Flash Design: Is it all it's cracked up to be?

Jan 14 22:00 2002 Jody Hatton Print This Article

... Flash was first ... by ... Inc. in August 1996,it was known as ... ... ... ... in December and renamed the ... to "Flash."

INTRODUCTION

When Flash was first introduced by FutureWave Inc. in August 1996,Guest Posting
it was known as "FutureSplash Animator." Macromedia acquired
FutureWave in December and renamed the application to "Flash."
What made FutureSplash unique was the fact that FutureSplash's
images were created in "vector format."

As you may know, most images you see on the Web (such as the logo
that appears on http://www.worlddesignservices.com/), are drawn
by thousands, sometimes even millions, of colored square dots known
as "pixels." Any image that displays shapes using pixels (called
a "raster image") can have a significantly large file size since
the color and location of each dot must be recorded inside the
image file.

The vector graphic, on the other hand, is an image type that
uses mathematical equations to define lines and shapes. For example,
a drawing of a circle uses only a single curved line, rather than
relying on hundreds (or even thousands) of pixels to create an image.
This not only results in a drastic decrease in file size, but also
an increase in image quality. Vector graphics can be scaled up or
down and never lose their sharp lines, whereas raster images end up
looking "chunky." For a side-by-side comparison of vector and
raster images, have a look at the following page:
http://www.worlddesignservices.com/designtips/flash/

Because Flash relies mostly on vector graphics to display text
and images, it delivers excellent image quality and exceptionally
small file sizes. On the Internet, where no two users are ever
connected at exactly the same speed at the same time, this
reduced download is always appreciated.

THE GOOD

In the unlikely event that you've never seen a Flash animation
before, have a look at the banner on the top of
http://www.internetcashplanet.com/. Not only does it look great,
but it MOVES; Flash, when created properly, will
deliver any message you want and keep your audience interested.

Gone are the days of slow downloads and endless reading! As you've
seen from the previous comparisons, Flash banners deliver sharp,
great-looking graphics which load quickly and get your message
to your viewer fast. Flash banners also get read more often than
your basic static HTML page because they have the ability to move
smoothly, whereas traditional animated web graphics are clunky
at best. Everybody knows the 30-second rule, which dictates that
you MUST make an impression on your viewer within 30 seconds
of them hitting your site if you want them to respond to your
offers. Since this rule is ALWAYS in effect, a Flash banner's
ability to transmit a message quickly, smoothly, and effectively
is always worth the investment.

The application of Flash reaches far beyond the simple animated
banner. Worldprofit's new "Ultimate Home Business Promo," when it
was first released, generated so many responses, they were difficult
for us to keep up with! Once you have a look at
http://www.worldprofit.com/uhbp/, you'll probably understand why.
Flash, when created properly, not only has the power to captivate
your site viewers, it also has the power to strike emotional
chords and make your viewers feel whatever you want them to:
excitement, hope, enthusiasm.

THE BAD

Up until last year, Flash banners could only be made using the
"Macromedia Flash" utility. For many, it was a difficult program
to master, and creating even the simplest of banners could be a
week-long project. However, the recent introduction of third-party
applications such as Swish (http://www.swishzone.com) and SwFX
(http://www.wildform.com/) have made it much easier to create
animated banners that use the same file format as Flash.

To the experienced Flash designer, these powerful tools have been
both a blessing and a curse. On the upside, they drastically reduce
the time it takes to create Flash pieces. On the downside, the low
price of these applications makes them available to the "Average Joe,"
and as a result, everybody and their dog is beginning to call themselves
"Flash Designers." Their pieces, created without the necessary technical
know-how of what it takes to make a Flash piece accessible to
lower-bandwidth viewers, are beginning to give Flash a bad reputation
as being bloated and boring.

To you, the prospective consumer, this overabundance of so-called "Flash
Designers" presents an element of confusion. Should you get the kid down
the block to design your Flash site for $300? Probably not. If you're
paying a "design firm" in another city $10,000 for a site, are you
getting the best Flash site money can buy?

Unfortunately, my friends, the answer is no.

We were recently contacted by a man who was unhappy with the state of his
site; after paying over $10,000 to a "Flash Design Firm," he had one look at
what he got for his money and was shocked.

We were, too.

His site, at http://www.faustco.com/, breaks just about every rule there is.
There are too many colors, too many fonts, and, as you know, Flash is
intended to display images in "vector" format. Whoever designed Mr. Faust's
site clearly had no understanding of this fact, and imported as many raster
images as they could. This resulted in a site that not only has the "chunky"
appearance mentioned earlier, but also presents incredibly long download
times to viewers trying to visit the site with a standard 56k (or lower)
connection. While Mr. Faust's business has been around for a long time, no
doubt because they've been producing excellent, dependable products since
the day they began business, the poor quality of his site's design will no
doubt harm the reputation of his company.

FLASH - WHY DO YOU WANT IT?

Like I said before, folks: Flash, "when created properly," can be the best
thing that ever happened to your site. Having personally experienced the
benefits of effective Flash design, I can honestly say that there is NO
medium out there that gets people going to your site and subscribing to your
newsletter list better than a well-done Flash piece. However, when looking
for a Flash designer, beware: if a "company" doesn't have a Flash portfolio
that impresses you in the least, don't hesitate to delete their e-mail and
forget they existed, no matter how low their prices may be.

If you're looking for a Flash designer, I'm naturally going to recommend you
contact us now. Not only are we in our seventh year of putting people's
businesses online, and not only have we been applying proven marketing
concepts time and time again, helping thousands of people maximize responses
to their offers (regardless of the type of business they run), we've also
got the technical know-how of exactly what it takes to make a Flash piece
that WORKS. When you order from us, you won't just be getting a site that
LOOKS pretty and applies our years of marketing experience, you'll be
getting one that loads quickly and gets your point across effectively.

And hey, if you've received a quote from another company and aren't sure if
you'll be getting your money's worth, send the quote to me. I'm not offering
to beat their price, I'm offering something much more valuable: to relieve
any confusion you might be experiencing and help you to become more informed
of what good Flash design is. I'm standing by to help you now!
mailto:customerservice@worldprofit.com

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About Article Author

Jody Hatton
Jody Hatton

Jody Hatton is a senior member of the Worldprofit
Design Team and specializes in Flash design.
Recent Worldprofit designed Flash sites include:
http://www.worldprofit.com/uhbp/
http://www.animaltrainermagazine.com/flash-full.htm
http://www.fightercombat.com/
http://www.worlddesignservices.com/NewWDS/galleryfiles/iddonline

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