[thelist] Rant? Tip? Using Flash

Frank framar at interlog.com
Sat Feb 3 13:11:37 CST 2001

<tip type="Using Flash" author="Frank Marion">

You have a beautiful little flash splash as your entrance page. Your 
boss ooh'ed adn aah'ed when you demoed it under optimum conditions. 
Here are some things to keep track of:

- Does the user have flash installed?
   -> Make sure you use some detection code going on.
   -> Don't rely on the browser to redirect the user to a DL page.
   -> Present an alternative to flash using plain old HTML.

- The user has flash
   -> Keep it SHORT! The user doesn't care about SFX. They don't. Really.
   -> Keep it simple, and functional. Just 'cause you can X, doesn't 
mean you should.

- The use doesn't use flash.
   -> You put a 'skip intro' button *within* the flash presentation?
      Just how are we going to go to another page if we don't use flash?

These are the most common mistakes I see when people implement flash. 
Flash is a double edged sword, a little bit like marijuana. Not 
necessary, but nice. Can be useful, but someone dubious. Pleasant for 
the moment but potentially a problem in the long run.

Remember, people are like cows. They follow the herd, and will not 
question your choices. They are also fascinated by shiny objects. 
They are easily mesmerized into a state of dull-eyed bovine 
stupidity. When things break, however, they will not seek a solution 
as to how to get to your sales pitch or data. They will simply blame 
you, and stumble away to some other site that makes it so that they 
don't have to think.

Think twice about using flash. If you do, make sure you put a lot of 
thought into whether it's the best tool for the job, rather than 
flashy eye candy to excite dulled senses. And when you do finally 
implement it, make sure you offer other ways of getting to the data, 
easily and quickly. Remember that nothing is fool-proof, 'cause fools 
are so ingenious.


Frank Marion                      Loofah Communications
frank at loofahcom.com               http://www.loofahcom.com

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