Google Chrome's Flash "Click to Enable" Message

Dec 19, 2016

Google has laid out the timeline for disabling Flash by default here:

Sounds like as of February 2017 users are going to have to give permission for any page to run Flash. [Edit: ok, by October 2017?]

What I'm wondering - does Articulate consider Flash disabled in Chrome as a reason to switch to HTML5? That is what I would hope -  I would rather not have to have the user deal with the "Click to enable" message, but I would still rather have learners use Flash if it isn't a stumbling block to them.

20 Replies
Mark Oxley

Hi Ashley,

We're running version 2.11, and when we output for Flash and HTML5, upload the content to a server and test with Chrome 55.0.2883.87 on Windows 10 with Flash plugin, we still get the message: 'Right click to run Adobe Flash Player'. We would have thought that with Flash disabled, it would load the HTML5 output. We really need it to work like this, as we can't expect our intended audience to know what any of it means, let alone install and update their software just to use our course.

This also happened on Safari on a Mac with flash disabled. 

Any help would be hugely appreciated.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi M Ox and Will, 

That's not a behavior I've seen on my courses previously and now I'm just trying to remember if I dismissed it initially when Chrome made the change. Generally once I've disabled Flash from the chrome://plugins it will open the HTML5 output even if I pointed to the story.html file. Do you have a course link I could test as well, since Chrome indicates it'll be site specific? 

Will Findlay

Here is an example (unfinished so no judging people!) that I have in Review:

When Flash is disabled in Chrome I get the puzzle piece even though there is HMTL5 backup content. (tested on Chrome 55 on a Mac). This is actually a Presenter file, but I would assume they use the same player logic.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Will,

Thanks for that! It opened fine for me in Chrome, with Flash disabled using the plugins and no notice about Flash being disabled. I'm on the same Chrome version on a Mac Book Pro, and I also tested in Chrome within Windows 10 too. Are you only seeing the issue with Review links or anywhere you've hosted your content? 

Aaron Timmer

Any updates on this? We're seeing the same behavior. We can no longer run courses in html5 on Chrome for Windows. If we 'block sites from using Flash' the courses simply do not display even though there are html5 files. The courses work fine on mobile Chrome - tablets and phones. 

In other news our courses no longer play at all in Safari for Windows unless we enable flash. Just a month ago they played normally without Flash enabled. 

Justin Grenier

Good Morning, Aaron.

We're seeing this new behavior in Chrome 56 as well, and I see that your colleague Chelsea has been corresponding with our team on the problem.  We'll dig in and see if there is anything we can do to combat this new change in Chrome.

In the interim, if you'd prefer to bypass the Flash output altogether and only launch the HTML5 version of your course, could you try linking directly to the story_html5.html file in your published output (rather than the default story.html file)?

Unfortunately, Apple stopped improving Safari for Windows about 5 years ago, so Safari for Windows hasn't been a supported browser for some time.

We'll keep this forum thread updated with our findings, and please let us know if linking directly to the HTML5 version of your course seems to be an effective workaround for you!

Justin Grenier

Hello again, Aaron.

I wanted to let you know that we've dug into this, and Google's new direction is proving to be pretty ironclad.  The list of possible workarounds for this issue is as follows:

  • Learners can follow the on-page instructions to right-click the screen and allow the Flash content to run.
  • Learners can view the course in a different browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.
  • If you're using Storyline 360 or Studio 360, you can publish HTML5-first or HTML5-only courses.
  • If you're using Storyline 1, Storyline 2, or Studio '13 and you include HTML5 output when you publish, you can bypass the Flash output and launch the HTML5 course directly.
    • As to your note above stating that your LMS may not allow you to link directly to the story_html5.html file in your published output, I wanted to direct you to this unsupported workaround developed by our community, which may force the LMS to call index_lms_html5.html.

We've put together a Knowledge Base article summarizing these options.  Please let us know if you need anything else!

Aaron Timmer

Thanks for the reply, Justin. As for your suggestions:

- Controlling which browsers are users use is not an option for us. With that said, most use Chrome.

- We cannot direct link in LearnUpon, our primary LMS. Only SL files can control that.

- Thanks for the workaround, but hacking over thousands of courses is not a scalable nor a long term solution for us.

- Tin Can publishing has it’s own set of issues. Once of which we’re still waiting for a reply from Arituclate concerning finish and close triggers not working correctly.

After reviewing Google's Flash Roadmap page it leaves me wondering how our currently published courses will behave come Sept/Oct when Chrome goes HTML5 by default and Flash is phased out for good. Do you have any insight into this? This is the million dollar question for us :)

That page says: " If a site offers an HTML5 experience, this change will make that the primary experience."

Articulate courses do offer an HTML5 experience but when we turn Flash off Chrome does not recognize this and instead asks for Flash.

If this is the case, then it seems it would be Articulate’s responsibility to work correctly with Chrome. As it stands SL2 files do not behave as expected by users or by Google. Please correct me if that's not the situation.

It seems to me that updating SL2 so we can publish courses that only play via html5 would be the smart/right thing to do. At least in our company we have zero need for Flash playback (haven’t for several years now). Articulate already has the code/technology to do this in other software, why not update SL2 so the courses work the way they should?

If that's not in the plans nor feasible, when can we expect a new Storyline (we're not interested at this time in 360) that does have this ability? I’m hoping long before Google phases Flash out completely as we don’t know what effect that will have.

Any feedback is much appreciated!

Justin Grenier

Hello again, Aaron.

For Articulate, HTML5 is absolutely the present and future.  As such, the HTML5 engine in Storyline 360 is a complete rewrite when compared to our HTML5 output from Storyline 2.  This has allowed us to expand our browser support, achieve 508/WCAG compliance, accomplish feature parity, and generally produce the best possible content from our authoring tools.  We'll continue to support Flash for organizations running legacy browsers, and Storyline 2 will retain its current Flash-first architecture.

If you can't use Storyline 360, you can expect to see Storyline 3 some time in 2017.

Aaron Timmer

Thanks for your reply, Justin.

Do you have any insight into how SL2 files will playback come Oct when Google completely phases out Flash? This is my real concern. We cannot republish 1000s of courses in a matter of weeks so we need to be ahead of this.

Also, I see that Articulate still lists Chrome as a supported HTML5 browser:


Windows: Google Chrome (latest version)

Mac: Safari 7 and later, Google Chrome (latest version)

Mobile: Safari in Apple iOS 7 and later, Google Chrome (latest version) in Android OS 4.1 and later

Without hacking the code we cannot get SL2 files to playback in HTML5 on Chrome for Windows. I believe that saying SL2 supports HTML5 on Chrome for Windows is misleading. 


Justin Grenier

Hi, Aaron.

We're interpreting Google's documentation to say that between now and October 2017, Chrome will gradually stop using your Site Engagement to help decide whether to display the Flash prompt, and that by October 2017, all Flash sites will require an initial prompt (users will be prompted once per site).  This seems to imply that if your learners receive and allow the Flash prompt today, they will not see it again in October.  Just a guess.

We’ll continue to monitor the impact on our customers and consider whether any updates are needed.  Thanks for helping us understand how this impacts you!

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