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Flash Navigation

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This blog post is over 20 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current and the links no longer work.

Flash has its uses, but creating the primary navigation for site and having no alternate navigation isn’t one of them. As with any tool, you should think carefully about whether Flash is the right tool for your application. In the example cited, there is no reason at all the navigation needs to be in Flash. The exact same effect could be easily created with rollover graphics or even styled text.

And if for some reason the navigation did need to be in Flash, the text links at the bottom of the page should contain duplicate links for all of the Flash-based navigation items. Think of any links within Flash movies as an imagemap. Just like it’s a good idea to provide alternate text links for anything in an imagemap, you should do the same with Flash.

Why is this important? Think of all the people who can’t use this bank’s site. Blind people with screen readers, text only browsers, PDA browsers, people without Flash installed, people behind proxy servers that strip Flash content, and more.

Simon Willison
October 2, 2003 5:19 PM

The link provided doesn't work for me, but does. I agree completely that Flash for primary navigation is a bad idea, for the exact reasons you specify.

Adam Kalsey
October 2, 2003 5:25 PM

Dang, you're quick. I updated the link within 30 seconds of posting it when I realized that they don't have a DNS entry for the site without www. Another blunder on their part.

Shane Rebenschied
October 3, 2003 10:04 AM

I agree that Flash should _definitely_ not be used as the only method of navigation without some redirect (linking to a HTML-based navigation) set up for those who aren't able to view the Flash content. However, Flash content _can be_ made accessible to screen readers for the blind. Macromedia has added, since Flash MX, accessibility features to enable access to Flash content for the disabled.

October 3, 2003 2:16 PM

Using this approach and the background-position approach used by pixy you can use one image for all the corners. See

October 31, 2007 5:00 PM

I have no problem with flash navigation being the primary navigation. Without flash pages and flash navigation every page would be as boring as this one and that would just suck.... I agree that if you use flash navigation as primary then you should have text links as well for people who use screen readers ect. A quote from the author "As with any tool, you should think carefully about whether Flash is the right tool for your application." This is 100% true...... on a banking page...... such as that one, where everything should be clean, precise and very boring. On any page where you want the page to look atractive to younger people then a flash navigation is esential. Dont be so hard on flash, without it the web would suck. Ps. the origonal site example dose not use flash at all, its all done with coding (which a screen reader would be able to read).

This discussion has been closed.

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