[thelist] Flash Genius (Was: Tremendously simple use of flash...)

H. G. Quinn hgquinn at attglobal.net
Tue Jul 18 12:26:15 CDT 2000

When a Flash developer disables the toolbars, you should be able to do Alt V[iew], (for NN people, then
click on Show,) then click on whatever toolbars you want.  And to replay a movie, you can right-click,
then Rewind, then Play.  But even though I know these things, I get really p-o'd when the browser's
toolbars are disabled -- taking away my control of a session feels insulting to me.  And of course, the
average user won't know how to get his toolbars back.

Davis should be put in a league by himself -- he really makes Flash movies feel like a new medium rather
than plugged-in animation.  There's so much visual and interactive wit in his work that I don't care that
what I'm viewing is supposed to fit into a web experience.  It takes me beyond my expectations into
another world.  The only time I'm comfortable with Flash is when it's used as a presentation medium, for
a portfolio, etc.  Davis's work breaks all the boundaries for me, in terms of my tolerance for Flash.
After I posted this morning, I took another look at his site, and sat there smiling for an hour.  Besides
his graphical and design skills, he's an absolute master in controlling the timing and rythym of his
movies when they're served over the web.  He's making hundreds of compromises in his implementations and
designs to get his movies to flow smoothly, and he handles this process really, really well.

Re the UI comments, I checked out his bio, and he's very self-taught.  That means that he (like me) has
big holes in his experience and vision: while this iconoclasm feeds his uniqueness and creativity, it
also allows warps and flaws to creep in to his approach to his work.  He's so good he probably rarely has
anyone giving him the real skinny on things like UI.  Yet items like the black camera-like interface
movie (with the blue insect) show that he has an intuitive grasp of many of the details that make for a
good interface -- this movie keep your attention, makes you think, pulls you into the interface (the
insect is a great device, acting as a slightly creepy and very knowledgeable guide).  He could probably
really benefit from someone having the nerve to approach him on the UI issue -- a dialogue in that area
might really get him moving in the right direction.  Then one day we'd look up at the night sky and see a
new comet --- and it would be Gary Davis, and we'd say, "I saw his work back when...".  ;-)  -- can you
tell I love his work? <g>

aardvark wrote:

> his work is visually stunning...
> however, i couldn't use his talents because i don't like to sit for 10 minutes on each page
> waiting for navigation to download, draw itself, and then slowly animate the buttons across
> the screen... if he had a little more UI experience (make some of the buttons clickable instead of
> showing content only on the rollover, faster ways to get back to the navigation without having
> to redraw everything, a 'back' button since you can't use the browser's, etc.), then i think he'd
> be spectacular...
> people forget that since Flash takes over your browser (by disabling the back/forward
> buttons, by making the address bar useless, etc.), Flash developers have a responsibility to
> offer a simple and intuitive UI that doesn't take an hour to learn... for experimental and art sites,
> sure, but for the general site, no... after all, when you build a Flash site, you are building a
> brand new UI for the web...

Heather Quinn
hgquinn at attglobal.net

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