The Truth about Flash in Insurance Website Design

June 17, 2015

website and gears


For years we've created beautiful insurance website designs with impressive animations and functionality with the help of Flash. Flash is capable of creating incredible website features. However, recent advances in web technologies and trends are pushing it out of the industry.

If your insurance agency website has Flash, take heart. Some of our top performing insurance agency websites still contain Flash. We at ITC pay close attention to the latest technologies and trends. We've implemented these technologies into our insurance website designs. These changes allow our websites to have Flash and still be relevant and functional. Let me explain.

What is Flash?

Flash is a multimedia and software platform. The earliest version of Flash, SmartSketch, traces back to the mid 1990s. It was later incorporated into FutureSplash Animator and took its place in the web development scene. During that time, several popular websites like Disney and MSN were successfully developed. In 2005, Flash was then acquired by Adobe Systems, who maintains ownership today.

The use of Flash continues to evolve in animation, software applications and video games. It makes it easier for websites to work across browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari. Additionally, the file size of Flash elements are usually small. This helps improve an insurance website's performance since it makes page load times faster. With Flash developers can make websites look fancy without making people wait a long time to see it.

The Decline of Flash in Web Design

Mobile browsing has been on the rise for the last several years. In 2010, Apple founder Steve Jobs announced that iPhone and iPads would no longer support Flash. Additionally, many Android devices dropped support. One major reason for this is that Flash, especially in web design, relies heavily on rollover effects. Unfortunately, rollovers don't work well on touchscreen devices.

Furthermore, the decoder, H.264, which is required to run Flash on a device, uses up a lot of power. To preserve power on a mobile phone or tablet, the power usage needs to be kept as low as possible. To help save battery for laptop users, Google recently updated Chrome to pause Flash elements that are not the focus on a web page.

While search engines have gotten better at indexing Flash content on websites, it is still not the best for search engine optimization (SEO). The better choice is to make your content HTML-based so it can be easily crawled by Google and other search engines.

Why Is Flash Still Successful on Insurance Website Builder Websites?

Many successful insurance agency websites still use Flash. The key is to not create an entire website using only Flash.

We only use bits of Flash throughout a website. In fact, one of our most successful website features is a Flash-based slideshow. Also, we include alternate content for iPhones and iPads on these small bits of Flash. So, although the website contains Flash, it is still attractive and functional on any device. This also means search engines can crawl text, so website traffic is not limited.

The mobile issue with Flash is never a problem. Each Insurance Website Builder website comes with an adaptive mobile website that will not display Flash. If a responsive website does contain Flash, there is a solution. Simply hide the Flash component on mobile devices and provide alternative calls to action in its place.

In short, Flash is still a functional element in insurance website design. That said, if you are still using Flash on your insurance agency website, eventually you may want to consider replacing it with newer programming.

Yes, there are corporate settings where Flash was and will probably always be useful. It is great for creating training solutions, rich media and intranet applications. However, Flash's practicality in web development is lessening. Eventually, it may be best to switch to an HTML5 and CSS3-based website. Most of the fancy, fun animations that Flash spoiled us with can now be done with newer programming. While HTML5 and CSS3 still have a lot of room to grow, they offer the best approach in comparison to other alternatives.

Got a question about Flash in insurance agency websites? Let us know in the comments below.

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