Are we creating the problem?

In light of the recent surge in the HTML5 vs Flash debate making waves in our industry, I’ve been thinking a lot about education in our field. We often defend Flash by saying that much of the complaints — like not being able to use the back button or pointless animations that take forever to load, for example — stem from lazy developers or bad developers who just happened to pick Flash as their weapon of choice.

I think this is true. Designers and developers often choose to create a project in Flash for the wrong reasons. We tend to brush this off as if it’s not our problem. How can it really be my problem that someone else is using Flash to create a completely crappy site, right? (Feel free to substitute HTML5 for Flash in that last sentence, because that could easily happen as well.)

I want to believe that those folks are building sites like that in spite of knowing or having been taught better. That they made a conscious choice to make a site that fails on both aesthetic and functional levels on purpose. But then I find seemingly legitimate online Flash classes that are teaching lessons like “Building a Flash Restaurant Web Site” and “Building a Simple Site in Flash” or something similar. No HTML or user experience considerations are covered in these lessons. The essential theme of these lessons is that it’s okay to build a really basic site in Flash and forget about all those silly little details.

As an industry, if we’re teaching lessons like that, is it our own fault new designers and developers don’t know how to pick the right technology for the job?

Sure, not *all* classes are like that, but there are enough of them out there.

There are other things about education in our industry could use work in my opinion, but in general I think it’s pretty out of touch with how the really good work is done.