Lack Of Flash On The iPad Is A Win For Accessible, Standards-Based Design

Feb 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Apple iPad, iPhone

There’s been a lot of discussion in the last week about Apple’s decision to not support Flash on the upcoming iPad.

Early iPad users are going to see a lot of blue boxes, right, where their audio and video file would otherwise be. And publishers are going to have to decide if it’s worth the trouble to update their sites to work with the new devices.

While many decry Apple’s decision, web standards guru Jeffrey Zeldman has this to say about Apple’s decision to leave Flash off the iPad:

Lack of Flash in the iPad (and before that, in the iPhone) is a win for accessible, standards-based design. Not because Flash is bad, but because the increasing popularity of devices that don’t support Flash is going to force recalcitrant web developers to build the semantic HTML layer first.

As the percentage of web users on non-Flash-capable platforms grows, developers who currently create Flash experiences with no fallbacks will have to rethink their strategy and start with the basics before adding a Flash layer. They will need to ensure that content and experience are delivered with or without Flash.

Developers always should have done this, but some don’t. For those who don’t, the growing percentage of users on non-Flash-capable platforms is a wake-up call to get the basics right first.

HTML5, with its built-in support for video and audio, plays perfectly into this new model of computing and browsing; small wonder that Google and Apple’s browsers support these HTML5 features.


Apple’s decision to not support Flash is a tough one – but it’s still the right decision.  The decision, like Apple’s early adoption of USB and dumping of disk drives, is a move forward that only Apple is in a position to make.

And Apple’s most influential products have been defined by the features they’ve left out as much as the features that they’ve included.

The opportunity is there for Adobe to create tools that support Flash and non-Flash devices equally well. Adobe hasn’t made this happen – but the success of the iPhone and the introduction of the iPad will force the issue.

And if Adobe doesn’t make it happen, indie and corporate media publishers alike are going to be looking for ways to make sure their sites are compatible with the iPad.

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4 Responses to “Lack Of Flash On The iPad Is A Win For Accessible, Standards-Based Design”

  1. John Dowdell says:

    “The opportunity is there for Adobe to create tools that support Flash and non-Flash devices equally well. Adobe hasn’t made this happen….”

    How would you know if we did… what would have to change?
    http://blogs.adobe.com/jd/2010/02/adobe_authoring_for_html5.html

    “If Adobe doesn’t make it happen, indie and corporate media publishers alike are going to be looking for ways to make sure their sites are compatible with the iPad.”

    Adobe’s goal is to enable creators to reach their audiences, regardless of whether the environment is open or closed:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplatform/2010/01/building_ipad_apps.html

    jd/adobe

  2. voicer says:

    I find it interesting that Apple is making a big splash with something that doesn’t do what it should. Like or hate Flash, it’s here, it’s being used and other tablets, like Archos (which was about a year ahead of Apple) uses it. Why don’t we hear more about the Archos Internet Tablet, Internet Media Tablet and PCTablet from you guys? Looks like it runs circles around the pad.

  3. voicer says:

    I was asking you if you had ever reviewed them. If you’re going to do reviews, do reviews so we can see your opinions. It doesn’t help your credibility if all you do is cheer Apple, jeer everyone else.

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