Do Website That Still Use Flash Need to Make a Change?

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Adobe Systems Incorporated

Tere was a time when Flash was the hottest approach to websites, but that day has long since passed. Today, technologies like HTML5, canvas, and responsive web design have become industry standards, while Flash has become an often embarrassing relic of a past age in website design.

Do you need to stop using Flash on your website? In a word…YES. If your website is still using Adobe Flash for parts, or even all of that site, you absolutely need to transition away from that platform. 

Let’s take a look at three key reasons why you need to move from Flash if you have not done so already.

Lack of Device Support

The first nail in Flash’s coffin came all the way back in October 2010 when Apple announced that it would no longer install Flash by default on its computers. Apple would eventually take an ever stronger stand against Flash, dropping support for it all together on the iPhone and the iPad. With the popularity of those devices, both back then and today, this lack of support was a major blow for Flash. 

Despite the absence of support for Flash in these major devices, not all companies moved away from this platform right away. Many companies stuck with Flash, at least until their website was at the end of its life and in need of a redesign (most of those companies wisely elected to eliminate Flash from their newly designed sites).

Today, there are significantly fewer websites that use Flash, but that does not mean that it is gone altogether. In fact, some very large, popular sites still use Flash in some way, including Hulu, CNN, the New York Times, Fox News,, and Starbucks. Most sites that still use some Flash content have a fallback for browsers that do not support this software any longer, but we are entering a time where it will not only be iPhones and iPads that lack support for Flash. If you want your site to reach the widest audience of people on the widest range of devices, you must move away from Flash content on that site.

Dwindling Web Browser Support

Flash has long been known to cause computer crashes while also being a notorious resource hog. This means that it can slow down browsers and give people a poor experience. Additionally, it has also become clear that Flash can act as a fertile platform from which many hackers can launch attacks. This combination of factors has caused many browser manufacturers to rethink their support for this software.

Calls For The End of Flash

Alex Stamos, the top security officer at Facebook, has called for Adobe to set an “end of life date” for Flash. This request to sunset Flash is one that many other security experts have echoed, giving browsers manufactures even more reason to discontinue support.

Even if browsers do not drop support for Flash immediately, the reality is that the security concerns of this plugin have caused many people to manually disable it in their browsers, which means that they will not see your site’s Flash content even if the browser that they are using technically supports it. The bottom line is that devices manufacture, browser companies, security and web experts, and the general web browsing public are all moving far away from Flash. It’s time that you and your site follow suit.

Next Steps

If your website uses Flash for simple animation effects, like a homepage carousel, then it is a pretty simple move to replace that content with an alternative that uses Javascript. You may also decide to eschew that animated content altogether, which can significantly improve the download performance of that page.

If your website uses Flash for an important feature or application, then the move away from this dependency may be a much bigger task. Still, it is no longer a matter of IF browsers will stop supporting Flash in the future, it is now a matter of WHEN they will do so, which means you need to take steps now if you want your site to be usable for the widest range of people in the future.

Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/24/17