It’s officially time to nix flash on your site, right?
There’s nothing more annoying when searching online than using your smartphone to sit and wait for a site that uses Adobe Flash, which is not supported on any Android since 2012, nor is it supported on iOS, meaning broken, useless sites for mobile users.
Google will now be warning mobile users when they’re attempting to access a site from their mobile device that is Flash-heavy, which will not only reduce user frustration, but push site owners to improve their mobile experience. Now, when an unsupported technology is featured on your site, that warning will pop up in search results, as depicted above.
This warning could obviously push users away, knowing that they’ll be wasting time on a site that doesn’t load on their device. In essence, Google is forcing the world to catch up to consumers’ mobile usage and demands, good or bad.
It makes sense for Google, because quality results are what line their pockets, and offering a search experience that people continue to use keeps their lights on. It makes sense for users, because we all know the feeling of wanting to throw our phones down a flight of stairs after loading the fourth crappy site with broken, outdated features.
Lastly, it makes sense for site owners to catch the hell up, and Google’s going to drag them kicking and screaming into modernity, even if they did just invest thousands in development of a site that is already outdated. The transition may hurt, but it’s inevitable.
How this impacts your own site
Gigaom’s Kip Leswing writes, “Most of the sites affected by this change will be older pages that haven’t adapted to modern best practices, and Google is providing resources for webmasters looking to get up to date. The change will save mobile users some time because neither Safari on iOS nor Chrome on Android supports Flash.”
“Still — when mobile browsing was young,” Leswing adds, “the lack of mobile Flash support was supposed to be a major hurdle, as lots of major content hubs used Adobe’s software. Now Flash-based pages represent a quaint anachronism Google is advising users against visiting.”
If you have a website, what you need to do right now is perform some Google searches from your smartphone or tablet for your brand and see if your site comes up with any warning to mobile users. If not, carry on, but put a reminder in your calendar to do this search every month so you don’t get passed up for features on your site that might be holding you back. Removal of Flash will be simple for some, difficult for others, but talk to the person who designed your site (or a new one if someone did Flash for you in the last two years, for dogs’ sake), and ask what it will take to modernize and make Google happy. If you’re tech savvy, check out Google’s resources and update it yourself. Either way, welcome to the future, whether you like it or not.