A large number of sites lately which use Flash to replace what would be simple HTML headings (h1, h2, h3). Some of them do it consistently for every header.

Why would you do this? What are the pros and cons of this?

This seems strange to me and really inefficient, particularly since a page can have dozens of headers. I notice this because I use Flash Block (which temporarily disables Flash), so not everyone may have seen it.

Just today I landed here with 4 flash headers. I've seen dozens of such use of Flash this week alone, and I am wondering if this has some benefits.

2 Answers 2


The sites do it so that they can use a particular font, which is not likely to be installed on most users' computers. That method is called sIFR, or Scalable Inman Flash Replacement.

However newer browsers support newer font technologies as WOFF and companies which host web fonts for you like Fontdeck and Typekit. The advantage of them over the flash method is that it doesn't need flash, and if you don't have javascript enabled you see text in a default font. However you may have to pay the companies doing the font hosting.

  • Interesting. I do think it looks so different than the non-flash font in most cases and since it interrupts the background I think it look worst.... But what about the effect on SEO? Headers are supposed to be very important.
    – Itai
    Mar 3, 2011 at 16:28
  • The search engine bots won't see the flash, they'll just see <h2><span class="sifr-alternate">heading</span></h2> - so the heading isn't lost to them. Mar 3, 2011 at 17:03

I would go with Images instead of Flash. You can put the content of the image ( i.e.: "home") in the ALT and Title-tag. I don't know whether Google is already able to navigate through Flash menu's, but if it doesn't, it's far more SEO and user-friendly to use images.

Edit: There are scripts available which convert <h2> tags, for instance, to image with the font of your choice.

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