Data-viz of computer energy consumption

Data visualisation of domestic computer use

The data visualisation shows domestic computer use in four households. This interactive application is part of Electric Footprint and the data feeds are from plugwise installations in DEHEMS.

Adobe Flash versus HTML5

This data visualisation and all the other data visualiation and info graphics were made with flash. For those who don't know Adobe® Flash® Professional CS5.5 software is the industry-leading authoring environment for producing expressive interactive content. As this site demonstrates Flash enables artists to create wonderful interactive applications.

The problem with Flash

Flash is proprietary software, that is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. Many supporters of open software are against Flash because unlike open software all the code is closed and only the licensee can change anything. This means that Adobe can change the nature of how Flash is viewed. For example before broadband internet I created CDs of my work. I could send my portfolio of Flash animations out to potential clients and they could put the CD into their computer and view my work. Adobe made security changes to the plug-in which brought up a security warning when the potential client attempted to play my work, and obviously this put the potential client off looking at my work. This is something like Windsor & Newton suddenly changing how blue is displayed on paintings. Proprietary software vendors can change how their software behaves.

Another problem with Flash

Flash is similar to a self contained movie, and like a picture or a movie the information it contains is unreadable by a computer. For the world web to be interconnected information needs to be accessible, it needs to be text which computers can read. The majority of internet traffic comes from search engines. So if a search engine cannot index your site then your site cannot be found on the web, your site will only be viewed by people who know the address.

The navigation bar in the top left hand corner of the screen was designed in Flash. Click on one of the images to navigate to another part of the site. Because the links are embedded in Flash google cannot index the links so it is difficult find on the web. (Well it would be if I hadn't handcoded html as alternate content.) This is the problem with Flash, it enables designers and animators to create fantastic interactive applications but it doesn't matter how wonderful they are if no one can find them. Sites are desperate to improve their search engine rankings. Which is why there are few sites in 2011 that use Flash for navigation. In fact Flash could have died out if you tube hadn't decided to use the Flash player to show videos. Which is why Flash is installed on most computers so that people can watch videos.

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