Devices have taken the computing scene by storm, it started with the little iPod Touch from Apple, which everyone loved… but it’s main user turned out to be people who wanted it for far more than tunes. As a result, a multitude of apps came out from FTP and other cool tools, to word processors and even html editors.
Another result of the fueled fire was a huge marketable need for bigger screens. Enter the iPad and a myriad of other tablets. These devices ARE “devices” in that they use apps and avert need for mice or keyboards, but they’re also boasting screens the size of the average “netbook” which is fabulous for surfing.
So here comes the problem ala 2011.
Apple is not interested in adding flash readability to their operating system. Yet having sold over 3million iPads in its first 80 days (and it’s now been 2 years) it would appear the consumer could care less about the flash experience. More over, it’s leaving retailers with the issue of serving up their sites so consumers can use them, and purchase from them.
I surfed over to a site the other day in order to make a purchase using my iPad. It was a major retailer and my mission was to peruse, compare and purchase.
Upon tapping in the URL, I found myself shoved over to a skimpy cheesy application, never being given the choice to surf the site. Why? Turns out the site was flash based.
Ford of Canada, had no problems letting me surf their site.. but it didn’t work. I tried to build the car I was looking to buy, only to find their interactivity was flash based. This stuff can’t be done without flash you say? Bullshit. Chevrolet offers the exact same tools, only they worked! I priced me out a nice car, and saved it. Did so with other makers too.
Being a developer of hugely interactive sites (yep some that use flash) I can guarantee you there is always a way, other than flash, to accommodate interactive need.
What we’re coming to is a fork in the road, people who spent oodles on sites with flash are stuck with a problem.
The common solution to this compatibility dilemma seems to be to hammer out a quick app, and it’s not going to do. Apps are cool, they’re fun, I have tons of them, but imagine walking into Wal-Mart and being handed special attire you need to change into, in order to see pricing. WHO would go back? And for many people their iPad is all they have.
Apps are GREAT standalone tools, but they are not replacements for sites that don’t work with one of the most used (and growing) viewing tools of today. Safari is now one of the bigger pieces of the pie when it comes to site stats, and Safari is the iTouch and iPad surfing tool of trade.
Canadian Tire, Ford and the rest of the flash dependents, you may well have to do over. And when you do, ask your developer to assure you they are using tools that are truly cross platform.
If a computer needs to download a plugin.. (ie flash plugin) to view a site, then you can bet the future holds troubles in store. The device makers have not been urged by their devoted users to conform and that leaves it up to the sites, if they want the sales.