The only reason anyone goes to a restaurant website is to find out basic information about the food, the space, the prices, the hours of service, and how to make a reservation — and yet, some business owners are seemingly hellbent on making it impossible to find this stuff by burying it in a thicket of useless photographs, animation, and interactive nonsense. Many of the worst of offenders use Adobe Flash to bewilder diners with unexpected bursts of digital gibberish. But now, eaters across America won’t have to worry about getting pummeled with auto-roll videos or animated mascots cavorting around their laptop screen because Adobe Flash is going the way of the Dodo.
An Adobe spokesperson explains that the company will “stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020,” which means that diners will only have to suffer through all those breakdancing dumplings and eerily floating photos of cedar plank salmon for a few more years.
Before popping a cork to celebrate the forthcoming Adobepocalypse, let’s take a look at two truly awful Flash-heavy homepages, and one site that hilariously mocks the trend.
Stephen Starr always has his ear to the ground when it comes to culinary movements, but in terms of website design, he’s still stuck in 2008. Drag your curser over any of the dozens of teeny, tiny little photos to make them turn blue and then teleport into the center of the screen. Then, once they’re in the middle of the page you can also drag the cursor over the pics to summon meaningless words like “textures,” “flavors,” “contemplate,” and “evolved.” This website shouldn’t be in your browser — it belongs in a museum.
This Manhattan nightmare factory really leans into its bad ideas, like having costumed waiters performing menacing magic tricks at the table, and serving a crab dish with what critic Frank Bruni described as “a grapefruit that belches smoke.” The poor decision-making also extends to the website, which includes flashes of gnarly food porn, animated script, a glistening logo, pan pipes, drum beats, and the phrases, “the great atmosphere,” “the best service,” and “the finest Japanese food.” To its credit, the Ninja homepage does give potential guests a taste of the anxiety-inducing experience they will suffer if they choose to dine here.
Salazar, one of the hottest Los Angeles dining establishments to open over the last few years, decided to lampoon the entire Flash-enable restaurant website trend with its homepage, which includes Drudge sirens, scrolling Comis Sans text, breakdancing MC Hammers, and an auto-play synth-only version of Haddaway’s “What Is Love.” Bravo.
Do you have a favorite example of awful Flash usage on a restaurant’s homepage? Please share your thoughts in the comments.