David's Corner No.3: Goodbye Flash, Updating Googlebot's User Agent, and David Carson Says Computer Make You Lazy

November 18, 2019

Today in David's Corner, David shares three of his latest article finds to keep readers up on current end-of-year tech updates. First off, everybody say goodbye to Adobe Flash because Microsoft Windows will officially stop supporting the late video player come December 2020. And, In more pressing news, SEO professionals should be prepared to adapt when Google updates Googlebot's user-agent strings in December 2019! Finally, David rounds off this round of updates with a simple interview with design icon David Carson, who shares his take on grid-style layouts in design (hint, he is not a fan).


Goodbye, Flash

David Minton

Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Takeaway: Adobe boasted over 1 billion installations of Flash Player at one time, but the life of the once-ubiquitous format is rapidly coming to an end. Flash, which allowed developers and content creators to create once and deploy rich media across a wide array of platforms and devices, has been eclipsed over the last few years by HTML5 and similar open formats. Apple banned Flash from iOS since the release of the original iPhone, which may have marked the beginning of the end as far back as 2008, though Flash continued on other platforms for years. Earlier this year Microsoft announced it would drop support for Flash after 2020. Google will likely further hasten Flash’s demise with this week’s announcement that the search giant will stop indexing Flash content by the end of 2019. Flash, you had a good run, but your time has come to an end.

Tags: #Google, #SEO


Updating the user agent of Googlebot

David Minton

Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog

Takeaway: Bots such as web crawlers visit websites every day. While many may be up to no good, some, such as the crawlers employed by search engines such as Google and Bing are indispensable. Those involved of the minutia of website analytics are familiar with “user agents,” the strings bots such as Googlebot report to webservers and analytics programs report to identify themselves. Which bots are accessing, and how they may be identifies is important in both filtering analytics, as well as configuring sites so bots don’t go where are neither needed nor wanted. Starting in December 2019, Google will be resining the user agent for Googlebot to reflect the use of the Chrome rendering engine. Further, Google will update the user agent to reflect the latest version of the engine in use. If your website has functionality that is dependent of identifying particular user agents, You should use feature detection instead of user agent sniffing, to avoid problems this change could introduce.

Tags: #Google, #Analytics


Anti-grid Design Icon David Carson Says Computers Make You Lazy + Indie Magazines Needs to Liven Up

David Minton

Source: AIGA Eye on Design

Takeaway: I have to admit, when it comes to design I am a fan of grids, and the order and structure they impose on Design. This could be a result of bias in my design education since my academic training was in the School of Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill. Even without computers, our design was often focused on page layout and typography for newspapers, where the expectation is order and consistency. Though, back in the 1980’s there was also a popular movement to publish independent “zines,” full of collages and what felt to me like chaos. All of this came back to me when reading an interview with David Carson, a widely influential designer is the “anti-grid” movement known for his work in Ray Gun magazines, as well collaborations with musicians such as Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne. Speaking to Eye on Design, Carson shared “Designers have become lazy and let computers make too many decisions for them. There’s a renewed interest in being able to tell that there’s a human behind it.” Unfortunately, I see conflict between Carson’s print work, which he himself says blurs the line between graphic design and fine art, and the world I work in, wherby which websites must deliver instantly comprehendible content on any size display from phone to ultra-high-definition panel. I won’t say one is right and the other wrong, but rather, design aesthetics need to match the audience and medium.

Tags: #Design


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