Steve Roberts

Flash site templates that work on iPhone (& iPad)




There has been a lot of discussion on the web in recent weeks because Apple's offerings iPhone and iPad do not (and probably will not) run the Adobe Flash Player on their in-built Safari web browser.

To some this is great news - who needs those annoying Flash Ads anyway? But to others, who recognise that when used well, for the right reasons, Flash well and truly has it's place. I see the benefits of using Flash as:

  • Excellent for presentation of high quality media, like photos and video.
  • The best tool for creating highly interactive visually rich web applications. I'm thinking of things like Pandora or Prezi.
  • Seamless browser navigating experience, with a slick user-interface, without the complexity and cost of developing an AJAX/JavaScript heavy HTML web site.
  • Availability of a lot of do it yourself web templates, that can be customised simply by editing a series of XML files
  • Excellent for presenting music, as the music keeps playing while the viewer is free to navigate all your content. (a bit difficult in HTML as you need to pop up another window, or use frames - each of which have their own set of issues).

The problems of course are well known, but as I will show are easily solved:

  • Bad at SEO
  • Not viewable on IPhone and iPad
  • Not accessible (eg compliance with s508 in US)

As can be seen from the ad on the right of this page, I have created some Flash site templates that I sell on I also work on a lot of sites that are built in WordPress and other CMS's that are mostly presented with XHTML and CSS. So I know the pro's and cons of both web site development environments.

For my Flash web site offerings I have systematically addressed all of the negatives or problems associated with Flash web site templates.

  • My templates use SWFAddress and PHP to generate an SEO (Google) friendly version of the site, so the site template is easily indexed by search engines.
  • I have just added iPhone specific CSS, so that the PHP generated HTML is viewable to iPhone visitors to the site.
  • I plan to do the same as soon as I can get my hands on an iPad.
  • The PHP generated HTML is also accessible to users who access the web via a screen reader, targeting a large part of users who require sites to be accessible.

You can view my templates in the web browser and with your iPhone from my stock items demonstration area.

So now you can have a site with all the benefits of Flash; seamless, high quality, on brand presentation, without any of the problems.

Posted in Development. Tagged with .

Published 23 May, 2010