Flash free

Not all browsers support or are configured to allow Flash, therefore providing a Flash free alternative could be considered a "Must". This is especially so now as Adobe themselves have announced the end of Flash on many mobile platforms.

(Note - this post was written before the decline in Flash usage - but surprisingly - there are still many companies building flash only sites)

There's the obvious newsworthy item that the iPad doesn't support Flash but there are also plugins and settings that will actively block Flash in the browser. That's bad news if your entire site is developed in Flash.

HTML5 is now on the block and very capable of doing the things that Flash became famous for.

How to test for Flash
An easy way to test with no Flash is to download one of the Firefox plugins, like Flash Block, and then use the site/application.

The image below shows a well know car brands website with flash blocked. In this example it’s blocked the entire page pretty much. There's very little reason to hang around on this site. Is this the result you want for your end users?

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I always work on the simple assumption that I should still be able to perform the main capabilities intended by the site with Flash blocked. (Unless of course the goal of the site is to showcase how flashy your flash is)

If your site must be Flash for reasons other than to showcase your Flash skills then a question a Tester must ask is “have we chosen the right technology?"

Have you essentially ignored an entire section of your potential market by choosing to use Flash on your site?

Useful Hint
If you use the Flash block extension for Firefox then visit the preference page to change the settings as it now also supports the blocking of Silverlight, Microsoft’s framework for rich media experience (i.e. – alternative to Flash).

Useful Links
Flash Block - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/flashblock/

Flash and why you shouldn’t use it - http://dynamicwebs.com.au/weblog/?p=33

Flash 99% Bad - http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html

When and where to use Flash - http://www.businessknowhow.com/internet/flash.htm



If you’re interested in a career in Software Testing then check out my book Remaining Relevant And Employable (Tester’s Edition) - it’s packed full of ideas about writing good CVs, communicating your value to employers and doing well in an interview.