Less Flash – More user engagement

Date: 15th July 2010
Author: Deri Jones

It’s true that over time, the pain that Flash causes when trying to measure meaningful user journeys on an ecommerce platform, I’ve learnt to live with.  It just does make the web test engineers task more demanding, especially when clients have bespoked up clever encryption or data pushing implementations, like some of the recent flash project testing we’ve seen.

But it seems that we’re not the only ones with a Flash issue.  Whilst Scribd, the social document sharing players were willing to drop their 3 year investment in flash coding on their site, confidence in just how well it turned out for them is much higher than any could have expected.

Back in May they announced their intention to drop Flash, and move ship to HTML5, committing themselves to recreating tens of millions documents to HTML5.

The outcome, the same 50 million unique visitors each month: but they are staying longer and sharing more with friends.

In parallel of course, Scribd have added Facebook  integration and the launch of iPad has helped them too – so like any before and after comparison in ecommerce  it’s hard to be sure of any one root cause.

CTO Jared Friedman  said that user engagement had doubled recently, indicating some serious web acceleration.

I don’t suppose the stream of website testing we see for Flash (and for Flash video streaming testing  too of course) is going to dry up any time soon, but it is going to be interesting to see how the HTML5 versus Flash debate develops.