Google Plans to Block Flash This Year: How Will This Impact Elearning?

If you haven’t already heard, Google aims to make HTML5 the primary experience in Chrome and will take steps to further block Flash content. Why is Google doing this, and what does it mean for Flash elearning content? Read our brief report to learn more.

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Flash back – a brief history

Adobe Flash, developed in 1996, changed the way we used and viewed online content – bringing high-end animation, online games, and compressed online videos to the masses. By providing rich, interactive desktop experiences, it also became the default way to create online learning.

However, Flash failed to keep up with changes in technology. As Smartphones took hold and people began to use multiple devices, Flash couldn’t keep up and HTML5 rose to prominence.

With Apple actively blocking Flash, it began to grow obsolete as iPhones took off and the Smartphone revolution soared. Naturally, multi-device HTML5 supports any screen size. So, whilst Android and other phone companies enabled Flash content to play, they have supported HTML5 above all.

Flash forward – the disappearing act

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In 2015, security issues came to light that revealed Flash was vulnerable to hacking. Google took steps to block Flash content from automatically playing on its browser, leading to Flash-based ads pausing by default.

Mozilla also blocked Flash until Adobe provided an updated version, and Facebook’s Chief Security Officer called for Adobe to end Flash altogether.

Now, under the “HTML5 by Default” plan revealed by Google, the tech giant is taking steps to block Flash advertising, though Flash is still the go-to option for online advertising.

As of June 30, 2016, advertisers will no longer be able to upload Flash ads. Any ads previously created in Flash will play only when there’s not an HTML5 alternative and if users choose to play it when presented with a prompt. The Google Ad network reaches 95.5% of desktop Internet users, so blocking Flash ads will ultimately force a shift to HTML5 across the industry, thereby putting another nail in Flash’s coffin.

You can read more about the issue in this Wall Street Journal article.

Why is HTML5 better?

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HTML5 products work across multiple devices, so they reach the widest of audiences more easily. In fact, the wide-ranging applicability of these products is the main reason for Google’s backing.

Given the number of people now using Smartphones-91% of the US population, for example-content that can automatically go-mobile will be what succeeds in the industry.

Related: Why mobile learning is important (4 reasons)

HTML5 is also more accessible than Flash, and loads and runs more quickly, particularly on mobile devices.

Flash, HTML5 and elearning

Sixty-three percent of adults use more than two devices per day; and 67% of people now use their mobile devices to learn – often switching between them to finish a task.

Mobile learning is not only here to stay, but is predicted to keep rising.  For that reason, HTML5 is what we choose to utilize.

We use fast-to-load HTML5 in Elucidat in order to ensure that your learning content works perfectly on any device. Elucidat is also fully responsive, meaning that you can see what it looks like on any gadget, publish it once, and it will work seamlessly across all of your devices.

See Elucidat’s Responsive Slider in action below:

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Unfortunately for Flash, it looks like it’s nearing the end of the road. If you have legacy Flash e-learning and you’re worried about its future, it’s easier than you might think to give it a multi-device makeover.

Next step: Take a look at our blog post, How to Convert Legacy Elearning.

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold is Customer Success Director at Elucidat. He helps large companies and training providers speed up and simplify their elearning authorin
Steve Penfold
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