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Flash Tip: Alternate Website for Non-Flash Users

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Flash Tip: Alternate Website for Non-Flash Users
While designing a website in Flash, it's easy to assume that your viewers will not have some version of the Macromedia Flash player installed on their machine, if not necessarily the latest version. However, you may find that a large percentage of your users either have an older version of the Flash player or none at all; their operating system may not support beyond a certain version, their computers may not have the resources to handle it, or they may simply choose not to utilize it.

You could simply write off this demographic, and if you're creating a personal website and don't care much about accessibility, that may work well enough for you. But if you're creating a professional website for yourself or working for a client in web design/flash animation, it would be wise of you to consider making a non-Flash alternative to the website.

I know, it sounds like a lot of work, but there's no need to start groaning just yet. If you use SSI, PHP, or any other programming language that lets you use includes, then you can easily make two copies of your layout template, one with HTML navigation, one with Flash navigation, and then simply change the name of the includes for the navigation on the non-Flash version of the site files. (This is, of course, only if you're using Flash elements in your site, rather than integrating all of the content--including text--into your Flash animation.)

This way, users have the choice of whether to browse the Flash site or the HTML site; those with dial-up or slower computers may even choose to use the HTML site simply to get to the information more quickly without straining their connection or their computers. From here you can proceed to create a splash page as your index page, with links to either the Flash website or the HTML website; or, you can use a Flash detection and redirection javascript (such as the one found at Dithered.com) to automatically check the user's computer for a compatible version of Flash and then, based on the findings, automatically redirect them to the appropriate version of the site.

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