Twelve years ago I was working at an Interactive Marketing Firm.
These two agencies were the Gods of web design at the time. And they both built everything 100% in an application called Macromedia Flash. (later sold to Adobe)
During these years, Flash was the king of web design.
- 2Advanced used to throw huge Raves/Dance parties in exclusive nightclubs when they launched a new version of their portfolio site. The owner would DJ. He was a rockstar.
- The EgoMedia guys wore suits and looked like a team of James Bonds. They had video animations and an audio player on their site. This was insane for that time,
Everyone wanted a Flash website. And the group I worked with were one of a thousand agencies spitting them out for clients.
A few years later, I started to notice a trend.
The Birth of CSS
A lot of the sites in 2Advanced’s portfolio had been replaced with simplified HTML versions. CSS had just come onto the scene and all of the sudden, people were prioritizing their site’s functionality over slick design.
I wrote a blog post about my feelings it and what I thought the future might hold for the flashy agencies that had been on top for so long.
I titled it “The Death of 2Advanced” and posted it to this very domain. (at the time my blog was called ‘The Brain Dump’)
The next day, I woke up to a hellstorm of traffic and comments. My posts usually got 40–50 views. This one had 4,500 in a day. Soon it would hit hundreds of thousands of views.
There were tons of comments. People from all over the world were arguing over the future of design.
The post was being shared in web design forums in China, Brazil, Russia and Germany. It was everywhere.
Why did it blow up like this?
Well – without realizing it – I had touched on an extremely hot topic that was going on worldwide.
The comments and views kept coming for years.
Several years later, I deleted the entire blog (I have a bad habit of that) and the post was lost.
At least that’s what I thought.
“Flash” Forward to 2017
As you probably know by now – Flash did die.
It was buggy, took forever to load and was hard to navigate. It didn’t work very well on mobile. And these days many web browsers don’t support it at all.
2Advanced and Egomedia also died.
2Advanced.com hasn’t been updated for years and Egomedia.com doesn’t even exist anymore.
It’s sad really. I was entrenched in that world for a decade and making animated, interactive Flash websites was my favorite thing to do for years.
But life moves on and I forgot about it really – until yesterday.
Adobe Flash Is Dead
Yesterday morning, I opened up Twitter and saw a Moment titled “Flash is being killed off”.
The headline gave me a serious Flashback and I started reading.
It appears that yesterday, about 12 years after my blog post that pissed off half the planet, Adobe announced that they were finally killing Flash for good.
Flash will be eliminated from the internet by 2020.
As I read the story, I reflected on my old blog post. I remembered how amazing it was to see it ping-pong all over the world and create such a huge discussion.
I wished I hadn’t deleted it.
Then I thought of the Wayback Machine over at Archive.org.
I did a Google search for “The Death Of 2Advanced”. Surprisingly, there were still blogs with live links to the article.
I grabbed the url from one of them and was able to get the date. Next, I went to Archive.org and went back to the year 2005. And Boom! I found it.
I’m adding it here today – as a memorial of sorts. I’m also going to redirect the old post url to this post so that if/when someone clicks one of those links, it will bring them here, instead of a dead page.
The full post is copied below.
Goodbye dear Flash.
You were one of the most enjoyable internet toys I ever found.
Thank you for your service and when you get to the otherside, please give my regards to Geocities.
The Death of 2Advanced
The original post from 2005.
A few years ago, if you asked me what the future of the internet was I would have undoubtedly said “Flash, 3D and Video Everywhere.” I would have talked about how as PC user’s bandwidth grew the acceptance of heavier filesizes would allow for much much more high-end animation.
A few years later it feels like Flash’s use as an animated website tool is dying.
You just don’t see it much anymore. Sure you have the sector where a hardcore flash site makes sense as in the movie and game websites, but as for me, as a standard, the flash wave that was seemingly going to be the ‘future of the internet’ is now taking a shot in the side due to the explosion of CSS, usability, and web standards.
Sites like stylegala, cssvault and cssimport are showcasing beautifully designed sites that also happen to function extremely well. The use of flash is minimal and when it is used it is normally criticized or seen as something that can be overlooked in an otherwise beautiful website.
Now I figure much of this change of pace is due to my own change of focus from flash design to css design but there is some hard evidence that the high end flash animated websites are fading.
Case Study – 2Advanced Studios
For years 2Advanced has been putting out some of the best high end flash web work in the game. 4–5 years ago you could definately say that Eric Jordan was flat out one of the best flash designers around.
These days the design community has caught up to overcome most of those old kings including fellow flash pioneers Ego Media who introduced us to the use of video in flash 6–7 years ago but who’s current Ego7 entity is ho-hum at best. So anyway, where was I?
Oh yeah, I’m using 2Advanced as an example. Most times when 2 Advanced launches a flash website you’ll see it win alot of site of the day awards, the sites are slick and fun and deserve the recognition.
I’m sure the hits go through the roof and whomever the lucky company is that hired them for the job recieves quite a bit of attention for that few days. 99% of the traffic will not read one sentence about what they do but hey… 50k – 100K hits a day can’t hurt.
Go back to these sites a few months later and the heavy flashed sites are history. POOF! Gone… history… nowhere to be found… where did they go?
I don’t know… Web-Heaven? You find that they’ve been replaced by an html version of the original flash site or redesigned completely without the use of flash.
Joshtodd.com – launched as flash site. immediately after intial launch it was replaced by an html version, a years later it’s gone completely.
realtybid.com/ – launched as a heavily animated hybrid site. all flash now gone.
broadcom.com/ – launched as a heavily animated hybrid site. all flash now gone
skyworksinc.com/ – launched as a heavily animated hybrid site. since redesigned most flash gone now.
This is an example of what’s happening at one company. I’m not bashing 2A here I’m just saying that there is a world-wide shift happening from animated flash site design to well coded, usable sites built with xhtml/css/etc. I’m definately not saying that I’m better than they are at anything because that would be lying. I’m merely looking around – and making a comment based on my observations.
I can only assume that 1 of 2 things are happening. (and you know what that makes out of you and me)
After the intial “fever” of the launch of these high end sites the company that is represented by said site begins to experience usability issues.
User errors, bugs, emails from people who don’t know what to do, complaints from folks without the flash player and then there’s this whole content management problem and the fact that the bandwith usage has skyrocketed and it’s going to cost $1000 a month to keep this up and running…
2Advanced has the foresight to say, ok we’re going to launch this amazing flash site in an effort to get as much attention as humanly possible. After the initial push we’ll tone down the look/feel so that your site is actually usable, updateable and you don’t have to pay $1000 a month to host due to bandwith usage.
Now I will say that Flash has a future and in a big way. Companies like Fantasy Interactive are paving the way these days as far as using flash as an application development tool which can also make things move around.
They basically designed and launched one of the coolest sites in history in http://www.rr.com/flash/.
Now here is a site that totally destroys everything I said above. IF (and that’s a big IF) we say that flash website design is still the future of the internet this is the direction it will go. Smart, usable, complex website applications that both entertain and function well… now that’s a future I can look forward to.
And when all this becomes too much for me to think about anymore I just close my eyes and try to imagine how many times since the launch of the roadrunner site a client has told a designer “I want my site to be like that please… and in 3 weeks… and for $5k.”
Eyes rolling, head sagging.