narrow-minded thinking doesn't seem to fit in with the open and experimental nature of the internet.
    ok, I'll put my two cents in on this rant,

    There is a time and a place for everything. There are 2 basic catagories of sites
    1)personal site-Anything goes it's for your personal uses, who cares.

    2)business site: This site is selling something, whether it be an actual e-commerce site, informational, their services, or themselves as a company

    The second catagory will always be limited to the assumptions of the targeted user. Whenever you are selling anything you must take into consideration what the user thinks, not what you personally like or what you think the internet should be. That's why the web sites of prestigious legal firms don't have huge movies with dancing bananas singing the peanutbutter jelly song. That would do irreparable harm to thier reputation as serious lawyers who know alot about the law. That's why when doing a site for a web hosting company (as vinnie stated previously) you shouldn't go all flash. People looking for hosting are web designers and they know good html when they see it. If you just used flash they are going to assume you can't even code a page and therefore can't maintain thier site worth a darn. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can code--it's what your users think. Now, if you're using flash with something like a "cutting edge underground" dance DJ, that's a diffrent story, the user expects to be knocked on thier butt with eye/ear candy. And if you want to only do cutting edge eyecandy, great--but target your business to people who need that kind of thing because that's what their users expect.

    Designing web pages isn't about you. This is a service industry and it's about our consumers needs and filling those needs in a way that's beneficial to them. Every bit of experimentation is done to fulfill a need, php, perl, .net, css, etc were all created to serve the need of the consumer. That consumer was not us the designers but the owners of the websites who commissioned us to create them.

    This isn't meant to be insulting or confrontational or anything like that. It's just my personal interpretation of the entire question of flash v. html.
    Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
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