In November, I wrote a Note over at 9rules about the new all-Flash MTV.com site and how much I loved it. To me it was a great example of a Flash site done right. During the web standards movement it was blasphemy to even consider any type of site done in Flash and my thoughts on this were:
People tend to think that because of the great web standards movement that every site is meant for the great CSS/XHTML movement. We all know that every site is different and that you have to apply the technology that the site needs. In this case, I don’t see a problem at all with an all-Flash site. MTV is an entertainment and interactive brand and this site gives its users the chances to do that.
Now you might go to the site and scoff at having to wait for it to load, but the wait time isn’t that bad on a broadband connection and once you are inside things run pretty smoothly. If you are addicted to MTV and music news and features the site doesn’t disappoint and gives you plenty of options to go through. For me the Flash fits the function of the site. MTV isn’t looking for search engines hits to their sites so the indexing is not an issue. They are simply looking to entertain.
If the Flash doesn’t do it for you then you can use the XHTML version by clicking the link in the lower-right corner. That version is also nicely done and was designed by Mr. Cederholm. I don’t think more and more sites should make the move towards Flash, but I do think a lot more sites can find better uses for it instead of ignoring it all together. If people are really moving away from TV to the web as all the reports say then the ones who haven’t are more than likely waiting for the web to be just as entertaining and useful to them as television.
Unlike sites of the late 90’s and early 21st century, Flash usage on MTV isn’t what makes the site. The design itself is spectacular (love the grid) and the Flash offers a great complement to the design. They weren’t using Flash just to use it, it serves a purpose.
When I think of new Web 2.0 sites springing about the only example of Flash usage I could think of involves video players and honestly couldn’t think of any other site that would benefit from Flash usage, but my thinking is small. Are there sites out there that could benefit from a bit of Flash usage and not just from an entertainment perspective?
The site isn’t perfect and a couple of things that could be improved:
- Loading times. I visited the site on a fast connection so I was able to get to the glory quickly and so on a slower connection I had the patience to wait. However, I’m not sure that will work with people who are trying to take a peek at the site initially from a slow connection. Maybe on the loading splash page offer a link to the xhtml site so users have the option to bypass the Flash.
- RSS feeds. I know the intended audience might not use them at all, but there is still no reason to not give the people the option to know when your site updates. Of course this is a problem for a Flash site since there are no permalinks. Anyone have a solution for this?
- Preferences. I prefer to view the site in video mode because I love to sit back and watch the music videos, but I don’t like having to wait for the site to load and then click the video version and wait for that to load. Give me my version during the first loading.