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Author: Jeremy Riga | Website: http://home.columbus.rr.com/jeremyriga

Extra Copy Goes Where?

Ever create a site with news articles? Or maybe some boring mission statement that has to be there? We all do. It's part of being a great designer. This is your job, right? Incorporate large amounts of information in small areas that will be browser and platform independent, load quickly, carry the brand, blah, blah and blah.

I visited a site the other day that had a great Flash movie. Perfectly simple animations. Soothing sound loops. A news article section. Normally I don't look at the 'Press Releases' section of ANY site. But I was on a mission. So I sat back in my chair, whipped my mouse into gear and clicked the link.

ZOOM! A new browser window! A new FULL SIZE browser window. A new full size browser window that didn't even look like it was the same people that created this SWF movie. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even in the SWF file anymore. This was a completely separate HTML page. Where is my Flash? Where is the sound?

What the…?

I calmed myself and closed the window.

This was bad. The guilty party shall remain nameless. All I will say is that this was a major advertising corporation that should know better…shame on them.

So what do you do with all that extra text? There are a few options that are pleasing to the eye, easy to operate and still get the copy across easily.

Scrollbars are the simplest and the best way to go. They're not hard to create, but they're worth their weight in gold. Break your news article into paragraphs that will fit into your allotted space for the text, then just add a text scollbar on the side or bottom of the copy area. One quick warning though! Don't change the position of your scrollbars from article to article. A user will remember where on the page the scrollbar is and what it does after using it one time. Change the placement on the frame, or the size of the scrollbar and you've just confused someone. Scrollbars should be a 'COPY' and 'PASTE IN PLACE' type of thing.

'Next Paragraph' and 'Previous Paragraph' buttons are acceptable for pieces of text that are only a few paragraphs long. A good rule of thumb: if your user has to click 'Next' more then 3 times to see a whole article, you should be using scrollbars.

Never never never, ever, never open additional copy into an HTML window. It's just not right. Your user is enjoying an expertly designed Flash movie. Don't ruin it with HTML!


» Level Basic

Added: 2000-10-05
Rating: 8 Votes: 479
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Jeremy is part of the online brand building team of marchFIRST in Columbus, Ohio.
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