Charles Christian’s legalit & new media blog

I was surfing some law firm websites over the weekend when I encountered an old acquaintance I hadn’t met in professional services website circles for sometime. Yes, it was Adobe Flash, a technology so fallen from favour that even Adobe no longer supports it for mobile devices. Of course there was a time – about 10 years ago – when you couldn’t move for Adobe Flash on law firm websites. Well you know how managing partners are always impressed by shiny, glittery moving images – just like kids are attracted to shiny, glittery decorations swaying on Christmas trees.

Personally, I’ve yet to encounter Flash being used on professional sector websites to deliver a serious business benefit that couldn’t just as easily be achieved with animated GIF or, more recently, HTML5. Each to his (or her) own you say. Well, yes as there’s no accounting for taste. But, with Flash I do make an exception today and ask Why use it?

Why not? Because you automatically make some of the site’s functionality inaccessible to users of the Apple iPad tablet (and also the iPhone).  And as, via BYOD, iPads are one of the boom areas of business and legal technology, why alienate potential visitors to your site? And if you think the iPad is just a gimmick, rather than a serious business platform, just consider these four facts…

(1) About one week ago Apple sold its 100 millionth iPad – not bad going for a device that was only launched in the spring of 2010.

(2) Some analysts predict that by the end of next year (December 2013) Apple will sell a further 100 million iPads. (The new iPad Mini looks like being a significant driver here – think of it as an iPhone for people who need glasses.)

(3) iPads are slaughtering laptop PC marke sales – and are currently even outselling Windows 8 upgrades.

(4) iPads are now in use in 94% of Fortune 500 companies – as well as having become the mobile computing platform of choice for large numbers of law firm partners and general counsel.

So just run it by me again why you still think Flash is a good idea?