What’s Adobe Flash

Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video and interactivity to Web pages. Flash can be displayed on various computer systems using Adobe Flash Player.

The Adobe Flash Player plays the SWF and FLV format and is available free of charge for Web browsers and some mobile phones.

What’s SWF?

The SWF format (ShockWave Flash) is used to display animated vector graphics on the web. It’s a compiled Flash file that can be played by the Adobe Flash Player and can no longer be edited with Adobe Flash.

What’s the problem with Flash?

  • You need the Adobe Flash software to create an SWF file.
  • Adobe Flash is difficult to use and requires Action Script programming.
  • If your site visitors don’t have the Adobe Flash Player or they don’t have the proper Flash plug-in, they will not be able to see the animation.
  • Adobe Flash handles text poorly and is criticized due to the fact that it is not accessible for everyone. Apple for example no longer supports Flash on mobile devices.

What are the alternatives to Flash?

A new technology called HTML5 is now coming up. HTML5 doesn’t require a plug-in and it’s user friendlier. But the technology is still in its infancy and doesn’t work well with all browsers.

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What’s Wix.com ?

www.wix.com is a website creator which provides a simple drag & drop editor to create Flash and HTML websites, mobile sites and Facebook pages.

Promotional video from Wix on YouTube.

How it works

  1. Customize the design
    Once you have selected a design template from the template gallery, you can customize every design element within the template. Both, the Flash and the HTML5 editor allow you pixel perfect control of your design. You can edit design elements directly within the editor and add new page parts such as menus and buttons.
  2. Insert content
    You can drag and drop new elements on your site and place text, photos, maps, music and video files on your site as you like.
  3. Animate your site
    WIX makes it easy to add effects and animations to your pages. Click on an element and add the effect or animation you like. 
Use animations sparingly and take a look at How to use multimedia on the web.
  4. Make it search engine friendly
    Flash-based websites are usually not search engine friendly. This is why WIX.com puts an HTML code behind your Flash website, so the search engine crawlers can read your content. You can manage the keywords, descriptions and meta-tags for the search engines in the editor.
  5. Publish your site
    You will get an URL Wix.com/username/documentname. You can change the document name and your username. To use your own domain name you will have to update to a premium account.

Who’s behind WIX.com

WIX.com is a small but growing start-up based in New York, San Francisco and Tel-Aviv. It was founded in 2006. The founders solved their own challenge with Wix.com. They wanted a way to create high quality Flash websites and other web content in a faster, easier and more search engine friendly way. In 2012 Wix introduced the HTML5 editor. www.wix.com offers its own wiki, online video tutorials and webinars.

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What are multimedia features?

Photo gallery

Show your photos arranged in a nice-looking grid format.
Example

Slideshows

Combine your pictures with music and animate them in a slideshow.
Example

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Audio player

Add music, podcasts, or other audio files to your website.
Example: Pink Clouds Reprise Mix by Lasswell (4:23)

Video player

Upload videos and display them in a professional player or embed videos directly from video sharing websites such as http://www.youtube.com.
Example

Embedded documents

Embed already existing documents from script.com or other document sharing websites directly into your website for easy viewing.
Example: Invisible Alligators – Children’s book by Hayes Roberts

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How to provide animated content on a website

A Flash website provides graphic content with animation and pictures. It contains much less information content and focuses instead on the visual design experience.

Flash is a bandwidth friendly and browser independent vector-graphic animation technology. It works only if your client’s browser is equipped with the necessary Flash plug-in. Flash allows “pixel perfect” control over web design, including font specifications.

Go with a Flash website when:

  • You want to create a graphic design experience.
  • You want to create exactly the layout you like.
  • You want to have the control over the design and the font specifications.

Advantages

  • You can put animated and interactive movies on websites.
  • Content is displayed correctly for anyone who has the Flash plug-in.
  • Flash is operating system and browser independent.

Disadvantages

  • Updating the content usually requires Flash skills.
  • Embedded information is often invisible to search engines.
  • Flash plug-in for the browser required.
  • The browser must use the right version of the Flash player.
  • Some customers are immediately put off by a Flash website.
  • Web usability and standards are infringed.
  • Website reporting is problematic.
  • Apple no longer supports Flash for mobile devices.
  • The future of Flash is not clear: HTML5 could replace Flash.

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