Nowadays, websites need to be interactive, informational, and flashy (no pun intended) in order to keep users attention. With the explosion of mobile technologies such as the iPhone, iPad, Droid, etc., users are now able to view websites from wherever they are. This increase in availability and connectivity is great for conveying information over many types of media platforms, but it also proves to be a formidable problem in terms of compatibility.

Traditionally, many sites that used animations did so with Macromedia’s Flash. Flash allowed developers to add functionality and interactivity to their sites like never before with animations, audio, and video elements. With this, developers could now add a video clip to their site in order to grab users’ attention or play a slideshow of images with integrated audio. Flash seemed to be what every designer was looking for–until the introduction of a Javascript library called jQuery.

One of the main reasons that jQuery has begun to take an upper hand over Flash is the simple fact of compatibility. Most, if not all, web browsers (even mobile) support Javascript which in turn means they support jQuery. Devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod do not support Flash, and most likely will never in the future, which poses a large problem to sites that are purely Flash based.

Although compatibility is an important issue to keep in mind, speed is an even more important factor when it comes to the web. Simply put, users only want two things out of a website: it works well, and it’s fast. With Flash, objects needed to be part of the page, thus slowing the load speed depending on the size of the file. jQuery allows developers to have near identical functionality of Flash (and more) in the same size file as this article. This allows developers to create complex functions that accomplish anything from animations, to computations with less effort and code.

jQuery’s minimalistic approach to web development allows users to interact with websites more efficiently, more quickly, and on a broader range of media devices than ever before. When it comes down to it, jQuery allows developers to create rich, interactive websites with much less time and complexity than Flash. Could your Flash site be one of those forgotten and left behind by today‚Äôs users?

Originally written by Justin Simonelli.