Tim Witcherley

Why Google’s latest move is another nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash

by Tim Witcherley on July 18, 2014

Remember the last time you visited a website, only to be greeted by a blank space or missing content because it primarily uses Adobe Flash? Well, it’s no longer going to be such a common occurrence if you’re an iPhone user.

That’s because Google’s implemented a new feature that warns iPhone users when their search results include websites that use Flash, which isn’t supported by the iPhone.

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Having worked in digital marketing for the last 15 years, I was one of many professionals impressed by the world of creative possibilities Flash opened up to me. I’d build entire websites in Flash in my quest to enhance aesthetics and user engagement.

However, as with all technologies, Flash has its drawbacks, the largest being the fact that search engines totally ignore it

It’s also been impacted by other factors over the years, including:

  • The increase in the importance of generating organic listings leading to websites made entirely of Flash significantly decreasing
  • Marketing managers taking greater control of their websites by relying less on developers to update their Flash files
  • The widespread implementation of text-based pages managed through content management systems

But perhaps arguably the most significant setback for Flash was Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007. It turned the mobile world on its head and left marketing managers faced with how to make their websites work on iOS devices.

That was back then.

What does Google’s move mean in reality?

Today, mobiles are the main source of internet browsing for 53% of users (Office for National Statistics) and it’s been predicted by The International Telecoms Union that there’ll be more mobile subscriptions than people in the world by the end of 2014.

Google’s latest announcement means businesses with Flash-heavy sites that aren’t mobile compatible need to upgrade to other technologies to avoid providing a bad user experience.

Technologies such as HTML5, Javascript, JQuery and Parallax have built on the essence of Flash – enabling animated websites to be created, but with the added benefit of being both search engine friendly and iOS compatible.

What should businesses do?

Google’s understandably protective about its search results. While it’s difficult to gauge at this stage how its latest move will impact click through rates, businesses should still make sure their sites meet the latest requirements to ensure they provide an exceptional user experience.

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Tim Witcherley

This post was written by Tim Witcherley

As Cognition's Managing Director, Tim sets by example by being an incredibly driven and commercial businessman who has built a very impressive marketing consultancy which has continued to grow year on year. With a very straight and honest approach to business, he ensures he gets the best results for his clients and builds strong partnerships with his suppliers.

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