What is a Flash E-Card?

When we’re talking about e-cards, there are two main types: static and animated. On the animated side, the type that is currently the most predominant in the industry is the Flash e-card. Flash e-cards are created using Adobe Flash, which is software that allows for the design and output of vector image based animation presentations. Flash output files are embedded into an HTML file and uploaded to a website for viewing on a web browser. Flash animations are the most widespread on the web.  This is due to their vast compatibility, production quality, and therefore, their effectiveness. Due to this, the Flash format has proven to be a great vessel for the modern media-rich e-card.

Flash, as a technology, has been around in various forms since the mid-1990s. As such, it’s been able to develop and change in-step with the evolution of the Internet. This has led to a format that not only continues to meet the multimedia needs of web users, but in turn, has become compatible across most of the personal computer web browsing landscape. Up until recently, most of the major web browsers came with Adobe’s Flash player either pre-installed, or as an easily-accessible download. Therefore, any user that views the web using Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Opera would have no problem viewing a Flash e-card. As, at the time of writing this article, 99% of the world’s web surfers use one of these five browsers to access the Internet, a Flash e-card will reach a very high amount of personal computer users.   When it comes to mobile, Flash is still present, but not in such high numbers as with personal and laptop computers.  So far, only some e-card vendors are adopting HTML5 as a fallback solution for animated Flash e-cards on mobile devices (i.e. when a recipient doesn’t have Flash on their device, they’ll get an HTML5 e-card version).

Beside its desktop compatibility advantage, Flash stands out as the most rich and complex animation experience of any current web graphics format. Flash allows for elaborate, yet exceptionally smooth animation sequences, integrated audio, video, multiple fonts and lines of text, and user interactivity. In the e-card realm, this leads to beautifully-designed and immersive animated products that engage the recipient.  HTML5 is closing the gap, but it will likely be a number of years before HTML5 could replace Flash completely.

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