Sam Brown

Death of 2Advanced, FI & other Flashers?

Malan Darras wrote an article recently titled ‘The Death of 2Advanced’, 2Advanced are a high-end flash design studio creating some of the most visual and technically outstanding flash websites on the internet. Is this the future of the web? Are these sites accessible and usable? My thoughts…”

2Advanced and FI are just two of the big flash design studios that I have seen regular and consistently brilliant work from, but are the internet trends really pushing Flash? Whilst at College in 2004 Flash was almost always the students choice of platform for designing a website, the ability to use sound, video, animation and increasing technologies within this application on the web is great. But it does lack in some aspects.

Why Flash is not the best medium

For my first year at College I was really interested in developing in flash, it wasn’t something I did regularly but I did enjoy doing it, however more recently in the past 6-12 months I have been a lot more interested in accessibility and usability on the web. Web Standards, providing SEO services and building semantic websites have been a few areas of great interest to me.

Malan Darras says:

A few years ago, if you asked me what the future of the internet was I would have undoubtedly said “Flash, 3D and Video Everywhere.” I would have talked about how as PC user’s bandwidth grew the acceptance of heavier file-sizes would allow for much much more high-end animation. A few years later it feels like Flash’s use as an animated website tool is dying.

I agree with him completely, this is very true, and I am seeing this as well. I am an avid visitor of flash award sites like Fcukstar, Ultrashock and Internet Tiny Awards, whilst these sites show some very stimulating and all-round great flash sites, none are as accessible or usable as the sites I view at CSS Beauty, Stylegala and Unmatched Style who I also visit regularly.

Flash vs CSS

Whilst I personally, dislike building whole flash sites that does not mean that they do not have their industries. Like Malan Darras notes Movie sites and Game sites are the best example. There are lots of pros and cons for each method and their are the Standards Advocates that will push for CSS, and their are the Flashers that will be pulling in the other direction, who is right? Both.

I do not think a site built entirely in flash for a content heavy site is the right way to go about it, but I do believe that a flash site is a great way to display a photographers portfolio. This isn’t to say that a Financial Company can’t have a lots of content and a flash masthead.

I vote.. CSS

I build all of my sites with HTML and CSS, I rarely use Flash. Now, Broadband internet may be becoming more and more popular around the world and allowing for larger files to be sent around.. the flip-side here is that their is also a very large number of increasing technologies to view the internet, from Fridges to Mobile Phones, Wrist watches to Televisions, not just the high-end power processing desktop computer or laptops.

Mobile Phones and PDAs are becoming very popular, but if you try and visit my site on either one of these it will degrade nicely in a text-only browser or a proper rendering browser on a PDA will show it well. Try visiting 2Advanced or FI on your mobile phone you will soon see the problem, and why build a site in 2 flavors when only 1 is needed?

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.