We're about to release a Flash based web app, and a significant minority of the visitors are likely to be using iOS devices, and thus of course unable to use it in their browser. Sadly a switch away from Flash isn't feasible at this point.

What would be a good way to deal with these users? The objective is to minimise their annoyance and retain them as users.

I'm thinking a simple, branded page that;

  1. Explains
  2. Apologises
  3. Prompts them to forward the link to their email for later desktop consumption

My question is: Is this the best way to deal with the issue?

Are there any other factors to consider?

  • 3
    We obviously don't know the business criteria that went into the decision making of choosing a Flash application in 2013, but I'd go with #2, apologize.
    – DA01
    Apr 22, 2013 at 4:27
  • 1
    I'd go for the #2 as well. As a user I wouldn't be interested the slightest in reading the explanations. Apr 22, 2013 at 9:11
  • 3
    @DA01 Chris isn't providing options, he's suggesting doing all three of the above and wants to know if that is sufficient or if there are any alternatives.
    – JonW
    Apr 22, 2013 at 12:50
  • @JonW Ah, Well, regarding #3, I suppose that's an OK idea, though remember that a lot of folks aren't running Flash on the desktop anymore, either.
    – DA01
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:28
  • @jonW - precisely, I was thinking aout all 3 though it would need to be a one liner e.g. "We're sorry, this app doesn't run on iPhone / iPads." May 1, 2013 at 18:34

4 Answers 4


Well, firstly, do apologize for the inconvenience to the user. Then you can have a call to action button for reminding the user after a while to open the site on their computer. You can allow them to send the email reminder on a later time or send it right away.

Also, in the email, maintain the continuity of the experience. Start off where the user left earlier. Reinforce your apology for inconveniencing the user and say you hope they are happy/pleased with what they see. Maybe drop a note that you are working on an iOS friendly version and would love to remind them when it is out.


Depending on how complex the app is you could try using Swiffy

It converts Flash files to HTML5 so you can display them on devices that don't support Flash

Google uses it (or more likely a more complex in-house version of it) to make all their doodles (the little animations/games etc. on their home screen)

  • The app itself is fairly complex so it may not work, though I appreciate the link for other projects. May 1, 2013 at 18:35

Many devices other than iOS devices don't support Flash, Android going forward won't support Flash. I wish I could give you more constructive advice, but all I can offer is some tips. First, gain an understanding of the scope of the problem and try to figure out how many (or what percentage) of devices you cannot support (i.e. Flash-less devices) at this time. http://www.adobe.com/devnet-apps/flashruntimes/certified-devices.html. Also, research and find the some popular sites that are in this situation (rely on Flash and currently without an HTML5 alternative), and analyze how they respond to Flash-less devices in putting together your own strategy.

  • This doesn't really help out though. Assuming that the OP has already done all the research but still has to use flash, what should they do then?
    – JonW
    Apr 22, 2013 at 12:54
  • 1
    Since the concern was directed at iOS I assumed there was a good chance it wasn't completely researched. And I wanted to make the point "learn (copy) from those who've already been through this." If this has already been explored, then yes this advice is useless.
    – obelia
    Apr 22, 2013 at 14:15

Just don't do what many of the anti-IE crowd do which is block access to anyone not using your preferred browser/platform and redirecting to a page where they're mocked for their choice and told to come back when they've started using "a real browser".
I wouldn't apologise though, makes you look weak. Tell them instead that because of incompatibility between their device and your system they will not be able to access your website from that device. But be polite about it.

  • 3
    Apologies make you look weak? I'm not sure that's relevant on the web though, why do you say so? In this case they are weak because they haven't considered users that don't have Flash
    – JonW
    Apr 22, 2013 at 12:51
  • It's the maker of iOS who's weak for not caring about their customers' requirement to have Flash on their devices, rather choosing to for political reasons not enable for it. The application author who writes an application doesn't have to take every possible OS in existence into account, never happened and never will.
    – jwenting
    Apr 22, 2013 at 14:03
  • 2
    @jwenting, we are talking about the web! Of course you have to take every platform into account (well, for as far as it makes sense based on your audience). I know that "Write once, run everywhere" isn't like the actual world, but with this attitude towards cross-compatibility we won't ever get there.
    – user12741
    Apr 22, 2013 at 14:12
  • @jwenting It might come as a surprise to you, but flash is no longer supported on android either. That is two giants in smartphones with no flash support.
    – rk.
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:10
  • 4
    I disagree. IE users should be mocked mercilessly.
    – DA01
    Apr 22, 2013 at 15:29

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