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There has been much talk that the iPhone does not have Flash on its browser. Hooray.

There are some very good, nearly-noble reasons for why Apple wants to leave Flash off the iPhone… and, for that matter, get it off the Web entirely. Before reading about this, I was simply wanting Flash off the Web for reasons having to do with usability, speed, and aesthetics.

Smashing Magazine has an interesting post today about start pages, the first page someone sees when they go to a site. The examples they use are heavy with Flash and cumbersome, difficult-to-use navigation. Admittedly, some of these sites are very cool and have a very fun aspect to them, but forget ever really finding anything useful. Forget, too, sending someone to a particular part of the site via URL… they will have to follow your instructions to find a particular item.

Some Flash sites also love to re-size browser windows, which just happened as I was writing this. Go here, the first site mentioned by Smashing, then use the back arrow to return to this post. See what happened? Now you have to go a re-size your browser window to where you want it. Annoying.

Flash has also been notoriously slow on Mac browsers. This is not a function of the Mac, but a function of Flash. Some of these Smashing sites seem to be working quite well, however. There was a time when Flash in Safari would be so painfully slow that the site was unusable.

What should trump what on a site dedicated to showcasing design? The answer would seem to be, duh, design! Design does not only encompass the visual, however. The layout and function of a website is also design. A designer who wants to show off their goods on the interactive Web, then they need to be sure the site they present is also very well designed, easy to navigate, quick to load, and tolerant of the user’s own browser settings. A snazzy, animated site may seem cool and wow us with visuals and graphic shenanigans, but if it ends up frustrating me as well, forget it. I’ll move on.

Oh, and might I point out that Smashing itself is using another excruciating website junker-upper, the sponsored inline link. Horrifying. To watch the text on Smashing become diseased by ugly green double underlines that themselves then bring up invasive Live Search or ad pop-up windows is infuriating. Flash + commerce = butt ugly.

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