Adobe Flash – November 1st, 1996  – January 12th, 2021
Adobe (Macromedia) Flash was an interactive digital interface that helped transform the web. At 25 years of age, Flash met its end on January 12th, 2021 after a long fight against modern web security and standards. It will be remembered as allowing designers to create design rich websites and games. Flash is survived by its siblings Photoshop (Adobe) and Illustrator (Adobe).

Though Flash has not been used for several years, there is still a part of me that misses the days of tweening and action scripting. As a budding website designer, I largely focused around creating Flash websites and presentations. Where HTML, pre-CSS, was so limiting, Flash was a breath of fresh air. It opened a world of creativity where the possibilities were almost endless.

My very first flash project was a website intro for a hockey trainer. I photographed myself shooting a slapshot on a green screen and stitched the images together (stop-motion-esque) to create a fun intro with a goal horn sound effect and logo animation. I was probably 14 at the time. As my skills grew, I transitioned from simple website intros into full-blown Flash sites. I helped design and animate sites for liquor brands with stunning images and graphics, and telecom companies with full green-screened video.



Of course, Flash had significant deficiencies that could not adapt to the new mobile world. You couldn’t create responsive projects and the security risks were just too high for mobile OS developers to support. And with CSS and Javascript advancing to a place where so much of Flash could be related much easier, it made sense for Flash to be phased out.

However, I think the web has lost a little bit of uniqueness. So many sites fall back on the same design aesthetic. The modern, flat visual look certainly has a place in web design. Some projects require that clean feel, but there are still sites and applications that benefit from that extra design detail and motion. It’s easy to fall back to that super clean look as it looks good and is easy to implement.

The challenge is to think about the project individually. What is the brand of the client? Does a rich experience with motion help communicate to the user? Will this solicit the right emotions from the user? Those are important questions to ask, and combined with utilizing strong design principles, a beautiful, unique, and effective site can be achieved.

At Alliance Systems, we like to start every project with a design discovery where we ask these question and more. Great design isn’t just about visuals. We take the time to understand your brand, you message, and your target. Only then we can begin to apply sound principals to create a custom design for you project. We don’t take a one-size-fits-all, templated approach. Our goal is always push the envelope and create an experience that successfully communicates and makes your business standout.

Truth-be-told, Flash is often revered as a kitschy tool that is a butt of a lot of jokes. But as a web designer for over 20 years, I will always think fondly of working with Flash. Though it has disappeared, I hope to continue Flash’s spirit of inspiring design.


Fellow designers, do you have a favorite Flash project or did it inspire you in your career? Share with us on LinkedIn or Facebook!

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Everything we do, everything we touch, is focused on the User Experience.

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