The Future of Flash Technology in Market Research

Flash logoEarlier this month Adobe – creator of Flash technology – announced that it will no longer develop out Flash for smartphone and tablet devices and will only continue providing security updates and patches. When it comes to mobile support, Adobe is instead getting on the HTML5 bandwagon with Apple, Google, Microsoft, and RIM. Regardless of the fact that Flash has never been supported in Apple iOS’s Safari (a large portion of the US and global smartphone market), the technology has never been truly optimized and scaled for any mobile platforms.

What does this mean for market research? Flash is still a great resource for creating visually-rich survey questions, but because the technology has only been (and only will be) designed for desktop survey-takers, researchers who still require the technology should take one or more of the following measures to ensure a proper respondent experience:

  1. Implement automatic browser checks at the beginning of the questionnaire that disable respondents with unsupported browsers from taking the survey.
  2. If the technology from #1 is unavailable, disclose to respondents on the first page of the questionnaire the specific browsers and devices for which the survey has been designed.

Of course the best way to ensure universal support and to eliminate “device bias” among your respondents is to use plugin-agnostic technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript that are supported by nearly all browsers and devices. As the HTML5 standard is finalized over the next few years, more and more resources will emerge (and have already emerged) that reproduce some of the visually rich and intuitive content that Flash has traditionally brought to the table. This technology standardization and defragmentation across platforms (desktop vs. smartphone vs. feature phone), coupled with the rapid smartphone adoption seen in developed nations, should provide researchers with a more streamlined design process for multimode surveys down the road.

Posted on December 1, 2011 in Blog

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About the Author

Erica is the Marketing Manager for Kinesis Survey Technologies. She loves bringing you the latest from the industry and engaging on social media! You can even reach Erica directly, to discuss this blog on

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