Keeping Some Tricks In The Bag
You know what was so cool about some of the initial Flash sites? Everything on the screen was animated. And I mean everything. Text came flying. Sounds we're out of control. Everything beeped and flashed and whirled and moved and vibrated and pulsed. It overloaded your senses, and that was exactly what the bland internet was in need of. Whooops. Times changed and you didn't know. User are still impressed by cool animation. But now they're also looking for information, trying to order something and want it done quickly all at the same time.
You wanna' knock people's socks off with your site? Then calm down. Sensory overload is fine, sometimes. But when you're trying to move information from a screen into someone's head you'll find that a few carefully thought-out animation tweens and some well placed graphics will allow your user to retain more information. That translates into more sales and hits on your site. A great example of subtle Flash use can be found at marchFIRST.
Putting too many animations on one screen can make a user's experience seem confusing. It's best to choose a few simple animations that you like and use those repeatedly throughout the whole movie. This also helps promote consistency from frame to frame (page to page). You want your user to feel as though every page is located within the same site. Using the same animations and symbols on all your pages and frames will not only promote a consistent feeling in your site, but it will reduce the size of the movie dramatically which, in turn, will save creation time on your end and download time on your users end.
There is one stipulation to this, however. The preload screen. This is the only place in this tutorial I will talk about preloaders. Why? Because they are essential. Every movie you create should have a preload screen. Your movie is only 10K you say? So what. Put a preloader on there. It helps the user know they are entering a site, it helps your movie run the way it should. End of story.
Don't be afraid to let your user really have it in your preloader/intro screen. This is your chance to show the world you're a flash god. Want screaming animations? Do it. Want some cool loading bar and dancing penguins with spinning words and aggressive music loops? Go for it. Now is your time. The rest of this site you're creating should be tailored to delivery of information, which means professional and a tad calmer but this preloader/intro is mulit-purposed. It's for capturing attention. It's for raising pulses. It's for sparking imagination.
Oh yeah, it's for preloading the graphics and sounds too.
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|Jeremy is part of the online brand building team of marchFIRST in Columbus, Ohio.|
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