At the beginning of November 2010, I removed Flash from all the Macs I use on a daily basis (I documented my going Flash-free here, here & here). The only exception has been the Flash plug-in inside Google Chrome, which I kept on my MacBook Pro for the occasional ‘just in case’ scenario.
I’ve never been a fan of Flash, yet at first its removal — as opposed to using Flash-blocking tools such as ClickToFlash — seemed a bit excessive. “What if I can’t access certain content on a website because it’s in Flash?”, I thought. My fears didn’t last much, though, and not because I had left a bit of a safety net by not deleting the Flash plug-in inside Chrome.
I don’t know whether my natural attraction to well-designed websites has always conditioned my browsing, but the fact is that I soon discovered I didn’t have one single full-Flash website in my bookmarks (well, except Typophile). And my browsing, after the Flash purge, has been even more selective. Which means, if I stumble on a Flash site, or on a site that heavily relies on Flash to deliver its contents, services, experience, without giving me any alternative (i.e. offering HTML5 contents after detecting I don’t have Flash installed), then I just browse away. Because let me tell you this: it’s 2011, and if your website still hasn’t got an HTML version to display at least its core contents, or to give me a basic idea of what it’s about, then you’re not worthy of my attention and my time.
In these ten months, I willingly opened a page with Flash contents using Google Chrome only under the following circumstances:
- The site, though mostly Flash-free, inexplicably featured essential parts in Flash (such as the Account Login interface);
- It was a Flash YouTube video I really really wanted to see (that didn’t happen very often);
- It was a Flash website whose link was passed on by a trusted source (read: worth seeing anyway);
- I wanted to access and browse Typophile.com.
Nothing else comes to mind. All in all, I very rarely felt compelled to resort to Google Chrome to enjoy something Flash-based and I never felt I was ‘missing out’ or having a somewhat crippled Web experience. The benefits of not having Flash installed (especially on older Macs) greatly outweighed the ‘drawbacks’. I put the word in quotes because, really, what drawbacks? Not being able to look at your super-cool, all-Flash, website? Or animated ads? Come on.
(Many websites still present an irritating behaviour; they assume you’ll enjoy the Flash version more than the HTML(5) version, so they put Flash all over the place and an Enter HTML site label lost in a corner, in small typography and in such a position you’ll likely overlook the link entirely. If anything, it should be the opposite. Or better, just auto-detect the lack of Flash plug-ins in my browser and switch to HTML(5) on the fly. You’ll be amazed at the amount of sites out there that don’t perform this check.)