Since we observed a few weeks ago that architects were suffering from the Flash bug, one perfectly healthy HTML site seems to have been infected.
In the article “Flash blindness” I revealed that many architects’ websites were based entirely on Flash. A feature in Building a few weeks later discussed the fact that although this technology can make a site more engaging, it can cause problems for users with disabilities and prevent effective use of search engines .
It seems that since then, one architect has redesigned its website – but not as we would have hoped. When the survey was conducted Carey Jones was one of the 25 architects that had HTML-based sites. Ranked at 19, the site had its problems: it scored badly on functional and accessibility tests, and used a ridiculously small font size. On the other hand, it had many positive qualities: contact information for the firm was readily available, and its search facility and central content layout made it easy to navigate.
On 31 March the practice launched a new website. Unfortunately, it appears to have caught the Flash bug and, as such, disqualified itself from our survey altogether. The site looks nice, but the only apparent use the company has made of Flash is on the loading indicator and the fade-in of each page. The good elements of the old site have been abandoned – there’s no search facility and the main text is squeezed into a small box in the bottom right side of the screen.
Flash is a fantastic technology that can bring a website to life through video and animation, but it should be used sparingly. The main body and content of the site should be written in HTML, the native language of the web. It is worth noting that this is a balance which Adobe, the vendor of Flash, achieves on its own website.
Martin Hornagold is the managing director of business consultant the Marstan Group