The introduction of Macromedia Flash into an already interactivity-ready
scene has changed the face of the Web, giving new power to designers
and media creators, and offering new interactivity features to users.
Macromedia Flash is a robust graphics animation program used to create
and deliver dynamic content and interactive applications to the web.
Many graphic artists use Flash because it gives them exact control
over every part of the design, and anything can be animated and generally
"jazzed up." Some application designers enjoy flash because it lets
them create applications that don't have to be refreshed or go to
a new web page every time an action occurs. There are many sites which
forego HTML entirely for Flash.
Flash detractors claim that Flash websites tend to be poorly designed,
and often use confusing and non-standard user-interfaces. Up until
recently, search engines have been unable to index Flash pages, which
has prevented stores from having their products easily found. Also
Flash websites cannot take into account many usability features, such
as respecting the browser's font size and allowing deep-linking, and
they outright fail any accessibility tests for blind users using screen
readers. Although Macromedia has addressed these long-standing problems
in the latest incarnation of Flash, it has yet to be seen whether
it will lure over stalwart designers.
The final consensus is that Flash is simply a tool, and like all tools
it takes a skillful craftsperson to know when, and how, to use it
properly. Macromedia's other two products, Fireworks and Dreamweaver,
makes Flash integration with graphics and HTML a lot easier.
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