First time here? First time here? Newsletter Signup Newsletter
651326 Members and growing! | Flash Jobs
Search tutorials
Author: Tim Murray | Website: http://www.gmg.com.au

What should the loader do?

Okay. Here's the easy part. Get out a pen and paper and write down the things that you would like your loader to do and be. Go on. I'll wait.

Done that? Good. Now sort them in order of importance. This is so that you get the most pressing things designed, coded and tested first, leaving the cute bits for a later revision.

Here's my list:

  1. Be small.
    So that we don't wait forever for the preloader to load, requiring its own loader. (Which would then require another preloader for that, and... aargh – where are my pills?)
  2. Display a progress bar to let the user know how the download is going.
    This is why we are here. Since Flash MX is a visual tool, let's use it. A progress bar gives the quickest indication of the status of a command.
  3. Give them details (downloaded amount and the total bytes).
    This is good for your more advanced surfers. It lets them guesstimate progress for themselves. As a bonus, newbies can also learn how long things take.
  4. Provide a loading animation.
    Loading animations are especially good for long tasks like loading large files because they let the user know that something is happening and their computer hasn't crashed.
  5. Be easy to reuse in several SFW files.
    We don't want all our good efforts to be wasted, do we?
  6. Stops the file from playing until the content is loaded.
    Let's try to make the loader do all the work for us.
  7. Be quick to add to a file.
    Because I'm busy.
  8. Be simple to add to a file.
    Because I forget stuff.
  9. Not have to be downloaded every time.
    So that we don't clog our bandwidth with loaders!
  10. Detects if a file has already been loaded.
    Giving us a chance to take action if this is the case.
  11. Gives an estimated time to completion.
    Another method of giving the progress. Use it depending on the target audience. In my humble opinion this is not as reliable as bytes downloaded, progress bars or percent downloaded because it may be affected by other bandwidth hogs that may be on the machine. If your loader estimates that the file will be down in 2 minutes, but actually takes 4 minutes because email starts downloading as well, then the user's expectations of 2 minutes aren't met. They get grumpy and start looking for other faults.
  12. Waits for a certain percentage to load before playing.
    This lets us download an appropriate amount of content before playing the file, giving us a capacity to stream our content (playing the file before all of it is loaded – one of the best features of Flash MX).
  13. Plays a quick animation even if the file has already been loaded.
    This will give a consistent feel to loading content. Why do some things have loaders while others don't? Users have expectations of interacting with software. If users see a loader the first time, then they should see it every time. (Just make it quick so that it doesn't irritate them.)
  14. Be easy to change the loading animation.
    So that we can change the feel of a loader for a new situation, client, or project. If it is hard, we will probably try to not do it.

The requirements for a particular loader that you build will have differing priorities depending on client, anticipated user groups, style, and budget. But this list should give you a feel for what we are going to do.

» Level Advanced

Added: 2003-12-08
Rating: 8 Votes: 169
(10 being the highest)
» Author
Tim is a co-director of the Glasson Murray Group, providing quality graphic design, illustration, 3D visualisation, interactive environments, virtual reality, multimedia and website services.
» Download
Download the files used in this tutorial.
» Forums
More help? Search our boards for quick answers!

Comments

  • There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment!

  • You must have javascript enabled in order to post comments.

Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.
Featured Flash FLA
» Author: doc_chin7
» Description:

The flash's horizontal road drive was done in CS4 and was upgraded to CS6. The car responds to right/ left key and flash will auto-generate the movement of roads from left-right or right-left based on random number. Have fun driving in this virtual environment and avoid other cars... :) If you are creative, a road driving game can be created from it.

Featured Sound Loops
Image for equalize

Audio Player

» Author: BoxCat
» Title: CPU Talk
» Description: From the cyberpunk RPG, "Nameless: the Hackers" Completely Free to use! Keywords: edm hip hop rap electronic mysterious mission hacking chase exciting spy ios ambient chilling love happy sad angry suspense
Latest Font
» Author: Fábio FAFERS
» Description: I created this font for free use. Everyone can apply it in personal or business texts. Its free, but I want to be communicated in case of business use. Donations are accepted to keep the project of free fonts alive! Thank you all
Featured Sound Fx
Image for equalize

Audio Player

» Author: nathan
» Description:

A recorded sound of the Dimensional Fork Gate.