It doesn’t run on mobile
Here ends this article. But I shall go into detail to pad this page out some.
The Malicious Attack of Steve Jobs
In 2010 Flash took a beating it would never get over when Jobs got his claws out and wrote of it being a redundant format. He was right, but he didn’t quite come clean, instead he rattled on about it being a nasty proprietary language that’s controlled by one All Seeing Eye (exactly like app development, which is even more of a closed product that’s controlled by one godly overseer, Apple), being incompatible with touchscreen devices (bollocks) and a few other muddled complaints that managed to make every ad agency the world over scream in terror and run for the nearest HTML parallax scrolling, creatively castrated web project.
The truth was, the iPad1 was a piece of shit. But being the marketing spin doctor he was he couldn’t come out and say “Flash wont run on my tablet, because my tablet is technically turd. Aesthetically it looks beautiful, but we’re not quite advanced enough yet to have it display more than a page of web text. Flash will drain the weakling battery in minutes and make the inadequate CPU shit its pants. I am sorry for my shortcomings.”
Either way, none of those excuses really mattered, Flash had to die because mobile was now here to stay and none of the devices were powerful enough to run the plugin acceptably. You could keep producing websites in Flash, but your audience kept getting smaller as more and more users took up smartphones and tablets. Flash was slowly strangled out of existence, in swf form anyway.
Years of Boredom
There then followed a massive exodus to the shrine of the parallax scrolling html website. Think of it as a normal website, but with layers in the background that move at different speeds. Exciting. But that wasn’t the end of web designs’ de-evolution, because we then saw an influx of sites that had 100% scaled background videos with a bit of text over the top. Again, you may think that’s similar to an old 1990′s HTML website, but you would be wrong, because these sites had a fucking video looping in the background. What we had invented was the TV advert in a browser window. Void of interaction and entertainment, bleakly barren of fun. The type of slick corporate video advert that if it were on the TV or the start of a YouTube clip, you would sigh and wish the time away until it had passed. Yet somehow studios expected an internet audience to cream themselves over this 5 second video loop that had a textblock overlay. Innovation had died.
Living the Lie and Empty Bedrooms
Same old shit, different brand. On and on the most boring websites were being produced without a second thought to making them fun, web design went from being the most anarchic, unpredictable form of creative design, to a cold dead turd that wore a soft drink’s logo. Even television adverts were more fun to engage with than modern websites, at least they might partially entertain you, rather than make you depressed that you’ve just waited 2 minutes to see yet another slickly produced video with text you’ll never read put over the top.
Things looked more promising with the introduction of WebGL and the like, 3D spinning objects that would take 10 minutes to load, that’s entertainment. Created by a team of 50 designers, 3D artists, 3D developers and all the other poor bastards that are needed to make a primitive object rotate within a skydome for the 5 seconds that a user will be moderately interested in sacrificing. At least studios were trying to move on to a more entertaining way of building sites, but they’d inadvertently killed the bedroom designer along the way.
The bedroom designer is a god to creativity. They’re young, packed full of creative ideas, have parents that bring them free food and most of all they can work through an idea on their own…with the right tools. Unfortunately what the new toolsets had brought was a need to have a large team of multi disciplined workers that combined their different skillets to make the whole. The chances of one kid being proficient in 3D mapping, modelling, programming, web development and most of all, being full of great ideas, is slim to none. Flash had always given the bedroom designer enough tools to pick up the basics of coding and to run with it. Those same kids were now faced with a wall of complex tools that could take them years to master. If I were that teenager, I’d fuck it all off and go and watch the telly. My career over before it began.
But back to the living lie. Remember, we’ve moved on to these new languages because Flash didn’t run on mobile. All of these new tools were now used as a direct result of a demand to please both mobile users and desktop. Simple enough problem, but we’ve completely missed it. Almost all of the alternative formats being used to create today’s interactive ‘fun’ websites, don’t run on mobile. How the studios sell this to the client is beyond me, using a language other than Flash that also doesn’t run on mobile, and will take a ton more development time to run X-browser. It’s the weirdest step sideways ever made. It has to run on devices, if it doesn’t, don’t make it. Save us all the confusion of trying to load your cool interactive site up on a telephone, only to see some static fucking page that apologises for showing you some shite afterthought.
While we (I say we, but I mean you. We just stopped building stuff for a time) were all blindly panicking and making horrendously boring HTML sites, telephones and tablets were getting stronger. The iPad1 has died a long time ago, and with it the need to build sites that would run on something with the same spec as a 1995 desktop computer. The current gen of smartphones and tablets can pretty much compete with a desktop. More interestingly, while we were treading water trying to create engaging HTML sites with no tools, Grant Skinner was building CreateJS ( http://www.createjs.com/#!/CreateJS ). We stumbled on CreateJS after reading up on the Toolkit exporter in FlashCC. There seemed to be a way of exporting your timeline much as you would an swf, but having it come out as HTML5. The idea of using Flash to put a site together using JS to power it aroused us. We contacted the brilliant minds at CreateJS and set to work on rebuilding our very first Flash site in HTML. More of a test of what was possible with these new tools and what would run on iOS/Android. It didn’t take long for us to reproduce and add to the old site with a new HTML5 version, that would run on your iPhone.
For the first time since the mobile bomb went off, we can see a way of building interactive sites that aren’t incredibly fucking dull. Flash is back, but not as Flash, yet in a form that any bedroom designer could pick up and start working with right now. Innovation in web design has died, but by dragging young people back in it can be revived. Wefail believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. For fuck’s sake, show them all the beauty they possess inside. Think Different.