If you’re looking to make your website stand out but you reached your limits at HTML coding, then your best bet is to hire a talented flash developer.
Flash is the platform of choice for multimedia online and it’s rare to find a popular website that doesn’t make some use of the software. It’s behind almost every online video service, from YouTube to the BBC’s iPlayer and it’s what makes most of Facebook’s fancier features possible. Even simple display advertisements make use of flash for their animated features.
Without a doubt, Flash is the most popular multimedia platform online. It has an overwhelming market dominance for web browser plug ins; in 2009, web statistics from Data Owl estimated that around 95% of desktop computers have flash support installed. If Adobe is to be believed this statistic is even higher – they claim that 98% of US users and 99.3% of the worldwide total have the flash player installed. They even go so far as to claim that 92%-95% of these users have the very latest version installed, something incomparable in plug-in software.
The secret to the success of Flash has been its universal compatibility – and its free availability. Whilst a flash developer will have paid for a licensed version of the creation tools and software suite, to view these files all you need to do is download the flash player plug-in. Since this is supported by Windows, Mac, Linux and dozens of other operating systems, media created in Flash has a huge reach in the market. It’s even available in ‘lite’ form for embedded systems, making it a popular tool for touch-screen devices – and in recent years, for the burgeoning smartphone market.
A talented flash developer can do many, many things with the software. Far beyond simply animating text or streaming audio and video, Flash can be used to create content entirely from scratch as well as integrating it into HTML web pages. It can dynamically animate images to create smooth animations without hogging bandwidth and resources; it can be used to create interactive user interfaces (forms, message boards, comments sections, etc); it can even be used to create online games – and users can even save their game using tracking cookies smaller than a megabyte.
However, the real value of Flash is extremely hard to explain without digressing into very technical terms. Basically, its behind some of the most engaging websites on the internet and its the most popular multimedia format out there. Whilst a range of plug-n-play features are available online, these tend to make your site appear even more uniform than it did without it – and they still need to be implemented carefully or their code can mess up the structure of your website completely.
Unless you understand the difference between vector graphics and raster graphics and you’re a dab hand with XML libraries and fully fluent in ActionScript 2.0, the chances are that you won’t be able to craft your own bespoke flash pieces. The question is can you really afford to have nothing but plain text and images on your site?