Communication Arts Interactive Annual more like “Flash” Annual

Communication Arts Interactive Annual more like “Flash” Annual

Thanks for the article below. I agree whole-heartedly and considered applying this entry as a comment to the article below, except I was already planning to blog about this. The recent lawsuit of Target by the National Federation of the Blind is only a small indication of what’s to come.

If you’ve received Communications Arts Interactive Annual 12, you were probably impressed with the design and diversity of design solutions as I was. The sophistication of these sites is astounding. And the panel of judges were certainly leaders in their respective fields.

What I found shocking was the predominance of Flash-only based Web sites. Not just integrated chunks here and there, but full flash sites with embedded navigation and content. Of the 30 Web sites awarded, only 3 were traditional HTML-based sites and only our good friends at Veer had a standards-based CSS driven Web site. (I should note that a few of the sites had text-only versions, but they were more like after thoughts.)

At the risk of sounding like Jacob Nielsen, I think the judges chose style and presentation over usability and universal access. I’ve always considered CA a standard-bearer in the print world, and for a time in the web world too. But their choice of awardees sends a single to the design community that they are certainly not the standards-bearer. I’ll save the benefits of standards-based design for another article.

Seperation of content and presentation is a good thing, not just for the blind, but for everyone. Fortunately, there are pioneers like Zeldman, Meyer and others, who are moving the industry forward.

Flash has it’s purpose. We love Flash and use it extensively. My hope that we can educate the business community at large that a Flash site is the only way to set yourself apart. A little help from our peers CA would be nice.