Author Name: Stephen Kui
Post Category: Tips for Graphic Designers
Flash can be an exciting, interactive element to a web site, or it can be a viewer’s worst nightmare. Using flash effectively depends on how you utilize the content and how obtrusive to the rest of the site it is. Here’s how to make the most of flash if you must use it, and why not to use flash in some cases. What Flash Does for Users No doubt about it. Flash is… flashy. But while it can be helpful for making your site’s appearance pop, it can also be distracting to users. Take note of kriesi.at, which features a flash navigation. While it has a nice design as cosmetics go, the navigation moves when you hover over it. While it may not seem annoying to you, especially as the designer, it can be a major annoyance to some visitors. There are some sites, such as the Transformers site, which require the user to have flash, or they cannot access the site at all. As cool as it is to see, it’s lacking in usability. Aside from the fact that it is completely unusable to people who don’t have flash, this site is distracting and hard to work with anyways. When Flash is Useful Although flash can be a viable replacement for HTML and CSS, it’s only useful if used in the right sites, such as:
- Interactive demonstrations
- Displaying videos
Portfolios are often best displayed in flash, because they can really highlight images. Flash has become one of the most popular avenues for photographers and oftentimes graphic designers. Flash let’s these people provide their images in a way that presents them to the audience and let’s them really get into the image gallery. Jeremy Cowart has a great implementation of flash that highlights his images while keeping everything nicely organized and easy to use. The simple interface keeps all the content accessible and isn’t confusing, which makes the site work excellently as a portfolio. Interactive demonstrations can also be best suited in flash for certain niches. The sites, however, must be exclusively specialized so that flash is necessary for them to be effective. Don’t Click It exemplifies this by providing a test for users: To see if they can use a page without having to click it. The entire interface is flash-based and will instantly alert you if you click anything anywhere on the page. Can you navigate without clicking? Videos are also a good reason to use flash. While flash intros can be annoying or flat-out murderers of SEO, when used properly, can add a great dynamic for viewers. If the site is centered around an idea, such as The Girl Effect, a well-constructed video can be both awe-inspiring and moving. That’s our simple introduction to some of flash’s uses. Want to learn more about flash? Visit stephenkui.com so you can stay updated for the upcoming parts for the rest of this flash series.