Should I Make a Flash Site? Flash Website Flowchart.

One of the most common questions that I get asked by web designers and web site owners is whether or not they should create all flash websites. The process of making the decision about flash web sites for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes is actually quite difficult, so I took the time to create a flow chart on whether or not you should create an all flash web site.

Flash Website Flowchart

As you can see, it gets pretty complicated, but hopefully you can apply this flash website flowchart the next time you are trying to decide whether or not you should create a flash web site.

No tags for this post.


  1. Brian Garzia
    May 5, 2008

    What I do is if I really have to make a website in flash, I *always* make a quick HTML version to improve accessability. If you make changes to your flash file often I suggest using something like the Flash Probe http:///

    which spits out the text from your flash file in seconds and you can quickly update your HTML version to keep it coherent

  2. Chris Howard
    May 10, 2008

    I thought like Andy (28-March-08) until recently. I hated anything to do with Flash on websites. I’d never seen a website use Flash well. They are all either fancy (and often annoying) animations, or Flash for the sake of it. To use a tacky buzzword, none of them value-added to the website experience

    But last week I saw and I was evangelized instantly.

    Although there are a couple of interface issues, in designing a website wholly in Flash, Seymour-Powell is Flash done right.

  3. Chris Howard
    May 11, 2008

    I used to think like Andy (March 28th). I’d never seen a Flash-based site that made me want to make one. Instead, they all turned me off Flash. They all seem to be about showing off fancy animations.

    Come on! Studies as long ago as the mid ’80s found people don’t like things flashing about on their screens, unless they ask for it. If people did like that sort of thing, the HTML blink command would be everyone’s favourite.

    But I did say “I used to…”

    That’s because last week I found a website that totally changed my view on Flash-based websites.

    That site is

    This is a site that is Flash done right. There are almost no automatic animations. Almost everything is static until you activate it. The exception is the “The Company” page, were images gracefully drift onto the right of the page. And the way it is done provides the least distraction and aggravation from an animation.

    In fact, that is another secret of the Seymour-Powell site. All the animations, when you do activate them, are elegant, graceful and understated.

    This is a site that makes me want to learn how to build Flash-based sites. And I never thought I’d say that!

    Flash doesn’t have to be flashy. In fact it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t assault the senses.

    Go have a look at Seymour-Powell to see how Flash should be done.

  4. Chris Howard
    May 11, 2008

    oops! Excuse the double-up. The first didn’t show up, so tried again. Turned out to be in moderation. 🙂

  5. Chinese SEO Expert
    May 20, 2008

    Flash does add some value for the website. As web desginer or SEO person, you just need to work a little bit hard to make your flash website to become search engine friendly.

  6. Demo
    May 27, 2008

    It sucks……..

  7. evideus
    Jun 20, 2008

    i have a sense of humor, but this is not funny, it’s stupid

  8. mike
    Jul 3, 2008

    Soooooooo out of date, and this was closed

    Editor’s Note: Just because Google can spider Flash better now does not mean you should build a website it it. Google can spider PDF’s as well. Would you ever consider creating an entire website in PDF?

  9. ajax
    Jul 8, 2008

    This joke is out of date and perpetuates a myth peddled by know nothings… Any decent flash website should have alternative html content which is spiderable.

    humourless flash designer

    Author Note: “All Flash Website”. I believe if your website has both Flash and alternative HTML, that it is not an “All Flash Website”

  10. ParadigmSoul
    Jul 27, 2008

    You guys are all retarded. If your client doesn’t give a shit about SEO and wants a kickass looking website then by all means go all the way with flash…If it is imperative that they reach the top ranking in the major search engines then use the tools to make that happen. But this argument is as stupid as “What’s better PC or Mac” or “Film or Digital.”. If everyone would stop being purests and understand there is a reason for each of these tools then we can just work towards making all the tools better. You have a screw driver and I have a wrench, how are we going to attach these 2 pieces of wood together, with a bolt or a screw? WHO FUCKING CARES!!! Just attach the pieces together while adhering to the specifications of your client. Programmers and Designers are the same, you’re all a bunch of fucking losers that think that your way is the only way. Grow up. And by the way the best looking, and most entertaining websites out there are in flash and you don’t see any of the big boys like car manufacturers, photographers, fashion designers, film companies, soda pop companies, the military, shoe companies, etc. bitching about their awesome “flash only” websites. In fact they pay mucho dolars for them. Just check out the FWA ( to see some of the best sites on line. Once again that doesn’t mean that Flash is better, just different…DEAL WITH IT!

    Author Note: Wow, someone has a chip on their shoulder. Look, I have been around flash a lot longer than you have. I was working with “flash” when it was just shockwave and lingo (when it camed bundled with X-Res, etc.). There is nothing wrong with websites that primarily have a flash-driven interface, however every one of those sites ought to have a text/html verions – whether that be for accesibility purposes or for Search Engines.

  11. rybaxs
    Aug 14, 2008


  12. Adam Khan
    Aug 20, 2008

    Not everyone has the time or bandwidth to waste loading flash, and people online are generally looking for content, rather than entertainment. They want something USEFUL.

    Editor Note Then spend a little extra time and find a site that provides you that information for free. You might as well say, “Not everyone has the time to stop and pay at the cashier.”

  13. Rob Oresteen
    Aug 23, 2008

    I give you points for humor but none for common sense.

    A quick SEO review: web pages get ranked by either on-page or off-factors.

    1. On Page: text content, titles, some Meta tags.

    2. Off-Page: links in general pointing to a page or home page, links with targeted anchor text, social media site’s links, video imbeded description links hosted at sites like YouTube, Google, Meta Cafe, etc.

    On page html ranks for about 5% to 10% of any given SEO ranking. Off page links account for 90% to 95% of any SEO. The more competitive the keyword term, the more or better quality links are needed to rank for page one on Google of any given search term(s).

    A quick example is to search the term “click here” in Google. http://www.adobe comes up #1. Yet, there is no html on that page that says “click here”. Yet there are 1,000’s of links that point to Adobe with the anchor text, “click here”.

    Html can be copied, links are another thing. Any on-page factor can be changed, improved, & manipulated by the web master. Links, need the approval and effort of many web masters.

    So it is possible and common to have Flash based web sites/pages rank #1 in Google. Many photography based flash web sites enjoy either #1 or page 1 rankings for their respective terms.

    Hybrid: make your home page or splash page html complete with H1 keywords, keyword text, etc. Have a big button pointing to the rest of your site – or – embed your Flash template on top of html (encased in a div or table). You can add all the on-page SEO you need and still have a Flash based site if that’s what you want.

  14. Intfocus
    Oct 10, 2008

    I agree that flash has a time and place and should be used sparingly at best.

    In response to some of the comments above; I believe that it is the responsibility of all web designers to educate their clients on the right platform to use for their website. If I went to a builder and said, I want to build a house without a roof so that I can see the stars at night, I would be told that it would be against building regulations, not to mention open for anyone to scale the walls or birds to fly in and shit everywhere.

    It is your responsibility as a designer to provide the regulations and guide your clients to the best possible solution. How can you call yourself a professional if all you do is follow the instructions of someone who doesn’t have a clue? That’s idiocy!

    My feeling is this:

    Flash websites are like brand marketing; great for large national or multinational corporations that are recognized in the broader community, but terrible for a small/medium business trying to increase their exposure.

    You may disagree with me, but we’ll see who is still in business in 5 years won’t we?

  15. Product Design
    Oct 20, 2008

    I kinda agree with intfocus because at the moment it is difficult to optimise for search engines. Lack on textual content make it difficult to emphasis to search engine to context of the page and focus it towards specific areas.

    That being said search engine are becoming more clever by the day and we are already seeing search engines being to index and list flash content.

    It is only a matter of time before search engines can crawl and list Flash based sites as easy as conventional sites. It will happen on day!

    Also check out Microsofts Silverlight. Apparently is easier to optimise that Flash.

  16. kevinseo
    Nov 14, 2008

    google have difficult to index the text in a flash, I guess it’s a bad idea to use flash as your whole website.

  17. Purple Widget
    Nov 21, 2008

    The headline “Google now read Flash” has been a huge step backwards for the SEO’s fighting the good fight and finally starting to win lately….

  18. matt
    Dec 12, 2008

    hahaha. Thats why companies like Disney have full flash sites and have absolutely no problem with SEO

    Editor Note: You mean like how they rank #6 for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Google. Looks to me like they have an SEO problem.
  19. Search Engine Ranking
    Jan 8, 2009

    Too funny, I was looking for a good reference for my on going argument about flash Know I have a nice chart to refer some one too…

  20. jas
    Feb 1, 2009

    flash is intrusive and ugly, even though it has it’s place on the web at times.

    that place however is not everywhere and everytime.

  21. jacob
    Feb 19, 2009

    Beautiful. Simply beatiful.

  22. Malcolm Reding
    Jul 5, 2009

    That’s too complicated for my overeducated mind.

  23. David
    Jul 31, 2009

    Using flash is good for some applications but not all. The bad thing about flash is that cross platforming between file types is not very easy like say using dreamweaver. The best way to build a website is to build it in dreamweaver. Then if you want flash throw it on a table or make a whole new page. Then you have the best of both worlds. Don’t ever box yourself up by deciding to build something with one tool.

  24. Computersade
    Sep 24, 2009

    Laugh! This is excellent and still true today.

    I like Flash. Don’t get me wrong but 100% Flash just doesn’t cut it.

    There have been two people in this ‘conversation’ who tried to increase the hit count by posting their websites and I must admit I did take a peak.

    Both very nice sites – the flash animations are very impressive and slick.

    Shame they don’t look so good on my iPhone.

    Worst still, one of them didn’t display at all but just told me to get Flash! (Naming no names but in this case ‘Seymour’ was ‘See less’)

    Great Blog. Keep up the good work.

  25. Nicholas
    Nov 27, 2009

    Wow. Settle down guys. Anything goes. SEO is really important, but there’s no problem with all-Flash if the project warrants it and you know how to use it.

    100% Flash sites work great as micro sites to advertise products by companies who already have search friendly websites.

    Even if this is NOT the case, make an HTML version of the site and use swfObect to replace your index page markup with your all-Flash website. The site becomes searchable and will work on iPhones and etc.

    Just a Note: If you create an HTML version and merely hide it with swfObject, it is no longer an “all flash site”. It is two sites.
  26. none
    Dec 10, 2009

    My all-flash site gets better rankings.. being #1 over the other dudes for the words i want.

  27. Seo Optimization
    Dec 15, 2009

    in my point of view that flash content is fundamentally different from HTML on webpage URLs, and being able to parse links in the Flash code and text snippets does not make Flash search-engine friendly.

  28. Jan Bilek
    Jan 8, 2010

    WOW – this is great:-)
    Please can I translate that flowchart to Czech and use it on my blog? Of course that I will link back to your blog and give you the credit.

  29. the birdie
    Feb 4, 2010

    Awesome! Even better if you would have made the flow chart in flash. lol.

  30. Bahahahah
    Feb 17, 2010

    Flash, it’s like the animated GIFs of the late 90s.

  31. IVT
    Apr 6, 2010

    WAKE UP 🙂
    Well, for web applications (not sites) the new standard is Flash and will be Flash. One may stick to use three descriptive languages (html, css, javascript) working differently at each platform with many headaches, or use a single solution like flash which can present ideas in 3D in an environment where standard browsers even can not natively draw lines or curves (you can kick your guts and write a javascript for drawing but this is not native support eh?).
    Flash 8 is history.
    Beginning from Flash 9, it contains a very VERY powerfull scripting language named Action Script 3 (AS3) with amazing libraries. Actually people in adobe themselves are nowadays trying to put restrictions to the network access capabilities of it. They’ve created THE monster.
    Google NOW can index swf content, dynamic loaded swf content into a swf, dynamic loaded data to swf etc. So check it out [Or keep saying flash is animated gif and browse web with mechanic calculators].
    Now we have the opportunity to build an application specific browser in browser which works almost everywhere (except the stone age things like lynx well lynx serves something else anyway) .
    So believe or not… That flowchart is out of date…

  32. IVT
    Apr 6, 2010

    Additional Notes:
    1) Good programmers make efficient short codes and data formats which can be loaded fast. Big chunks mean lausy programming in general.

    2) For the unlucky minority which does not have flash support in their browsers…Well what the? That is all free stuff. Use a firewall or vm and enter the web like that. Cease the paranoia.

    3)Considering the impaired, a correctly built flash application SHOULD use accessibility libraries (which are built in).

  33. João Leitão
    Jun 18, 2010

    haha nice way to explain how a website shouldn’t be done in Flash. thank you, greetings from Sahara Desert!

  34. DumDum
    Jun 23, 2010

    U all r tupid

  35. Chris Goward
    Jul 11, 2010

    Good post! There’s quite a discussion about the merits of Flash site design here too:

  36. Brent Gockerell
    Sep 11, 2010

    Nice Post..!

  37. Shingetsu
    Oct 10, 2010

    But true.
    I was thinking of it… But CS5 is expensive…
    And i can’t find any DESCENT open source flash compilers… so yeah

    body {
    text-color:grey }


  38. watch
    Oct 23, 2010

    come true.

  39. Simon Miskimmin
    Nov 6, 2010

    Brilliant! I’m not sure what is funnier, the chart or the comments below it, epecially from the Flash guys, they rise to the bait in a……..flash. Sorry, could not resist!

  40. Megan
    Feb 20, 2011

    Flash no longer has an SEO issue for those who know how to use it… as (No.1) Flash is HTML based and offers comprehensive SEO solutions. It requires a different approach than pure HTML but it’s rather easy to make your Flash site highly visible online. (No. 2) All major browsers can easily display Flash content. (No. 3) Flash offers the absolute best ways to interest your viewers (and keep them interested) unlike pure, limited HTML or slow running JAVA. and (No. 4) Many major companies have created their web sites almost entirely in Flash due to it’s vast versatility such as YouTube and Facebook.

    It is difficult to master much of Flash… but if it was easy, every webhead would be doing it. Flash software is designed for the true DESIGNER. Not the wannabees (like most of the comments on this page) or the programmer.

  41. Ian
    Apr 1, 2011

    What about Steve Job’s. He said flash is bad so, you know.

  42. Mark @ Blue Orange
    Oct 24, 2011

    I would advise against using a purely flash based site, but it’s not so bad in google’s eyes now. Also you’ve got to remember that flash is based on html so can certainly be ‘seo’d’ so to speak.

  43. Great sense of humor! It is quite clear that people still creating websites in flash are living in the dark ages.
    But I am sure there are still some cave men out there who are doing this.


  1. Web design: A Flash-based website done right. Finally! · The Qwertyrash Blogs - [...] repeating what I wrote on The Google Cache about Adobe Flash and using it to make [...]
  2. Flash se vuelve más indexable - [...] Imagen por Google Cache. [...]
  3. Breaking Rules | Clarinova Retail -- Comprehensive Online Apparel Marketing - [...] The same ethic applies to SEO: if you want consumers to find you, know the rules before you get…
  4. A day in the limelight « Angry 365 Days a Year - [...] original idea for a joke.  One person in particular was obsessed that I’d ripped of this blog post (referring…
  5. Importance of website navigation & page design « DAVID GIBBS - [...] Image courtesy of ( [...]
  6. Flowchart To Help Decide When To Use Flash - [...] Link: Should I Make a Flash Site? Flash Website Flowchart. [...]
  7. SEO considerations for a Flash website | Darren Beale - [...] the link and check out the illustration. As you can see, it gets pretty complicated, but hopefully you can…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *