The advantages and disadvantages of using flash on a website
It used to be very common to use Flash on websites, for a time it seemed like every site was using it. These days it is becoming less and less common. This is because despite being advantages to using it there are also some pretty serious disadvantages. Most people find that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages but there are times when it might make sense to use it.
The big advantage of using Flash on a website is that it is browser independent. This means that your site will work properly regardless of which browser the person viewing it is using. This is a problem with some other means of coding a site and one of the reasons that Flash has become widely used. The other advantage is that it allows you to make your site more interactive than it otherwise would be. You can add things like video and audio to your site easily making it more interactive.
While there are certainly some benefits to using Flash on a website there are also some disadvantages that can make using it a problem. The first is that Flash requires a plug in to be viewed. That means that everybody who visits your site has to have this plug in or they will not be able to access your site. Admittedly most people do have the plug in, but there are people who don't and that can be a problem. Anything that limits the number of people who visit your site is not a good thing.
The other big problem with Flash on websites is that it affects the usability of your site. Everything has to be coded correctly or the visitor will end up seeing nothing. In addition things like the back button don't work unless you add extra code. Basically any of the normal things that people do while visiting a website will not work properly unless extra code is added to your site. This can be a real hassle so you have to decide if it is worth it.
Search engine optimization is also a problem when you are using Flash since the search engine robots can't index it. There are ways around this problem but most web designers don't really know how to do it because they don't really pay attention to issues like SEO when they are designing a site. Another related problem is that the search engines can't show previews of Flash sites which makes it less likely that anybody will click on them.
Flash is also a problem because of the huge increase in use of mobile devices for browsing. Mobile devices can't display Flash sites which makes them useless in this regard. Normally companies will build a separate site for mobile devices anyway so this is not a huge issue but it is something to keep in mind.