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Toronto-based boutique agency specializing in web design and development, identity and print design.
Aug 12

Flash vs. CSS/HTML: This Time it’s Personal

In the world of Web Design/Development there always seems to be a constant fight between Flash designers/developers and CSS/HTML designers/developers.

CSS enthusiasts will build sites only in CSS/HTML, whereas a Flash fanatic would never dream of building a website in anything other than Flash.

So what exactly are the differences between CSS/HTML and Flash sites? And more importantly, which is better? The goal of this Blog post is to try and answer these very questions, but let’s start off by explaining just exactly what Flash and CSS/HTML are:


Flash is a program originally created by Macromedia and currently owned by Adobe. Among its many purposes, Flash is commonly used to add animation, interactivity, and video into websites.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

CSS is a stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in a markup language, such as (X)HTML.

CSS is commonly used to style web pages by defining colours, fonts, layout, and much more.

What are the Pros and Cons of Flash?

Flash is commonly used in the Entertainment Industry because it utilizes the use of multi-media and is also great for spicing up an ordinary website with animation, games and videos, but there must be a downside to using Flash, right? Right.

In order for viewers to be able to see your beautiful Flash site on their computer they need to have a recent Flash plug-in version installed on their computer. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem. According to Adobe’s statistics currently over 96% of web users have the latest version of Flash installed on their computers. This being said, more and more people are surfing the web on their cell phones these days, which is a technology that does not currently have the ability to use Flash.

Another downside to Flash is that Flash content is not recognized by search engines, and thus making it not very SEO friendly.

What are the Pros and Cons of CSS?

CSS is currently a huge design trend on the web. And there are many sites out there such as and that are devoted to showcasing great CSS/HTML sites.

CSS/HTML is a great way to deliver information quickly and effectively to a large audience of viewers.

CSS is much more SEO friendly than Flash, and enables developers to change the look of an entire site by altering a single file (stylesheet).

A main downside to CSS/HTML is that it is static and is not able to produce any animation or to display video (without the use of plug-ins).

Which is Better?

Well there’s no point in trying to prove that Flash is better than CSS/HTML or vice versa. As stated previously, there are pros and cons to each, plus it comes down partly to personal preference.

Also, some sites are just more suited towards Flash, and others are more suited towards CSS/HTML. Do you want to give your users a fantastic multimedia experience? If so, then you likely want to create your site in Flash. Or maybe you want to quickly deliver content to your viewer. In which case, you should highly consider a CSS/HTML site.

Can’t Decide?

A great solution is to build your website in CSS/HTML and embed some Flash elements to incorporate some animation, interactivity and/or video into your site.

This is a technique that has been used on and many of our portfolio pieces. If you take a look at our home page you will notice that our site is built in CSS/HTML with several Flash elements embedded into our website.

By doing this we have taken full advantage of the benefits of CSS/HTML, as well as adding some nice animating elements courtesy of Flash.