I was looking at the website of a local design agency the other day. I've worked with them in the past creating a few small sites. Their previous website was quite a nice, quirky html site that I thought served them well. Now, they've moved to a 100% flash site for some reason. It's a mystery to me, because they have some full-time web developers working there. I can only assume that the marketeers there saw that they could have lots of motion and thought that would be a good idea.
It reminded me of an old chestnut that needs re-hashing: don't break the back button.
You may wonder why, if you include something similar within a Flash movie, you should not break the browser's back button.
It's a question of trust. Users vary significantly in their confidence when it comes to using a web browser. Part of the "deal" they have going is the consistent "language" they use to communicate with it. If you do something ninety-nine times and each time get a consistent result, then changing that on the hundredth attempt is like jumping out from behind a bush shouting "boo!" The expectation the user has — rightly — is that hitting the back button will take them to the state the screen was previously in. They don't care whether that's embedded in an object and not a separate URL. I'm with them on this: it's incredibly annoying to progress through several screens of a flash site, hit the browser "back" button and then be booted out back to a completely different site.
So don't do it. If you must have a completely Flash-based site, then do it sensibly. There are several utilities out there for this. You could use SWFObject combined with SWF Address, but there are others.
Jason posted this on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 5:56 pm. Leave comment.