Flash Ads Are Breaking The Web

Spread the Word

Flash Ads are breaking web interfaces. Like this:


Actual screenshot from YouTube.

Flash ads cover up and break interfaces.
Even major sites have this problem.
In many cases, site owners CANNOT fix it.

Ad networks need to simply set wmode to
“transparent” or “opaque” on flash embeds.

See an example of how easy this is →


With more awareness, we can push ad networks to fix this issue.


It’s all about wmode, a parameter that specifies how a flash object is rendered on a webpage.

wmode needs to be explicitly set to opaque or transparent. If it is not, no elements on the webpage can go above the flash. EVER.

This is easy when you own the flash content, which is not the case for Flash Ads.

If the Flash Ad is not in an iframe. You can use FlashHeed to fix it.

If the Flash Ad is in an iframe, THERE IS NO FIX*.
* Unless the iframe is on a domain you control, or the correct wmode parameter is already set. But, this is most likely not the case for most ad networks.

WAIT, WHAT?! There is no fix??

Yep, that's right

So, I have to redesign my website’s UI in order to avoid this problem?

Yep, Google even suggests this. This is ludicrous in the 21st century web, which is brimming with dynamic overlaying UI elements. Google cannot expect site owners to redesign their site to accommodate these lazy Flash issues.

I heard that setting wmode to anything other than window causes performance issues.

Yes, that is true. However, we're talking about small simple Flash embeds, not fullscreen games with heavy animations. The average consumer these days have machines that are fast enough that Flash ads won't be a performance issue.


This site was created by James Yu, a web developer and designer who is tired of Flash Ads breaking the web.

He wrote FlashHeed to solve part of the problem for use at Scribd, and released it so other sites could fix some of their Flash Ads.

You can follow him at @jamesjyu.