Avoid Flash so smartphone users can see your site

Published Friday, April 13, 2012 in the Sacramento Business Journal

With more than 82.2 million smartphone users, it’s time to join the mobile revolution

Premium content from Sacramento Business Journal by Debi Hammond, Contributing Writer


Businesses large and small dedicate significant marketing dollars to drive customers to their websites. Increasingly it is becoming a consumer’s first step in their buying decisions.

However, as consumer behavior continues to evolve, and more and more consumers transition from desktop and laptop computers to mobile devices, many companies are losing out on the opportunity to capture customers and promote their brands because their websites are not optimized for mobile devices — in fact their websites might not be visible to mobile devices at all.

According to the latest report from comScore, there are 82.2 million smartphone owners in the United States. In fact, there is a 70 percent chance you’re carrying around either an iPhone or an Android-powered phone right now.

Although Google’s Android platform can view websites built in Adobe Flash, Apple’s operating system, or iOS, cannot. That means that if your website is built in Flash or you use Flash components, your website is invisible on devices using iOS.

Given Apple’s success and growing influence in the marketplace, this is an audience you do not want to ignore.

Not only are consumers increasingly using the Internet as a research tool to make informed purchases, actual online shopping has grown exponentially over the last decade. Online retail sales continue to grow each year, and a five-year forecast released by Forrester Research projects e-commerce sales will represent 8 percent of all retail sales (amounting to $248.7 billion of market share) in the U.S. by 2014.

Given that company websites are such an important part of the sales process, here are two basic questions you should ask yourself to ensure your website is visible to the growing population using mobile technology.

A screen capture of our website taken from an iPad.

First, is your website built with Flash?

Chances are, if you were seeking a visually appealing website and your site was built more than five years ago, it’s likely built in Flash.

Flash technology was commonly utilized because it is a great program allowing for visual and branding control. It provides smooth transitions of imagery and a seamless and beautiful presentation of Web content, i.e. imagery, fonts, movement, etc.

However, a site built with Flash is not visible to Apple’s operating system — meaning anyone using an iPhone or iPad cannot see your website —they will simply see a blank page.

Second, is your website built with any Flash components?

If any part of your site is built with Flash, then that particular component will not be visible via Apple’s mobile devices.

Many companies have rotating images and other critical branding elements built in Flash and should be converted to other technologies — such as CSS or JavaScript — that are both searchable via the Web and visible via mobile iOS users.

If your site uses Flash in any way, the next question to ask yourself is when are you planning to convert or optimize your website for today’s mobile environment?

More companies are investing significant marketing dollars to drive traffic to their websites, and more than 183 million iPhones and 55 million iPads have sold in the U.S. alone. Make sure that massive segment of mobile users can browse and buy from your site.

Copyright Sacramento Business Journal

Join the conversation

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

Pin It on Pinterest