December 7, 2011 - 2 comments

Danger Will Robinson! It’s Your Flash-Based Website!

Last month Adobe announced that it will no longer support Flash for mobile.

The interwebs were quick to announce that Flash is Dead. Heck, it makes a great headline.

I'm waiting to see what happens but I do lean toward this camp.

But if that doesn't jive with you maybe this will: Flash isn't dead but it is moving in a new direction.

So I'm putting up a red flag for all the photographers using a purely Flash-based website or even thinking about buying into a Flash-based template. (My yellow flag? It's Time to Break Up with Your Flash Website.)

Hello, Mobile is the Future

Let me say that again: Mobile is the future.

Adobe has clearly recognized (as well as most savvy business peeps) that the mobile market is just going to continue to grow.

If anything Adobe laying off 750 people to concentrate their efforts on HTML5 should alert you to where things are headed.

Sure, your flash plug-in may still be working on your desktop but here's fact: Desktop market share (for browsers) is declining.

Check out this infographic on mobile marketing, too.

Now is the time to ask

Ask your website company what they think about the future of Flash at their company.

How will it impact your website (your business)?

What are their plans to help you deliver content on mobile devices?

Will they make it easy for you to migrate your existing content?

Switch to HTML5, CSS3 & Javascript Soon

I've stopped many photographers from buying "quick and easy" Flash website templates because it has always been important to design for the present and the future.

With devices and technology changing so often you want to be ahead.

The photographers who are currently using HTML(5), CSS(3) and javascript as the languages to display and deliver content don't have much to worry about. They invested in a more long-term solution; a long-term solution that will scale. It's future-proof.

It's Good Enough?

Some of you may feel you're OK because the company you use utilizes a combination of Flash (for desktop) and HTML5 (for mobile).

You maybe in a better position (remember: desktop is declining, mobile is rising.) but the problem I've heard (and seen) even with this setup is this: Most of your branding disappears.

Maybe you don't care. Good enough is good enough.

Compare your non-branded HTML5 iPad experience to an HTML5 iPad experience that is branded.

Consistency IS important. Every time your audience comes in contact with your brand elements such as your logo, color scheme, photographs, it reminds them of you.

Who is your target audience? Will they notice? Do they care?

Sophistication attracts sophistication. Details matter.

Make time and start your research.

Whatever the outcome of Flash, you want to be in a position where you are ready; not scrambling to get a new website up.

The time it will take to migrate content and possibly start from scratch may cost you more.

Time is money.

Are you willing to risk eyeballs and possibly your next lead because your portfolio or website won't display? Do you have the time to keep track of what Flash is doing or where it is going?

Wouldn't you rather be making your next best picture?

Published by: dpdavis in Self Employment, Photography, Design
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Comments

Jasmine DeFoore
December 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Hi Deb, This post comes at a very serendipitous time, as I have a few clients who are either looking to build new sites or are ready to migrate away from custom flash sites to HTML5. I have referred many people to Livebooks over the years, and of late, to A Photo Folio. I know that their html mirror sites are not as rich an experience as the flash versions, but I still see a lot of plusses for these template products. Namely, that they allow a photographer to quickly and easily get a good looking website up. In an ideal world, a custom HTML5/CSS site would be best, but the cost and development time can be drawbacks for many photographers.

So, my question to you is, what are your suggestions for non-flash based template products that are easy to get set up and maintain for the non-techy photographers in the world? I think even wordpress can be tricky for some people to dive into. I made a list of companies and would love to know if you recommend any of these: http://jasminedefoore.com/photographer-portfolio-website-products-compared/

Most importantly to me is how easy is it to customize so that it doesn't look so much like a template? I think a lot of these solutions are easy if you know a little html or css, or if you like fiddling about with plugins and modules, but some people just don't have the patience for that.

looking forward to your feedback!

Deb
December 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

@Jasmine ~ Thanks for your thoughts and questions.

I know that their html mirror sites are not as rich an experience as the flash versions, but I still see a lot of plusses for these template products. Namely, that they allow a photographer to quickly and easily get a good looking website up. In an ideal world, a custom HTML5/CSS site would be best, but the cost and development time can be drawbacks for many photographers.

I see no benefit to using a Flash template with a mirror HTML today… there's a long history to Flash of which I'm not an expert but photographers can essentially wait for the Flash/HTML pairing to die or start thinking about migrating to an HTML/CSS website. My goal is to prepare photographer for what is coming. The companies selling Flash-based website templates need to get ahead and educate their customers on what is coming.

For photographers wanting a custom designed/built website, plan ahead. If you are expecting a custom website to be designed and built in X amount of time and you are asking your designer/developer for the moon on features, your expectations need to be modified. Research for web designers who fit your aesthetic and sensibilities. Inquire ahead of time. The good web designers are booked at least 3 months to maybe even a year.

So, my question to you is, what are your suggestions for non-flash based template products that are easy to get set up and maintain for the non-techy photographers in the world?

I totally get that not everyone has the cash to have a custom site built. Photographers (and many other businesses) who don't have a lot of cash are in luck today because there are more HMTL/CSS template options out there than ever before. I'll take a look at your list and get back to you with my recommendations with some notes about the ability to tweak or customize.

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