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Is your company’s learning and employee training library prepared for the death of Adobe Flash in 2020?

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Nick Ramsay

Adobe’s decision to finally axe support for its cross-platform multimedia tool in 2020 will affect everything from your website to your corporate digital training library

Ten years after Apple’ Steve Jobs penned the infamous tech treatise "Thoughts on Flash",Adobe will finally end support for its once popular multimedia platform in 2020. Essentially this means that Flash and Flash-based multimedia content will be obsolete by the end of 2020. 

What is Flash? 

In the early days of the internet, Flash was the most popular platform used by developers to produce creative multimedia web content like games, animations, and videos. Whilst YouTube popularised its use, Flash was also the underlying platform for some of the early internet’s biggest viral hits prior to the YouTube era with games like Bejeweled and the Homestar Runner animations. 

Since its release in 2014, however, HTML5 has rapidly grown in popularity with web developers and content producers as Flash’s use has steadily declined. HTML5’s open ecosystem has eliminated some of the security flaws over which critics of Flash, such as Jobs, have long expressed concerns. Flash-based content, as you may recall, also requires the user to download an additional browser plugin in order to enable your chosen web browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) to play the content.

The real turning point in Flash’s demise however was HTML5's inclusion of adaptive bitrate streaming (ABS) when it was released in 2014. ABS is the technology that allows streaming video content providers like YouTube and Netflix to adapt the streaming speed and quality of a video to a consumer’s internet bandwidth and screen resolution, significantly reducing buffering times. Web browsers Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari, not only adopted HTML5 as well but then began blocking Flash-based content in the latter half of 2015 and 2016.

How does the death of Flash affect your company?

Companies boasting substantive volumes of multimedia training materials and web content need to quickly begin the process of migrating content formats from Flash over to HTML5 before Adobe ends support in 2020 or risk losing valuable data and information. 

Now is a crucial time for organisations to audit their digital content and ensure that website, video, and audio content on e-learning platforms are HTML5 ready in order to keep the disruption to learners to a minimum. Waiting until 2020 to begin migrating content may be too late as any remaining web browsers like Firefox are continuing to restrict Flash content

Junction-18 further predicts a labour shortage next year as talented developers are already increasingly tied up with contracts to migrate legacy content from Flash to HTML5. Companies and organisations who aren’t already undergoing this migration may find it difficult to secure the necessary talent to ensure their content’s viability next year. Junction-18 can help with this migration. 

An opportunity to assess your training materials

The death of Flash isn’t all doom and gloom! Whilst migrating the technical format of their content, this is an ideal time for companies to also review the overall quality of their employee training content - and Junction-18 is here to help. Junction-18 can help you and your organisation re-purpose your existing learning content into digitally engaging material that your employees will find memorable. We use techniques such as animation, video, 3-D graphics and gamification to help organisations like yours train and get the best out of your talent. E-mail me at nick.ramsay@junction-18.com to learn more.