Flash websites – missing the mobile audience?

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Recently I have been wanting to visit several restaurants or tourist attractions and have looked them up on my smartphone. Maybe I have been unlucky but approximately 50% of these searches have resulted in being unable to progress with either a visit, a booking or me getting my dinner! Why? Because these website have all been built in Flash and this isn’t currently served by my Android phone nor (ever likely to be) on my other half’s iPhone.

Take for instance the following website for a local restaurant that I was looking to book on my way home from work. What resulted was that I was unable to access the site and therefore unable to get their phone number to call and make a reservation which resulted in me having to go elsewhere (athough this did help me discover my new favourite restautant so it wasn’t all bad!) I wonder how many other people have had to do this and how much business they have lost? Are they even be aware it’s an issue? Well, Yes, I know they are because I put it on a comment card but still it’s all Flash so perhaps they just don’t care about the missing custom?

Why you shouldn’t ignore mobile.

According to comScore’s 2010 Feburary report The 2009 U.S. Digital Year in Review;

In December 2009, smartphones were owned by 17 percent of the mobile phone subscribers, up nearly 6 percentage points versus year ago…With so many new smartphone models reaching the market in 2009, the next year promises a rapid increase in market penetration of these devices, which likely means a corresponding uptick in mobile web usage.

and also, a report from Quantcast found that:

Worldwide, the share of Internet pageviews originating from mobile devices increased 148% in the year to December ’09

Not figures to be sneezed at and surely figures that would make the most diehard Flash fan have a wee bit of a rethink?

How Flash renders on the Android and iPhone and why I had to go elsewhere.

To illustrate my point, below is a screenshot of the website on my Android, one on the iPhone and one as it should look. Logo has been blurred to protect the inaccessible!

This website could solve part of it’s problem by just having a simple ‘skip intro’ link as the internal part of the site is only partly in Flash and potential customers could at least get to contact details, opening times etc. Such a simple solution that would have allowed us (and potentially others) to make a booking.

Screenshot from Android Phone

Screenshot from Android Phone

As it is on the iPhone

As it is on the iPhone

How it should have looked...

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