If your website was built in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, chances are your site was built with flash or has some component of flash integrated into the design of your website. In a message on the Google Chromium support forum, Anthony Laforge — Google’s technical lead on Chrome, Google has announced that Google will no longer support Flash-based components due to HTML5’s (HTML — hypertext markup language — is the coding language used to display content on your web page) increasing technological capabilities and user-experience improvements over the capabilities and performance of Flash.

Adobe Flash Error Message
The infamous error message displayed when your Flash media is not supported.

If you’re at all involved in the web development industry, you’ve known for years now that Adobe Flash was on the way out. Ever since Steve Jobs announced that Apple would drop support for Flash, we have not been able to access native Flash media via iPhones, iPads, and other major modern browsers! This is why, often when you try to view a media object on a mobile browser, you’re redirected to an additional downloaded application.

This means that all of the fancy animations, slide transitions, interactive elements that may have been built into your website using flash … are no longer functional for the majority of modern web browsers.

As with most web technology, Google tends to lead the way in browser technologies and other browsers are often soon to follow (Apple’s Safari, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, etc.).

What is Flash?

From the Adobe Flash Wikipedia article:

Adobe Flash (formerly called Macromedia Flash and Shockwave Flash) is a multimediasoftware platform for production of animations, browser games, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, mobile applications and mobile games. Flash displays text, vector graphics and raster graphics to provide animations, video games and applications. It allows streaming of audio and video, and can capture mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera input.

For it’s time, Flash was an incredible multimedia software platform that allowed users to create beautiful animations and interactive features with limited to no programming experience via the software’s GUI (graphic user interface). Since the power of programming and programming languages have evolved, the need for such a solution has since passed.

Today, you can achieve similar animations and interactivity in your website through the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. Of course, the barrier to entry is a bit higher, but the capabilities and ability to innovate is much greater.

How can I tell if my website is flash based?

There are many different ways to determine whether or not your website uses flash, here are a few to get you started…

Contact Bryt Designs (Let us do all the work!)

Being in the web design, development and SEO industry for over six years now, we’ve got the experience needed to do a complete website audit and determine whether or not your website utilizes flash media and how your website will react after the wave of Google checks has passed. We’re more than happy to do this free of charge — simply send us a message, and we’ll get back to you with a complete consultation on the state of your entire website!

DIY (If you think you’re up for the task!)

  1. To determine whether or not a media object on your website utilizes flash, right click on the media object. If the menu that appears lists out Flash-specific details (i.g. “Settings…”, “Debugger”, “About Flash Player…”) — this is a flash media object!
  2. To give your page a more comprehensive audit, right click anywhere outside a media object on the page and click “View Source” (on Chrome). Do a “content search” (typically something like “Control + F”) and search for the .swf file extension. Any media file with this .swf extension is a Flash media object and will no longer be accessible after the Google Chrome update.
Drop down menu to view page source
How to view the page source.

What can you do to prevent your website from becoming inaccessible?

Your first alternative (and probably most beneficial for your business if your website was built in the days of Flash) would be to completely redesign your website to the latest standards and practices of web development today. While it sounds like quite the undertaking, this definitely could be the boost your business needs to re-brand your online presence, show your clients recent updates and porfolio work, and improve your visibility to search engines and bring in more traffic ultimately leading to increased sales!

Fortunately, web design, development, and search engine optimization is what we do best — feel free to browse our design and search engine optimization services at your leisure. If you’re interested in working with us, or you simply have questions regarding your business and/or website — we’re happy to chat! Shoot us a message and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.

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Let’s get started on your new website today!

Another alternative to prevent your website from becoming inaccessible and losing search engine traffic would be to remedy the Flash issues your website currently has without completely redesigning the website. While this may not be the most effective approach, it is possible. In most cases, this will cost much less than developing a brand new website, but you run the risk of having to completely rework the updates at a future date (considering that if your website was built with Flash, it may have been built with the standards and practices from the website dinosaur era).

If this method seems like the best choice for your business, we’re happy to help you resolve any Flash issues your website may have, feel free to send us a message and we’ll get back to you with a consultation regarding your website update.

How long will this new website last me before the next website-breaking event occurs?

It’s really tough to say as the web development world and web technologies are constantly evolving — it all depends on how you approached the issue to remedy the Google-Flash problem. If you completely redesigned your website with the latest semantic coding practices and search engine optimization techniques, your website will probably last you for years to come. If you simply went through the website, removing and replacing any Flash-based media objects, chances are the rest of your website code and architecture will need an update to meet the standards of today’s web browsers.

While your website may look nice on your personal computer, you’ve got to realize that your website should not only be viewable/accessible from your computer, but from a variety of devices and browsers around the globe if you want your website to positively reflect your business online.

This means that you (or your hired development team) will need to ensure that they are staying up to date with the latest industry standards and are producing a product that will last over the lifetime of the ever-evolving web technologies and web browsers!

Have more to add about the Google Flash update? Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below!

Author
Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web enthusiast specializing in web design, development and online marketing. He is currently attending the fully-employed MBA program at the University of California, Irvine. Feel free to send Bryan a message here.