Flash is already ill-regarded by Mac users for its wretched performance, detested by Linux users for its proprietary nature, and disliked by millions of web users for its general annoyance factor.
The larger problem, though, is that Flash breaks the web and defies established conventions that make the web usable. There are no hyperlinks per se (only clickable spots), no way to determine where clicking will take you, and no way to get back there (that is, no URIs or URLs). Even worse—and one of the reasons Flash is so beloved by certain types of content creators—Flash is a black hole; nothing comes out, which makes Flash entirely inaccessible for reuse, collaboration, or whatever the next great idea on the web is.
Case in point: we’re headed to Oslo this summer for a wedding, and the happy couple are registered at (surprise, surprise) a Norwegian retailer of fine table- and kitchenware. Part of the registry website is plain-old HTML, which means the non-obvious Norwegian words and phrases I encounter can magically become mostly-intelligible English words and phrases thanks to the wonders of Google Translate.
The other part of the store’s registry website, unfortunately, is a series of Flash objects. These are completely opaque to anything that reads the web. Google Translate can’t translate the “button” labels, and I can’t hover over the buttons to see where clicking them will take me (or even inspect the page source to learn the destination, which slightly crazy people have been known to do in order to get useful information). I can’t copy and paste the “button” labels into Google Translate, because, for all intents and purposes, they’re bitmaps, so if I persist in my efforts to have Google Translate decipher the site for me, I have to manually enter some Norwegian text (no non-ASCII characters on these buttons, thankfully). It’s painful, and it’s frustrating that what would “just work” in standard HTML has become a chore that only the most crazed or desperate among us will actually stick with through completion. What’s worse, there seems to be no compelling reason for the “buttons” in question to be Flash; unless the site intentionally desires to obfuscate the destinations of each “button,” the only “functionality” provided by Flash is a hover effect.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “this is an unusual/rare/contrived situation; there’s no real-word applicability here.” Unusual or rare, sure, but why cut yourself off from the opportunity to be useful/profitable from every situation presented (Occasionem oblatam tenete —Cicero), when you could just as easily (or perhaps even more easily; surely HTML+CSS is easier than writing a Flash applet?) be open to them? Norwegian retailers don’t have to worry about making their sites accessible to non-Norwegian speakers; Google can do it for them, if only they would use real text, the real web, HTML. No expenditure at all would be required to get this added market, but the retailers could reap the benefits of a scenario they never expected.
Every day on the web, use-cases you haven’t thought of are appearing and becoming mainstream, and in the rapidly changing world of technology, do you really want to be left behind or have to spend extra time and money re-working your site to become compatible with the next great movement on the web?
Please, turn off the Flash.