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Flash vs jQuery

Life used to be simple!

Flash used to dominate the creative internet marketplace.  If you wanted to give your site a bit of pizazz, then there was only one place to go.  Accessible by 98% of the viewing public, flash used to dominate in its hay day.  But, as with many things in life - good times can't always last forever.

Accessibility - the first battle

To make a website accessible to all, flash took a bit of a hit in its usage by digital agencies such as ourselves because text in flash is inherently difficult for screen readers to digest.  Screen readers are software used to access the internet by the blind and partially sighted which effectively read out the web page to the user.  So, many people have stopped using all out flash sites or have the pleasure/pain of maintaining two versions of their websites - the flash version and the HTML version.

So, flash became something that was used generally used sparingly and in the right context.  Advertising has used flash extensively to help ads to jump stand out and give them more movement and interest.

Apple - the second battle

Then, if flash wasn't having a hard enough time - Apple decided to not support Flash in their latest devices like the iPad.  Mobile marketing on the iPad then became even trickier for those whose flash ads are rendered as a plain white box on the latest Apple hardware.

jQuery - the solution (to a degree)

The answer is to design in jQuery.  This has a number of advantages over Flash.  It is supported by Apple, so there are no problems there and it also makes the code more accessible so screen readers can often more easily navigate through the content.  

The only problem with jQuery is that Flash is a very well developed piece of software, and there are some occasions when you need a bit of je ne sais quoi that currently can't be achieved in jQuery.  It may be only a matter of time, but it does provide a challenge for creative agencies to decide what's more important - all their users being able to see their content, or the ones that do being so amazed by the creative content that this off-sets the inaccessibility.

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