Not sure what discipline your dissertation is based around (are you studying to be a Web developer?), but remember..... there is NO SUCH THING as a Flash Web site..... only HTML, PHP, ASP, etc. sites that that may or may not have some Flash content.
So perhaps a better questions is "Should Flash be used for content on Web sites?".
As an experienced Flash developer myself, I find it amusing that non-Flash developers often offer advise on Flash "Best Practices"!
For many years now, the use of Flash content on Web sites has offered the ability to provide great video and animation without sacrificing ANY SEO.....provided the developer adhears to Flash "Best Practices". In fact, in some instances, the use of Flash can IMPROVE SEO over just HTML!
The very simple solution to the use of Flash content on Websites is to use Flash detection like swfobject.js and provide alternate content:
The use of alternate content has long been a Flash "Best Practice"... as most Flash developers already know.... that includes alternate navigation, text content, images, even alternate video formats! ...HTML5 alternate video formats is nothing new!
And as it stands now, Flash video and animation content can be far advanced over HTML5 video or animation. This would include the ability to create unique video players... including custom playlists, alpha channel videos that overlay the Web page, easily have the video interact with other elements on the Web page, provide excellent animations, and of course, provide alternate text content for enhanced SEO.
Even the very simplest of Flash video players can provide a complete text narration of any video it is displaying.
So let's review.... HTML5 video... where you need 4 different video formats..
while you may be able to add a few "tags"... how good is the SEO compared to a "Best Practices" Flash video which may also include a complete text narration of the video, along with video camera and setup description, author, location, keywords, tags, etc.
In short, there is no SEO or browser compatability reason to not include Flash ("Best Practices content") in Web sites. You are not giving something up by using Flash, you are only adding to a Web site. Browsers without Flash are simply server a trimmed down version.
For your review:
If you think that Flash is somehow bad for SEO, it's time to dispell that MYTH!
If fact, in some circumstances I'll use Flash INSTEAD of just HTML because then I'll have better SEO than with just HTML alone.
The link to World Barefoot Center in the above post is just one example. View the source code and you see a couple paragraphs of text along with regular HTML links.... but what displays is the Flash version of the image and Flash links.
The client provided the artwork for the page... and that's what they wanted to use a .jpg image. Well yes, that could be done in HTML but it would be virtually invisible to Google. So Instead I converted the image into a Flash .swf and used swfobject to display the Flash. swfobject allows you to create alternate content inside the <div> which also holds the Flash .swf, then when the page is loaded it detects if the browser has the Flash pluggin. If it does, it displays just the Flash content, if not, it displays the alternate content. Since almost everyone has the Flash pluggin, for most people the Flash version of the <div> will display.
The alternate content for that <div> can be any regular HTML text, images, media player, links, etc., anything that you would use if you were not using the Flash. Now the best part is that the alternate content can be "over the top" as far as optimizing for SEO, since it will not be seen by most viewers.
Here's another example of SEO with Flash.. again, the page is just a single image provided by the client:
View the source code. The alt content is paragraph after paragraph of information about the site, including lists and links. If it was just the HTML, it might be kind of a boring Home page. But for SEO I can go "over the top" in promoting the site, since most viewers will never see that part... but it's all indexed by search engines. The end result is BETTER SEO using Flash than just HTML.
On another Web site, a Flash video is displayed, the alt content is the complete text narration of the video. Now how many people would take the time to read that if they could just watch the video instead?? again, better SEO with Flash than without. In fact in one case we had first page search result from that video narration within 4 hours of posting the page.
On still another site with a Flash video, the alt content is another video, but a .mov version, which will, in effect play Flash video on the iPhone (not possible you say??). Well since the iPhone does not have Flash pluggin, it simply displays the .mov version of the video, while everyione else sees the Flash version.
So anyway, if Flash is a part of your Web development, you should look into using swfobject and alternate content.
Eye for Video