2011 - The Year Flash still owns HTML5
There's more to the web than scrolling
I wanted to write a follow-on article to the recent 30 Non-Flash Sites That Changed FWA in 2011 I wrote in September 2011. That article went viral the moment it was published, proving the apetitie for the whole plugin-free web some brands and individuals are desperately ramming down our throats.
It's all about marketing
I have a lot of respect for Apple. I have been rocking an iPhone for the last few years now. Their design skills are second to none and their marketing and business deployment is... powerful. Let's be honest, when Microsoft launched the "Flash killer" Silverlight, it got plenty of press but wasn't taken too seriously by the masses. Eventually, Silverlight has been flagged for other avenues. However, when Steve Jobs [EDIT: Note, this article was published before the announcement of Steve's death. No malice is intended anywhere in this article to him. He was one of the world's true legends and his legacy will inspire people for generations.] blocked Flash on iOS the world stood to attention and the shockwave (no pun intended) really started. We could debate for eternity whether or not the decision to block Flash from iOS and now Microsoft jumping on the bandwagon with no Flash on Metro, is right or wrong. Everyone has an opinion on this. It seems the more tech savy folk have the harsher opinions, with the real end users, like my father, my friends (with no job connections to the web) struggling to understand why their iOS devices can't render websites correctly. For them, it has nothing to do with Flash, in fact if it wasn't for the hype surrounding Flash by Apple, these types of end user might not even know what Flash is.
For me it comes down to choice. I would like to be able to own a device that will run the web as we know it, not the web as some brands want us to view it. Okay, I hear you say I have that choice not to use iOS and the reality is becoming that now other mobile and tablet manufacturers are gaining market share by the day, especially with Android, and the fact that other devices are now looking and possibly out performing iPhone and iPad, maybe the tide will turn to the point where the balance will tip back in favour of the web as we have known it for the last 10+ years. An innovative web that can do anything you can imagine, a web that has evolved and wants to keep evolving. Not a web that has been checked and taken back ten years, with agencies having to recreate the wheels that have been in motion for so long.
I completely encourage innovation and I love to see what people are creating that will work across all devices, regardless of plugins and how they are having to re-invent the wheel to do some of the small tricks we have witnessed via the likes of Flash the last ten or so years. I am actually getting that old buzz feeling I first had when Flash started to go crazy around Flash 3/4, when I see creative work in HTML5 or WebGL etc. BUT... let's have a toolbox with whatever tools we want in it and let's not let a few of the world's brands dictate what we create, how we create it and how we will publish it. Never forget the web that enabled anyone, with or without any skill or talent, to publish an online presence for the world to see and enjoy. In 1997, that person was me... downloading a word doc on how to make an HTML website. No agendas just pure curiosity.
So, here's a list of some of the best Flash sites I have seen this year so far, a list that proves Flash is still a very viable tool for creating the most progressive and innovative experiences.
This feature list will start back in January 2011 and will move through the year to October 2011...
Storming Juno Interactive
SOTD: 4th January 2011
A great example of an immersive experience site that drops you right onto Normandy beach on D-Day. With 360 degree beach views and real video stories.
isle of tune
SOTD: 10th January 2011
Here you get to create a musical journey from street layouts. Create your own layout and drop a car in and you are off, with music. Perfectly executed.
LEGO Star Wars III Website
SOTD: 26th January 2011
SOTM: January 2011
A huge, real-time, multiplayer online gaming experience for two of the ultimate brands for geeks... Lego and Star Wars. Loads to unlock and work collaboratively to solve puzzles.
Diesel Fresh & Bright Underwear
SOTD: 27th January 2011
Vibrant, colourful and exciting design, packed with personality. With a range of superheroes to chose from and the ability to turn each one's closes off to reveal the range of underwear.
SOTD: 2nd February 2011
An experimental interactive Anime. Both seamless and intuitive, this campaign sets out to warn the French teen market about the perils of smoking.
SOTD: 28th February 2011
SOTM: February 2011
One of the best side scrolling games I have ever seen or played. This brings the personality of WEFAIL to the forefront, with cryptic eggs to solve to be able to reach the end of the game.
Devil Yogurt & His Wicked Comrades
SOTD: 20th March 2011
If you are finding all of those masked HTML scrolling pages a bore, check out how it's done with Flash.
SOTD: 23rd March 2011
In recent years movie sites have become rather dull and run of the mill. This site shows us how to take things to another level with superb interaction and games throughout, plus top quality 3D work.
Greenpeace - A New Warrior
SOTD: 30th March 2011
SOTM: March 2011
Huge site that sets out to raise funds for a new Rainbow Warrior. Takes on a shopping cart idea where users can find and then buy a piece of the ship.
edding | Wall of Fame
SOTD: 4th April 2011
SOTM: April 2011
Real-time drawing site where users get to interact live with each other on site and watch a massive tapestry of illustration take shape.
SOTD: 28th April 2011
Back to the future here as an amazing talent has brought back to life so many old consoles and games. Geek heaven.
SOTD: 2nd May 2011
Groundbreaking. Your chance to live video chat with one of the telecom operator 3's customer service team as they help find you a new phone. "Think Tom Cruise goes phone seller in Minority Report!"
The Desperados Experience
URL: (no longer online)
SOTD: 18th May 2011
One of the best YouTube takeovers, with a seamless Facebook connect integration.
House of Anubis: The Secrets Within
SOTD: 24th May 2011
Massive 3D Flash game with hours of game play available.
Magnum Pleasure Hunt
URL: (no longer online)
SOTD: 26th May 2011
SOTM: May 2011
Such a clever idea, which brings together multiple famous websites in a single experience as you get to run, jump, drive and fly across them.
SOTD: 28th May 2011
One of the first ever 3D Flash games that is controlled by your iPhone.
SOTD: 30th June 2011
An interactive game for Nike which uses groundbreaking 360 degree camera technology, where you become a first person football star.
Brian Wilson's Bear
SOTD: 27th July 2011
Personality and simplicity combined making for an unforgettable experience.
The Museum of Me
SOTD: 29th July 2011
SOTM: July 2011
Viral superstar which connects to your Facebook profile and sets out your unique and personal Museum and timeline.
SOTD: 4th August 2011
With so many dull and boring personal websites these days, one of the previously youngest ever FWA award winners comes back to our screens with a personality punch and uber slick motion.
SOTD: 17th August 2011
Great twitter connect site that uses the power of your followers to try and defeat an opponent. The more followers you have, the more power your shot has.
Intel: The Escape
URL: (no longer online)
SOTD: 22nd August 2011
Another find example of social media integration. Top drawer film, interactivity and social where you try to become the hero.
SOTD: 24th August 2011
Experimental masterpiece which plays out as an interactive and explorative tale.
SOTD: 30th August 2011
SOTM: August 2011
One of the most unforgettable sites of the year, again, oozing a huge powerful punch of personality. Some will say this is NSFW but I disagree. The message is clear and perfect for this AIDES campaign.
SOTD: 6th September 2011
A multiplayer live game where you get to compete with up to five other people in real time.
SOTD: 9th September 2011
Hugely addictive educational game aimed at 14-19 year olds but great fun for even the likes of me at 42. Ties into social channels so you can meet and see how you fare against other social friends you have.
The Planet Zero
SOTD: 26th September 2011
Astonishing game-style promotional website that could blow away many of the custom 3D engines out there. Fast and slick and doesn't require an additional plugin or powerful processor.
SOTD: 10th October 2011
Possibly taking storytelling to another level with this very impressive interactive movie.
SOTD: 18th October 2011
One of those moment when you first try this that you don't get too often... simple idea but huge impact as you get to race against your friends at any location in the world, including your own street.
SOTD: 24th October 2011
So you think Flash is only good for games? HTC shows how to incorporate Flash in a slick and clever way, hybrid style with Flash where it's needed. Proving how some of the world's top brands still rely on Flash to make their web presences as powerful and as innovative as possible
Whilst this article is not here to take a pop at HTML, it is here to silence some of the industry who are saying that Flash is dead. I love what is being achieved with web standards, HTML5 etc and more power to everyone who is exploring and creating that type of content. At FWA, we are excited to be in the mix of showcasing the most creative non-Flash work.
However, 2011, if anything, has seen an upturn in Flash content and certainly a rise in the amount of creative Flash sites we have seen.
If anything, the entire Flash vs HTML5 debate has created an even more innovative industry and those choosing HTML for their clients (or the other way around) are having to get super creative to make HTML sites that capture imaginations. Those creating Flash content are working harder than ever to prove to their clients and peers that Flash is still one of the most powerful tools out there.
One thing is currently certain, every day at FWA we still see amazing Flash content getting submitted to us. Yes, very true that we are seeing a rise in the amount of non-Flash work being submitted but the balance is currently tipped in Flash's favour.
It seems that the hysteria has died down and people are back and focused on the work they make and are trying to educate their clients as to what is best for their brands rather than what certain brands are encouraging them to do.
Just because everyone else is doing something doesn't make something right. Look at the brief and use the best tool for the job and make it the best it can be. 99.99% of people on the internet couldn't care less what a site is made with, they just want to be entertained and informed.
Aspire to be a trailblazer.