Ten months without Flash

Tech Life

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:

  1. The site, though mostly Flash-free, inexplicably featured essential parts in Flash (such as the Account Login interface);
  2. It was a Flash YouTube video I really really wanted to see (that didn’t happen very often);
  3. It was a Flash website whose link was passed on by a trusted source (read: worth seeing anyway);
  4. 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.)

The Author

Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!

1 Comment

  1. Riccardo, I’m using this approach on my G4 powered PowerBook, on the 2010’s MBP I have enough CPU and GPU to handle all the flash “lousy” webdesigners use to show contents w/o worrying too much on switching the browser in use.

    Anyway I TOTALLY agree on blaming those BAD habits of having login-forms and main content only in flash. Technically & aestetically there’s no reason to do so in 2011 :-/

Comments are closed.