Why I Broke Up With My Flash Website

Posted on September 15, 2011

(Above: My new website. 100% Flash-free.)


I recently made the decision to go in another direction with my website — away from an entirely Flash-based portfolio — to something done completely with HTML. In the past few years, I realized that I would be better served with a more flexible system that can grow with me, my business, and the evolution of technology. My Flash website, which at one time seemed like cutting edge stuff, was showing its age and limitations.

It was time to move on.

I am certainly no stranger to the web. In 1998, I used Adobe Pagemill to maintain my first website (built by life-long friend Joe Gosen.) This site did quite well in it’s time, but since it was entirely in HTML it was difficult to update. I needed an easier way.

In 2005 I moved away from HTML, and fully embraced Flash. I bought a liveBooks website, and was thrilled with how easy it was to update. The pictures were large, and the images moved on the screen. The interface seemed easy to use, and the people at liveBooks were (and still are) great, helpful people.

Within a few years, I started to see limitations. The first one being that I couldn’t integrate my online image archive. My archive, which as of this writing has 51,240 images in it, was awkwardly disconnected from my portfolio. I put so much effort into filling up my archive, and I felt it deserved to have more visibility.

In 2009 I started a WordPress blog, with the intention of using it to frame my PhotoShelter photo archive, and drive traffic to what is my biggest potential for online revenue generation. My archive is a huge asset for me. Hiding it made no sense.

Also around this time I started to grow concerned about Flash itself. It doesn’t work on iPhones or iPads. It was slow on some computers. There were SEO complications associated with Flash that required a complicated work-around. And Steve Jobs didn’t like it.

I began to doubt that my Flash-based website was going to be able to grow with me. I saw a time limit approaching, and didn’t want to wait until I had no time left.

So, the other day, I moved my portfolio website to WordPress as well. And, looking at it, you’d never think it was WordPress. Thanks to the brilliant helpful folks at Graph Paper Press, I finally have a website that can grow along with advanced in technology, and the changes in the photography business.

I am using a slightly modified version of GPP’s “Sidewinder” theme. The images are large, it loads quickly, and it’s easy to maintain. Best yet, every single image within my portfolio has a link directly to a page where they can be licensed. Finally, a revenue component within my archive!

My Flash-based website was fun while it lasted. We had some good times together. But recently we’ve grown apart, and I think it’s best that we go our separate ways. It’s not, you, Flash – it’s me. Actually no, that’s not true. It’s not me at all.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Craig Kohlruss September 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Hey Brad! Looks great. I’m going to take a look at some of the GPP themes for my own blog.


  2. Chris Talley September 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    This is very timely of you. I just saw that IE 10 is dumping support for Flash.

  3. Tim Wood September 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Brad, your move is great! Love the new template, plus with being in wordpress you can support mobile theme options as well. I’m in the same process of moving from flash to WP, how are you handling loading the photos?

  4. owen billcliffe September 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Hi Brad,

    Good post – it almost exactly echoes my experience with building a Flash portfolio and then starting to worry once iPads started visiting my site. I went with GPP and Sidewinder too; it’s a great look for your work, and your $ link is a neat idea too.

    Chris – it’s only the Metro version of IE10 that’s dropping plugin support; like Apple, MS seem to be going with a plugin-friendly ‘desktop’ OS and plugin-unfriendly ‘touch’ OS.

  5. Chicago Photographer September 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Smart move Brad. I suspect that this will be a trend since these WordPress blogs looks so good. Not to mention cost a lot less than a custom flash site.

  6. MDAVIDLEEDSphotos September 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I could have written this!
    Fine tuning my GPP site this weekend for launch next week!

    Site and photos looking great as always, Brad.

    Hope you’re doing well.

    All the best
    M David Leeds

  7. Brad Mangin September 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks everyone! I am thrilled with my new site, and had a blast digging through my archive of pictures to put it all together.

    Tim- I simply upload my images through the Word Press bck end which is super easy.

    Good luck to everyone out there who is undergoing similar changes.


  8. Bob DeChiara September 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Great job Brad. The site looks great. More and more sites are moving away from Flash since as you mentioned the iPhone & iPad do not support Flash. Good stuff!!

  9. Pingback: Why I Broke Up With My Flash Website – by Brad Mangin | The Photo Brigade

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  14. Harry Hilders May 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Smart move. Flash is outdated and Google-unfriendly 😉

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