Sadly, This Is Not A Standard Test

A Computerworld article asks, “Time to de-Flash your site?” A mobile user laments:

“When I am accessing a website that has Flash, I usually get a blank part of the screen, or a red box where the Flash element is,” Cunha says. “Or I may just get a static image.” If the organization behind that website hasn’t developed a scaled-down mobile-friendly alternative, Cunha says he usually avoids the site totally.

Back when I was at the interactive agency, we always tested to see the site without Flash and provided a different static image if the browser didn’t have Flash installed.

I’m sure that’s all done away with now, and most Web shops thought (if they thought at all) that Flash penetration was high enough to make that unnecessary.

And then, a couple years later, popular tablets and smartphones did not support Flash, and the lamentations begin.

Here’s a bit of advice, gratis: If you’re building or testing Web sites, always check to see what happens if dependent technologies aren’t there, and handle their absence gracefully. Sure, the technologies might have a lot of market penetration now, but what’s going to happen in a couple years?

Unless you’re a fan of clients clamoring for free fixes to their suddenly broken sites, just do it. You’ll make me quieter about it, anyway.

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