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Friday, March 25, 2011

Car Dealer Websites Using Flash Alienate iPhone and iPad Users

As someone in the business of developing websites for car dealers, I frequently see an advertisement for a dealership and check out the website listed in their ad. If I happen to be watching TV and see the website on a TV ad, I typically don't sit around with my laptop so I check on my iPhone. This happened the other day and when I went to the dealer's site from my iPhone, nothing but a message telling me to download Adobe Flash. Of course I know Flash isn't supported on the iPhone or iPad but I wanted to see what less knowledgeable people might have seen if they clicked on the link to install Flash. "Flash player not available on your device". So basically, if Flash is required to view your dealership website, there is no possible way for the customers to actually use your site. With the number of iPads and iPhones out there (and continuing to grow), if I were a car dealer, this would be the only reason I need to stay away from Flash websites.

I won't mention their specific name, but our competitor who handles this particular dealer's site I checked is one of the larger companies out there. They've made a decision to cater to what their clients want, rather than educate them on best practices for exposure. When we use Flash in our designs, it's only because the dealers insist on it, even after we've educated them on the drawbacks. We know that if you are going to use it, you should use it properly. This means have a non-Flash version of the site which is displayed for iPhones/iPads, or for smaller Flash elements, have images which are displayed when the Flash cannot be displayed. See the website header on www.tmotorsales.com, one of our client sites. Visiting the site from a PC you'll see the animated header. Visiting the site from an iPhone you'll see an image of the header rather than the big empty space that most providers have on their client sites.

If you're going to do something, you should do it properly, that's all I'm saying.