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View Full Version : flash website design advice needed




Dafke
Jan 21, 2006, 12:40 PM
Hi there,

As a student in architecture i'm busy building a website in order to have an online portfolio, and a short resume, contact information etcetera.

So far i have created the main page, it consists of two cubes that will be clickable, one to see my portfolio, one to see my curriculum vitae, contact info...
The cubes are not clickable yet, because i haven't figured out the design for those parts yet, but i hope there are some designers that can give some feedback. What's important to me: i don't want it to be an ordinary/standard site (top or left menu), not too funky, but estethically correct or whatever that may be... The idea i have for the other pages is that when you click on a cube, the outlines will sort of grow into a larger frame, in which different design projects will be viewable (no idea how to make that work but i'll figure it out somehow).

So, do you like it or not, things to improve, any ideas for the other two pages? Thanx!

http://www.davidvanpijkeren.nl



grapes911
Jan 21, 2006, 12:53 PM
I know you want this site to be "different", and that is a good goal for any website, but Flash? Many people get turned off by a site when they have to wait for loading. Some people code sites in flash, but it isn't a highly regarded method for building a site. It's much more accepted to make a flash intro or a small flash scene somewhere. I'd really stay away from making the entire site flash.

You also don't want an "ordinary/standard site (top or left menu)". Again, I'd reconsider that. Many people like to feel comfortable when browsing sites or they just might not browse them. It is very good practice to make the navigation easy, especially for the casual computer user. People like seeing "different", but they get annoyed when they have to act different to navigate though a site.

Example: "Home" is the normal label for the link to go back to the main page. You have no idea how many average computer users (remember, the average computer users isn't that proficient at computers) can't get back to the main page if you call it something different like "start" or "the crib" or whatever.

dornoforpyros
Jan 21, 2006, 01:32 PM
eh I've got a very love/hate relationship with flash. For a while I was using nothing but flash, then it was all CSS, then it was a mix. Now I seem to alternate between the 2 for my own portfolio (currently it's flash but I've got a CSS one in the works).

Over all I've found flash is best when used sparingly, it's great for animation & slide shows but it's pretty easy to over do it if the entire site is flash based.
I think with my work (http://www.skibig3.com) site (I'm the web admin) I've found the right balance between html and flash. There is flash elements but the majority of the site is html.

Dunno if this helps or now, but I guess my bottom line is less is more with flash.

Dafke
Jan 22, 2006, 07:48 AM
thanks for both replies, it's good to hear some peoples opinions, and i'm certainly taking these in consideration.

what i wanted to add is that from the main page there are only two options to click, cube 1 or cube 2, it's not like every site of each cube brings you to another page (which would give 8 options). So i think that navigation should be pretty simple because of the limited options.

i tried to keep the swf file as small as possible, but because of the renders (48 per cube) it is still about 550 kB. Is this too big? i was thinking all these offices that i want to look at my site will have dsl.

edit: typo

Mr. Anderson
Jan 22, 2006, 08:29 PM
Absolutely no intro movies!

They might have something important to say the first time you see them, but if you have people return to the site, they're not going to want to sit through it again and again.

The site isn't bad, but I think you'd be better off not having control over the rotating cubes, when you click the mouse over a small button/arrow icon on the thing it goes to the next side. And you can dynamically load images to the images so that you end up with more than 4 sides, it would just keep rotating around and around.

The dynamic aspect also allows you to load images after the flash file has been loaded - that way you don't have to preload everything.

And you could just have one cube there with a few words floating around the outside for the different categories. Click on the portfolio/cv/contact words and the cube spins/changes color/etc. for the different sections.

Post when you have some updates.

D

rozwell
Jan 22, 2006, 10:17 PM
whats all the fuss about flash? flash can be great when used appropriately. i am more than willing to wait for a good flash site. further more, i can't stand siting and waiting for 50 crunched raster slices to load on every html page i come to. vectors are your friend and a well constructed flash site would use as many as possible to keep the impatient happy, not to mention that a lot of people have broadband anyway so a normal flash site would be perfectly acceptable. this is a portfolio site, not google, not cnn, not the weather channel. you come to see the work and check things out a bit, not fast fast fast give me more info than i can handle. flash also looks that same on every computer unlike html and css which almost never looks perfect in most browsers.

so for your portfolio site i say flash it up man, but either give the user less control or more. in the case of more, let them drag to rotate the cube.

edit: i do agree though ABSOLUTELY NO INTROs though

Dafke
Jan 23, 2006, 04:40 AM
...when you click the mouse over a small button/arrow icon on the thing it goes to the next side. And you can dynamically load images to the images so that you end up with more than 4 sides, it would just keep rotating around and around.

The dynamic aspect also allows you to load images after the flash file has been loaded - that way you don't have to preload everything...


I like your ideas Mr. Anderson, i don't have any experience with making dynamic websites, but this might be the moment to start learning that :) And i like the idea of being able to browse the projects by turning the cube.
It would also mean that i would have to rebuild the site completely because i have used Maya to create the cubes now, and i would have to do the graphics in Flash as well (maybe i can use the shadow from the Maya renders).



flash also looks that same on every computer unlike html and css which almost never looks perfect in most browsers


that's exactly why i prefer to use flash!

Oh and don't worry, i detest intro movies, i'll create a nice counter but that will be it.

Mr. Anderson
Jan 24, 2006, 07:52 AM
I like your ideas Mr. Anderson, i don't have any experience with making dynamic websites, but this might be the moment to start learning that :) And i like the idea of being able to browse the projects by turning the cube.
It would also mean that i would have to rebuild the site completely because i have used Maya to create the cubes now, and i would have to do the graphics in Flash as well (maybe i can use the shadow from the Maya renders).



that's exactly why i prefer to use flash!

Oh and don't worry, i detest intro movies, i'll create a nice counter but that will be it.

You could make a blank cube and have it zoom/spin around and content them turns on, so you just use the same image sequence for the 3D and then flash for the content - really simple.

If you want, I've found a bunch of really good tutorials on dynamic content using xml with flash which I've been using a lot these days. Let me know if you want them.

As for the intro page - place a logo, counter and contact info on it, maybe some nice artwork, so that its at least interesting. I'm planning on doing something like that as well when I redo my home page since I'll have a flash page and a html page.

Good luck and post your work when you're done.

D

londonweb
Jan 24, 2006, 08:35 AM
whats all the fuss about flash? flash can be great when used appropriately. i am more than willing to wait for a good flash site. further more, i can't stand siting and waiting for 50 crunched raster slices to load on every html page i come to. vectors are your friend and a well constructed flash site would use as many as possible to keep the impatient happy, not to mention that a lot of people have broadband anyway so a normal flash site would be perfectly acceptable. this is a portfolio site, not google, not cnn, not the weather channel. you come to see the work and check things out a bit, not fast fast fast give me more info than i can handle. flash also looks that same on every computer unlike html and css which almost never looks perfect in most browsers.

so for your portfolio site i say flash it up man, but either give the user less control or more. in the case of more, let them drag to rotate the cube.

edit: i do agree though ABSOLUTELY NO INTROs though

hear hear!! I agree with all of the above. Dafke, you are absolutely right to opt for a more unusual approach to the design of your site, bearing in mind your chosen profession. Something I've often heard from studio heads interviewing new designers is that so many of them fail to recognise that their own cv is a perfect opportunity to display some flair for design and lateral thinking. A design portfolio website is exactly the same- it's a great opportunity to do something really interesting and unique and if you're clever about it it'll be easy to use and navigate at the same time. Flash opens up a lot of possibilities, and as mentioned above if you use vectors as much as possible and steer clear of heavy jpegs then it's just as fast to download (sometimes faster) as regular css/html based pages.

No Intros though! And definitely NO MUSIC!!! subtle sound effects can sometimes work well though...

Dafke
Jan 24, 2006, 11:56 AM
You could make a blank cube and have it zoom/spin around and content them turns on, so you just use the same image sequence for the 3D and then flash for the content - really simple.

If you want, I've found a bunch of really good tutorials on dynamic content using xml with flash which I've been using a lot these days. Let me know if you want them.

As for the intro page - place a logo, counter and contact info on it, maybe some nice artwork, so that its at least interesting. I'm planning on doing something like that as well when I redo my home page since I'll have a flash page and a html page.

Good luck and post your work when you're done.

D

It's no problem to create a spinning cube in flash, but i'm having difficulties putting the content on the cube, i haven't found a way to distort the image properly in order to get the perspective right.
If you have some good links for some xml - flash tutorials, please post 'm!

Oh and i'm curious about your own website, wanna show it?

And londonweb, i appreciate your plea for flash based websites :)

londonweb
Jan 25, 2006, 04:42 AM
If you're feeling really brave you could use Director to create some shockwave content. It's a format that never really took off, the plug-in doesn't come as standard in most browsers and isn't as fast to download as the flash player, but it can do some impressive 3d (vector) stuff and has very good support for loading dynamic content.

I'm talking speculatively because I've never done it myself, but I know people who have done, with fantastic results. If you do go for it I think you should give people an alternative option to enter the site - ie. Shockwave/Non-shockwave formats, but try to entice them into the all-singing all dancing version...

good luck!

ps. Mr Anderson, any chance of posting links to those xml tutorials?

Dafke
Feb 6, 2006, 04:32 PM
hey all,
i've been working on my site a lot, and learned a lot about xml. my site is massivly updated, and i think it looks pretty good, and best of all, by using xml i got the size of the swf file from 550 kB to 20 kB.
it's still in development, but most features work, so i hope i can get some feedback from you guys and gills.

check: www.davidvanpijkeren.nl

btw, i used this (http://www.macromedia.com/support/flash/applications/jpeg_slideshow_xml/index.html) tutorial to create the xml bit