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Author Topic: Does Flash or java make websites suck?  (Read 6534 times)
superboyac
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« on: September 06, 2010, 11:43:45 PM »

There's something about fancy websites with cool rollover effects and other animations that makes the website less easy to deal with.  For example, ESPN recently changed their website layout (again) and they went a little more serious with the flash.  Note, I'm assuming it's flash, it might be something else doing the animations...that's not really the point.  Anyway, now when you roll the mouse over some of the headings, a big ol sub-menu pops up underneath.  I don't mean a little drop down or anything...it's like a quarter of the page and has menus and pictures inside the freaking thing.  But it slows down the whole navigation by quite a bit.  First, you have to wait while the thinking wheel processes for a couple of seconds until the menu appears.  I just think it's a little out of control.  How does this help?  First, all these menus make it more confusing to navigate.  Secondly, it takes the user many more steps to find the desired link.  How is this an improvement?

But, strictly website design speaking, do these flash websites ruin the experience in your opinion?  it does to me.  Musicians' websites (and other artists) are the most guilty of this.  They use flash to create unique shapes and animations, but clicking around and finding things really sucks.
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EĆ³in
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 01:19:40 AM »

I would say over-zealous web-designers make website suck, and flash seems to be the tool of their choice.
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 03:58:29 AM »

I would say over-zealous web-designers make website suck, and flash seems to be the tool of their choice.

Absolutely this. Flash isn't inherently evil. I've seen some amazing things done with it. I've also seen a lot of terrible things done with it.

In that regard it's a lot like the internet itself. There are some really amazing, useful websites (like DC) but there are probably millions upon millions of total junk sites out there (3 or 4 of which are probably mine).
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 10:29:50 AM »

Flash and Java in and by itself doesn't make a website suck, but pointless use of it does. I've seen too many flash-based sites that were slow to load, hard to navigate decently (and impossible to bookmark subpages), et cetera.

I prefer if websites stick to standard html+javascript, flash if it make sense (usually limited to games tongue), and Java if required (for heavy-duty stuff like online banking digital signature verification... client-side ssl certs are nice, but not always enough IMHO).
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zridling
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 11:58:02 AM »

Depends. For the most part, Flash is overused and heavy on resources, making it terrible for mobile computing. If your site is built primarily on content -- even photographic content -- there should be little or no need for Flash. If it's built for gaming, video, or some other purpose, then it can make sense.

Obvious question: Why is everything Adobe does so fat and heavy-handed?
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 01:09:02 PM »

Obvious question: Why is everything Adobe does so fat and heavy-handed?
No idea.  I always ask this myself.  I assume it has something to do with being cross platform.  Once again, I'm no programmer, so these are just my observations based on a lot of experience.  To me, java and flash is normally slow and cumbersome.  Adobe applications always feel java-ish and slower, less responsive than you would like it to be.  Programs like mylife organized are really really zippy and fast.  All of mouser's stuff is fast. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 06:33:46 PM »

Depends. For the most part, Flash is overused and heavy on resources, making it terrible for mobile computing. If your site is built primarily on content -- even photographic content -- there should be little or no need for Flash. If it's built for gaming, video, or some other purpose, then it can make sense.

Obvious question: Why is everything Adobe does so fat and heavy-handed?

There is a madness to the method. smiley

* I assume that you are referring to Adobe Reader and Flash.

Adobe Reader is heavy in part because it's a platform and not *just* a program. The same holds true for Real Player, Internet Explorer, Quicktime, Microsoft Office, and Windows Media Player. They are platforms for developers to build on top of, and there's overhead for that.

But back to the topic at hand...

<rant>

There is little in this existence that can set me off into a raging fury of screaming profanity and obscenity like incompetent web designers/developers.

The barrier to entry for web development is extremely low, and that attracts a lot of people that simply don't know what they are doing. This ranges from tiny sites for Sally's doll collection all the way up to fortune 500 sites. Nothing is immune to idiocy on the web.

Ajax is great, but an entire site done in it? Good Lord!

Flash can do wonderful things, but chew up all your CPU for some silly navigation and a few banners?

JavaScript can be used for basic client side error checking... Not that anyone actually knows what that is until they've put a space in their telephone number or credit card number only to have to do it again, and again... This REALLY sets me off! It shows utter and complete incompetence and supreme idiocy. REGULAR EXPRESSIONS! USE THEM!

A lot of web design is done by marketing people that have no idea what they are doing beyond some basic usability and layout. They just don't understand how things are supposed to behave. They know that they need to be there, but as to what they are supposed to do? No clue.

PowerPoint presentations with wire frames and storyboards do not make great web sites.

Microsoft created the Expression series of programs to help make web design better. Hint. If you don't know what they heck you're doing, start using them. Your sites WILL be MUCH better!

If you need to do something complex in a web page... Hint... Choosing the right technology is a good first step. Silverlight is capable of complex operations that you simply cannot do in Flash. Developing a new skill set isn't a bad idea.

Flash is the lazy choice for lazy people. It's common. It's familiar. It's the default. It's usually the wrong choice when those are the reasons.

Flash uses an interpreted scripting language which is heavy and chews CPU. It's fine for simple things or for when you actually have real application software running in the browser. But if neither of those are true, then 10 browser windows all running crappy ActionScripts will grind your computer to a halt.

I get why Steve Jobs hates Flash so much, even though he's a total douche about it. I've never been a Flash fan simply because too much of the Flash out there is done very poorly. But it isn't the fault of Flash most of the time; it's the fault of poor design decisions. The problems are the people using Flash.

Use the right tool for the job. Please! Oh God! Save us from incompetent Flash developers and web design committees full of PowerPoint jockeys!

Grrrr...  Angry

</rant>

Java is rarely a problem on web sites because it's rarely used.
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 07:40:22 PM »

Um... Can I forward the above rant to the brass where I work so they stop bugging me about adding (read centering the page around) some silly-assed flash widget to the company website?
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Renegade
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2010, 07:44:17 PM »

Um... Can I forward the above rant to the brass where I work so they stop bugging me about adding (read centering the page around) some silly-assed flash widget to the company website?


Certainly!

Would you like me to redo it with all the profanity and obscenity that I really wanted to use? =p
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2010, 07:50:46 PM »

(Perhaps it's best not, but) Part of me want's to say yes Sooooo badly...

 cheesy
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J-Mac
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2010, 10:50:54 PM »

A big part of the problem is that some web developers seem to think that Flash is a great way to create web pages. I've seen entire sites of downloadable Flash web templates. Crazy.

Jim
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Renegade
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2010, 11:35:07 PM »

I think some high-end products/companies can get away with all Flash web sites. Gucci, Chanel, etc. But for most others? It's hard to justify. High fashion just seems to work well with Flash. Rendering in Flash is simply far better than what you get out of a browser.
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kartal
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2010, 11:51:08 PM »

My solution to snazzy website craze is to use text based browser like Elinks. Since I have started using it I waste less time in websites as well. If I am desperate adn need to see that flash site I use FF.
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Renegade
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2010, 11:57:36 PM »

My solution to snazzy website craze is to use text based browser like Elinks. Since I have started using it I waste less time in websites as well. If I am desperate adn need to see that flash site I use FF.

That's pretty hard core. I could never get used to Lynx or anything like it.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2010, 12:41:31 AM »

My solution to snazzy website craze is to use text based browser like Elinks. Since I have started using it I waste less time in websites as well. If I am desperate adn need to see that flash site I use FF.

That's pretty hard core. I could never get used to Lynx or anything like it.

Heck, I got very used to all of the text browsers - until graphical browsers were born! Let's face it: When it was all that was available and no one had seen any real graphical browsers, then the text browsers were pretty damn awesome!

Jim
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2010, 07:46:21 AM »

Adobe Reader is heavy in part because it's a platform and not *just* a program. The same holds true for Real Player, Internet Explorer, Quicktime, Microsoft Office, and Windows Media Player. They are platforms for developers to build on top of, and there's overhead for that.
Perhaps that's why I no longer use any of the above except perhaps, occasionally, Quicktime.  I've replaced Adobe Reader with PDF-XChange Viewer (thanks to Gizmo's freeware ratings), I've replaced MS Office with SoftMaker Office (thanks to Neat Net Tricks software review), never use Internet Explorer unless absolutely necessary (prefer Firefox and Opera), and also have alternatives for Real Player and Windows Media Player.

The sites I get annoyed with most often are restaurant sites.  When I go to a restaurant site, I generally want information: what's on the menu, what does it cost, where is the restaurant located, when is it open, etc.  The one question I never ask is how much of a showoff is its web designer, but most of the time, that's the question that gets answered first, at the expense of all the stuff I want to know.   thumb down
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Renegade
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2010, 07:57:54 PM »

Adobe Reader is heavy in part because it's a platform and not *just* a program. The same holds true for Real Player, Internet Explorer, Quicktime, Microsoft Office, and Windows Media Player. They are platforms for developers to build on top of, and there's overhead for that.
Perhaps that's why I no longer use any of the above except perhaps, occasionally, Quicktime.  I've replaced Adobe Reader with PDF-XChange Viewer (thanks to Gizmo's freeware ratings), I've replaced MS Office with SoftMaker Office (thanks to Neat Net Tricks software review), never use Internet Explorer unless absolutely necessary (prefer Firefox and Opera), and also have alternatives for Real Player and Windows Media Player.

The sites I get annoyed with most often are restaurant sites.  When I go to a restaurant site, I generally want information: what's on the menu, what does it cost, where is the restaurant located, when is it open, etc.  The one question I never ask is how much of a showoff is its web designer, but most of the time, that's the question that gets answered first, at the expense of all the stuff I want to know.   thumb down

I think lack of information/organization is a problem at most sites.

Even for most products you buy, they don't contain enough information to make an informed decision. Just check your phone (or some phone) and find out some details about it at the manufacturer site. You can't. They aren't there. What software is included with the phone? What's the CPU? RAM? Storage? Is device storage shared with SMS? What's the limit before SMS messages are rejected? Sure it has a web browser, but what are the limitations on it? Silverlight? Flash? Java? ActiveX? etc. etc. etc.

Even the absolute most basic things can't get done right. Check the expiry date on ANY product. Ahem... 10/09/08 is not informative. ISO date formats are informative. Even then, is the date of expiry inclusive or exclusive? It matters for short expiry dates like bread and dairy products.

You can apply that same basic principle to almost anything at the consumer level. It changes at the industrial level though. Still, consumers are left in the dark.

We are all mushrooms!
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« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2010, 08:50:29 PM »

I think lack of information/organization is a problem at most sites.
Yes, I agree that this is a problem on many sites, but I was focusing on sites where Flash and/or java were a large part of the problem, and all too many high falutin' restaurant sites seem to be good examples. 
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« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2010, 11:47:25 PM »

I think lack of information/organization is a problem at most sites.
Yes, I agree that this is a problem on many sites, but I was focusing on sites where Flash and/or java were a large part of the problem, and all too many high falutin' restaurant sites seem to be good examples. 

e.g. The local Dominoes Pizza site is all Flash... And unusable. You have to enter credit card information BEFORE you can see the menu... Ahem... Idiocy piled upon idiocy.

And... to top it all off... the front page now plays a loud video right off the bat...

Hopeless...
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2010, 01:12:37 AM »

e.g. The local Dominoes Pizza site is all Flash... And unusable.

That's OK because the pizzas could be classed as inedible cheesy
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2010, 09:08:10 AM »

Websites which don't have to tell me anything without me having Flash or Java enabled are not worth a click.
I neither have Java nor Flash plug-ins installed, I just don't need them on teh interwebz.
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« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2010, 10:10:08 AM »

When I was at work, I used to check industry web sites using WebSite-Watcher.  I hated all-Flash sites because WSW couldn't see differences in them, if any.  I had lots to do, limited time to do it, and rarely any inherent interest in the sites.  Flash became a block to information transfer.
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« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2010, 06:11:58 PM »

I think lack of information/organization is a problem at most sites.
Yes, I agree that this is a problem on many sites, but I was focusing on sites where Flash and/or java were a large part of the problem, and all too many high falutin' restaurant sites seem to be good examples. 

e.g. The local Dominoes Pizza site is all Flash... And unusable. You have to enter credit card information BEFORE you can see the menu... Ahem... Idiocy piled upon idiocy.

And... to top it all off... the front page now plays a loud video right off the bat...

try acessing these sights on dialup - I understand that broadband is almost de-facto, but if I have to wait 10 minutes for every page to load (or even worse, a banner to load before I can even enter a site), I'm gone and they've lost my business.

I don't pretend to be an expert, but any of the web learning I've done emphasised that you should consider your audience (ALL of them).  Sadly this does't seem to be a consideration these days...
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2010, 08:09:14 AM »

I had a rant about this issue earlier. Unfortunately, it's in Turkish. And saying Google translate sucks in Turkish to English translations would be a compliment.

I can perhaps put up a quick summary of the points I consider evil about flash:

1. Web is about accessing information. Flash does not facilitate access to information. Its primary function is providing bells and whistles.

2. Flash sites, with few exceptions, are slow and bandwidth-consuming. Loading a full site for getting just a phone number is torture. Some flash designers can overcome this issue by dividing the sites into individually loaded segments, but they are rather in a very small minority.

3. Flash (and javascript to an extent) affords the designer extensive freedom. Freedom is generally a good thing. But freedom of designers to impose style choices to affect YOUR screen... Is it necessary?

4. Text on flash sites are not indexed in search engines. Why on earth would someone put a text on the web, and not want it to appear on google? That I don't know.

5. Flash sites disable or alter some basic functions of your browser. For instance, back and forward buttons do not work in the way you'd expect. Middle and right mouse buttons would cease to exist for all practical purposes. You use CTRL-F to search for a phrase on a page? Good luck with that.

6. Fixed fonts on flash sites designed by 20-something web designers are usually a torture tool against older people. Compare CTRL-NumPadPlus on HTML and flash sites.

7. Flash sites eat up more ram and cpu cycles than necessary to accomplish their functions. Especially older computers suffer from excessive resource consumption of flash sites. And also in this vein, more cpu cycles=more carbon footprint... Negligibly small for a single site you might say, but on the whole is it necessary to burn more electricity for just an alternative way of presenting data?

8. Smartphones in general and iphone in particular are helpless at flash pages.

9. Flash sites are noisy. I have winamp to play sounds on my computer. I don't want firefox, excel, 3ds max, filezilla or notepad2 to make noise, to play music, or to make any sound at all, except for cases I specifically ask them to. Yes those shitty intro pages are just pure evil.

10. Flash sites make it impossible to customize the look of pages using Greasemonkey scripts or add-ons like Customize Your Web.

What to do then? First, use Flashblock. Another happy add-on in this respect is YesScript.

Secondly, despise flash sites publicly. In the counter-enlightenment era we live in, people are not encouraged to use their brains much, so you will have to make them aware to the fact that Flash is not a natural occurence, and it is avoidable evil.

Edited point 7 a bit, with the carbon footprint issue.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 02:03:21 PM by eleman » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2010, 09:08:02 AM »

"counter-enlightenment" -- I like that!  Cool
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