I’ve recently been following a forum on LinkedIn called DesignPros (highly recommended for any and all of you out there who fit the bill). It focused on the use of HTML and CSS or Flash to build a Web site. And though the question itself is clear cut, the answer might not be…
Let me start by saying that I favor HTML and CSS above Flash, and for one simple reason: search engines are king. Search engines simply cannot crawl Flash code, while their evil little spiders and bots can easily crawl any site properly built with HTML and CSS. What does this mean? If you want your site to appear at, or even near, the top of search engine results, your choice is a simple one: HTML and CSS. I don’t like the idea of spiders (ewww!) crawling over my sites any more than you do, but they are the unequivocal key to getting your site noticed, unless you have the money to spend on an all-out print and Web advertising campaign. Most of us don’t, and even if we did, it would behoove us to design creations that are search-engine-friendly. Even Flash navigation is trumped by a combination of HTML and CSS… Again, you want those wicked little bots to be able to crawl your site, not visit your homepage and get stuck there, without the ability to manipulate fancy Flash nav elements.
This is not to say that Flash doesn’t have its place. I remember in its nascent days being absolutely blown away by entire sites and designer portfolios constructed in Flash, animated and beautiful and absolutely mind-blowing in their artfulness. And perhaps for a design portfolio, intended for viewing by a mere few who already know their URL, this still has merit. However in the days of Google and (ugh) Bing, Flash is best relegated to beautiful banners, ads, and other forms of eye-candy, at which it excels. An HTML/CSS site accented by full-width Flash banners and other animated graphics incorporates the best of both worlds, and allows you to reach the Web-designer’s equivalent of Nirvana: placement near to, or even atop, coveted search engine result listings.
Enough said. The rest, as they say, is up to you. Enjoy 😉