What use is flash?

  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ok so flash is cool, there's no disputing that, but how useful is it really?

I've seen a lot of sites that use it just to make little squiggly things, the only purpose of which is to distract and annoy me (normally accompanied by a 20 second load screen, grrr). I've seen navigational elements that have no benefit over normal links, other than they move a bit (whilst doubling the filesize) and (my favourite) the flash "intro header" which doesn't completely load until after I've finished reading the content of the site :lol:

I guess the thing that annoys me most about flash is that most of the time it's done badly, and a lot of people seem to use it to detract from the glaringly obvious lack of anything useful on their site. I know we have some really good flash designers here, along with some bad ones lol, and I don't mean any disrespect to you guys. But, to be honest, is there any non-trivial application where flash is needed?

*stands back and waits for the hail of abuse from flash-lovers :D

//I've put this here because it's a mixture of web design and flash and seems more like a general discussion thing to me than anything else. But move it if you see fit mods.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

well, i have a small flash header on my site
because it is easily updateable

and the fact that it is only 2kb
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Have you taken the time to check out most of the links to flash sites listed in this post:

http://www.ozzu.com/flash-forum/which-the-best-flash-site-ever-t371.html

Because by the way I'm reading your post, it doesn't seem you have.

If you're not on broadband your experience with flash sites is going to be significantly less enjoyable than those who are due to download times, but a well done flash site is worth the wait in most cases.

Try this one for starters if you haven't seen it yet, then check the othres in the above link. Most of those should give you a better appreciation for welldone flash.
http://2advanced.com/
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtm223 wrote:
I've seen a lot of sites that use it just to make little squiggly things, the only purpose of which is to distract and annoy me (normally accompanied by a 20 second load screen, grrr). I've seen navigational elements that have no benefit over normal links, other than they move a bit (whilst doubling the filesize) and (my favourite) the flash "intro header" which doesn't completely load until after I've finished reading the content of the site

while I find this to be your strict opinion, it sounds to me like you have
only ever experienced "bad flash" and never been given any education
on it. I trul think that most people that bash flash, have no idea what it
really does or can do. Truthfully, flash is one of the most pwerful
programs out there right now. It has the capability of becoming the
future of the web, but as you say it takes forever to load, or really has
no point. This is what I mean by "bad flash."

Flash is useful in the regard that it can severly reduce the amount of on
page scripting to produce a nav or graphic or eve the entire site. The
best example I can give is a site I made. I made the entire site in html
and flash because the client wanted both options. The flash site was a
total of 260kb, where the html site was over 700kb total.

I've said this many times -- bad designers make bad flash and THAT is
what has given flash such a bad rep. Load times are slow? that's
because the designer had no idea how to optimize? what about large,
hi-res images? same thing...and actually flash's compression is better
than Adobe Image Ready or Save for web.

The application of flash with databases is extremely powerful, and is
becming muc more widely used. Both on the web and in company
intranet's and applications and programs.
Quote:
I guess the thing that annoys me most about flash is that most of the time it's done badly, and a lot of people seem to use it to detract from the glaringly obvious lack of anything useful on their site.

This is precicely what I mean. Take a look through the thread atno gave
you for some of the "the best flash sites" and see what good designing
in flash is (for the most part IMO).

There are SO MANY good uses of flash, but unfortunately not that many
people (even today with broadband) really have been given enough
good experiences with "good flash." I think you should read through the
thread atno posted, and take some time to appreciate "good flash"
before you really form your opinion.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

UNFLUX wrote:
I've said this many times -- bad designers make bad flash and THAT is
what has given flash such a bad rep. Load times are slow? that's
because the designer had no idea how to optimize? what about large,
hi-res images? same thing...and actually flash's compression is better
than Adobe Image Ready or Save for web.

The application of flash with databases is extremely powerful, and is
becming muc more widely used. Both on the web and in company
intranet's and applications and programs.
Quote:
I guess the thing that annoys me most about flash is that most of the time it's done badly, and a lot of people seem to use it to detract from the glaringly obvious lack of anything useful on their site.

This is precicely what I mean. Take a look through the thread atno gave
you for some of the "the best flash sites" and see what good designing
in flash is (for the most part IMO).

There are SO MANY good uses of flash, but unfortunately not that many
people (even today with broadband) really have been given enough
good experiences with "good flash." I think you should read through the
thread atno posted, and take some time to appreciate "good flash"
before you really form your opinion.


I have experienced good flash, including your own, I know your site loads nice and quick and IMHO is a shining example to everyone aiming at flash development.

I did go have a look at those other sites before posting. I am on broadband and still found them pretty bandwidth intensive. The thing is, those sites are suitable for showing off flash and animation skills, but not for conveying information, which is IMO kind of the point of the internet, and the main purpose of most sites out there. I appreciate that you can reduce filesize by loading just the content of pages into a textbox thing and not reloading the main page. However, if you structure your html well, you are talking about 2kB (maybe 3 <b>maximum</b>) for markup on each page (excluding the content), as all of your layout (images & css) should be cached.

again it all comes down to optimising - most flash designer design badly, most html designers design badly. Both annoy me; but flash more so, because I always get the impression that bad flash designers are so proud of their 2MB :wink: monster sites, that really don't do anything special.

I guess this really is about bad flash (I was looking at some <b>really</b> bad flash this morning, which probably sparked of the question :lol: ). However, I think you will struggle to convince me that the benefits of flash outweigh the downsides.


This question still stands though:
Has anyone got a non-trivial application that is more suited to flash than any other medium?

// lol I just thought that presentations (powerpoint style) probably answer that question, but has anyone else got any more?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What I'd like to see is a flash website that loads in 0.7 seconds instead of the regular 10-30 seconds, because this is positively possible in html with css.

The only flash I've ever seen that I felt had a use was made for entertainment purposes such as http://www.joecartoon.com and http://www.newsgrounds.com.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

i think flash is 'cool'

it is the one app that works on the web, and allows webdesigners to make movable graphics, text, multimedia presentations and all the bells and whistles physically possible without installing or downloading a single .exe file onto a computer.

there are sites which contain huge files, like http://www.kigot.com . that is mainly because they have exported .avi files into flash, for the 3d work.

no doubt the site is amazing, but even i agree, the load time is rediculas.

People like to use flash, because it is different, and flash technology may not be new, but you can view a normal static site, or you can view a site that is interactive, moves and seems more appealing. Maybe not eveyones cup'o'tea, but look good.

bad flash IMO is a website that is meaningless, preloaders i can live with...as long as they dont say "loading" with no indication as to when it is going to end and it takes all day lol.
like, you will enter the site, and find lots of movement, finally after the intro and other crap that is going on, you get a whole load of nothing.

well, thats what i think
flash gives a webdesigner and website something dynamic, and no longer static like html

i am sure flash is in the minority to html/php/css, so a flash site is much more unique

thats just what i think

:wink:
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

to summarise the above post, nucleo basically wrote:
Flash has novelty value :D


nucleo, do you remember when Mr Blobby released a single in the uk? That had novelty value - knocked Meatloaf out of the number one spot.

I hope to god that that you are wrong about flash only being good because it is cool and different, for the sake of the good flash developers out there.

Movement on an informative site is not a positive, I'm sure that more people would find it distracting rather than useful, thus devaluing the content.

Plus it's still trivial :lol:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

There are a lot of flash sites that look amazing, and there are a lot that look like "garbage." But that is with the same with anything else, there are a lot of good HTML web pages, and a lot of bad ones...

I really hated going to flash sites on my other computer, because it was a slow computer, and it was like watching a slide show. Now that I have a nice computer flash looks really good.

I also like it when sites have an intro page with different options, like a smaller version for slow connection, just an html version, etc.

Also some sites with long transitions aren't that great, because if I want to keep going back to that site, I don't want to see the same 5 sec animation every time I switch betweeen pages, It looks nive the first few time, but not all the time.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rtm223 wrote:
to summarise the above post, nucleo basically wrote:
Flash has novelty value :D


nucleo, do you remember when Mr Blobby released a single in the uk? That had novelty value - knocked Meatloaf out of the number one spot.

I hope to god that that you are wrong about flash only being good because it is cool and different, for the sake of the good flash developers out there.

Movement on an informative site is not a positive, I'm sure that more people would find it distracting rather than useful, thus devaluing the content.

Plus it's still trivial :lol:


u said what is the use of flash?...
i think it is simply to produce information on a different level, thats what i meant
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Post 3+ Months Ago

and it lets you make kick-aumsum sigs :D
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Good Flash with a definite purpose:

http://www.beksinski.pl/

To cover the comment about wanting to see a really good flash page that loads in less than 7 seconds? That's all the time this page takes to load 100% on broadband. That's not to say that the animation wasn't over, but the file was loaded.

The purpose -- this design is for an artist. And after viewing the artists work, I have to say the Flash design showcases it flawlessly. I would not have known of this artist if I had not seen it on a "best of" flash sites place. And I am defintely glad to have found it, because I love his elegent work. And I would never have viewed his work if it wasn't for this very unique flash design.

This site also uses one of the most artistic navigation methods I have ever seen. It's simply beautiful.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ATNO/TW wrote:
Good Flash with a definite purpose:

http://www.beksinski.pl/

To cover the comment about wanting to see a really good flash page that loads in less than 7 seconds? That's all the time this page takes to load 100% on broadband. That's not to say that the animation wasn't over, but the file was loaded.

The purpose -- this design is for an artist. And after viewing the artists work, I have to say the Flash design showcases it flawlessly. I would not have known of this artist if I had not seen it on a "best of" flash sites place. And I am defintely glad to have found it, because I love his elegent work. And I would never have viewed his work if it wasn't for this very unique flash design.

This site also uses one of the most artistic navigation methods I have ever seen. It's simply beautiful.


wow.... That site and the artists work is just amazing. :shock: the flash site looks really nice, it loaded very fast, the transitions were good, the navigation buttons were very unique, and then the paintings, and drawings are just amazing... I love the colours in the painting and the style. Thanks for posting that site ATNO

edit: I wish the paintings were bigger, so I could use them as a backgound or something.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Here is where I found it - http://www.bestflashanimationsite.com/archive/

I'll leave it up to those who want to to explore, but there is indeed some rather outstanding work all through that site.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

wow, looking at some of those pieces of art, I may have found a new hobby :wink:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

IH8Purple wrote:
and it lets you make kick-aumsum sigs :D


Strangely, I'm with IH8Purple on this debate :) I'd like to see my sig re-created(as a sig :wink: ) without flash :wink:
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
IH8Purple wrote:
and it lets you make kick-aumsum sigs :D


Strangely, I'm with IH8Purple on this debate :) I'd like to see my sig re-created(as a sig :wink: ) without flash :wink:




*lol -- stands back and waits for b_heyer to take the challenge and do it with php * grins.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ATNO/TW wrote:
joebert wrote:
IH8Purple wrote:
and it lets you make kick-aumsum sigs :D


Strangely, I'm with IH8Purple on this debate :) I'd like to see my sig re-created(as a sig :wink: ) without flash :wink:

*lol -- stands back and waits for b_heyer to take the challenge and do it with php * grins.


I want to see live standings updates, percentage bar animation, no new windows to be opened, OZZUs rules to be followed, the whole shibang :D

SIDE NOTE: Do I smell a "Sig Of The Month" competition devoloping ? :P
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well, since b_heyer seems to be preocupied with photography competitions I'd suggest you make this suggestion in the "suggestions" thread in the competition board. It would be pretty cool to see three or four diverse competitions going. I try my best with photography, but it's not my forte....however, I am going to try to enter one in the latest textures comp...I just need to latch on to a good digcam at work to take the winning photo. *lol
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Post 3+ Months Ago

hey look, If you like to play games, then flash is a great way of doing that......you don't have to download and install anything (yourself). Trivial? maybe. Fun? yes.
  • rtm223
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Atno, that site was nice although fell short of gsv2com's target of 0.7 seconds. And it actually had some decent music for once (as opposed to the traditional 5 sec beat-loop!).
It is unique. It is interesting. It is a perfect backdrop for showcasing artwork. It also has little information on it....

most of the sites on that showcase were art, design, or just about flash. There are few sites on there offering much in the way of information. It is starting to seem that flash is good for promoting pretty things and cool things. I'm seeing a definate nagative correlation between quantity of flash and information. I suppose if your application is such that by it's very nature there is little for people to read then flash will keep them interested and coming back.

I still havn't seen anything to convince me that flash is the "future of the internet" which it almost certainly is. Still seems that the main argument for flash is coolness, and thats never gonna convince me.

Strangely nucleo, I found that kigot loaded lightning fast for me.....

Unflux I would be interested in seeing that site you mentioned, if it still exists.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How about a Flash Shopping Interface ?

Sure would make ALOT of things easier on both ends :wink:

With XML entire navigation catalogs can be dynamically rendered and filled.

Combinations of Matrix Math & actionscript can give people a 3-Dimensional view of products.

Wondering what happens to order states when the browsers back button gets pressed is no longer a concern, if the back button has been pressed with a full flash interface it's becouse they decided to go elsewhere, not becouse they want to see somthing they looked at 5 minutes ago.

The list goes on & on.....
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Combinations of Matrix Math & actionscript can give people a 3-Dimensional view of products.


useful unless you are trying to sell dvd's :wink: I think nokia already does something similar with the 3d models (don't know if its the same method)

Yup, some good ones there joebert.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

a 100% flash site wouldn't need the browser's back button, it is
self-contained within itself to handle navigation fuly. There are quire a
few really good flash sites out there with carts. If the cart requires
seperate pages, then cookies or a database are the solution. With php
and sessions, you can even store the info no matter what page their on,
as long as the browswer isn't closed. There's numerous ways to avoid
this problem.

Here's an example using php to handle cart entries: http://flashdevmart.b7ven.com

as for the question, flash is just as useful and powerful as html -- if you
let. It's a "new toy," and people are exploiting it for all it can be, rather
than just being useful. It is useful, regardless of information, there are
tons of html sites with no info on them as well. Remember how everyone
used to be a part of geocities with 1000 animated gifs on their pages?
what makes that any different? Tom the Great just said the same thing
a few posts ago. Is this not true to you?

I think your bias is overshadowing the facts, which is disappointing.

this is my last point for you, and it's a great site. lots of info, not too
many frills, all the pages are flash. load times are as quick as html,
providing all the info a normal site would - http://www.flashlevel.net
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm not being biassed unflux, everytime someone has made a good point proving me wrong I have acknowledged it. I'm merely taking the viewpoint that no-one else does. The reason I was taking this viewpoint is because most people accept flash for its aesthetic benefits and nothing more, which has resulted in the abundance of badly conceived flash sites. There wouldn't be any kind of discussion if everyone just agreed with each other.

It was never my intention to disrespect the good flash developers, and I was not denying that flash does have functional benefits. If I wasn't interested in other people's views I would never have posted this topic.
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well If you really want to get down to it what is the point of any kind of desing at all then. Why not just start making sites that are just words and links to a picture if you are trying to sell something. You don't need to now any java or php for that. So wouldn't your theory apply to pretty much everything but minimal html?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Vladdrac wrote:
well If you really want to get down to it what is the point of any kind of desing at all then.

this would have been my next reply as well. At that point of questioning
it all, why stop at flash?

I'm not badgering you rtm, promise. :) But admittedly, this is a bit of a
sore spot for me, and I shouldn't let it get to me - but it does.

Mostly it's born out of other's ignorance for the medium, rather than a
formed and true opinion based on knowledge. No worries mate, I know
you've got background to support your comments. I'll leave this one
alone from here on out.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Vladdrac wrote:
well If you really want to get down to it what is the point of any kind of desing at all then. Why not just start making sites that are just words and links to a picture if you are trying to sell something. You don't need to now any java or php for that. So wouldn't your theory apply to pretty much everything but minimal html?


Not really vlad. but if the user is not using pictures, the site can be designed to work without them, no css support, design with depreciation in mind, PHP is not an issue as it has nothing to do with the client, and the time taken to execute most php scripts is inperceptable to mere mortals.

Flash does not depreciate. It's either there or not. There is no support for multiple mediums (you can specify different styles for print, or for a cellphone user etc etc etc). I don't know if you can set flash to be printable, but I just tried a couple of sites and got a nice white page.

Flash does not depreciate - it's there or it's not.

I'm not against flash, and I'm certainly not proposing that formatted nothing and that we abandon graphics. I fully understand the marketing benefits of presentation. Colour, design, typography - all are as important as content. But there are mediums flash cannot reach, and things that it cannot do. There are limitations as well as the benefits.

I have learned a lot from this thread. Maybe others have too, maybe they haven't.

unflux - we've all got sore spots, and I knew I wasn't gonna be the most popular person in the world when I posted this thread. I took an extreme viewpoint to provoke a response and got exactly what I deserved for it :D
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Post 3+ Months Ago

From the Toyota website:

http://www.scion.com/

You could start with http://www.toyota.com website and click the scion link if you prefer.

Now that is a class act, real time flash web page. I believe that may represent everything that was asked for in Flash.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Nice example ATNO.
I am still just entering the web design field (just finishing up learning to get good with HTML) and I do see where Flash can be used as a very useful tool.
I do, however, agree that it can be frustrating for people with slow internet conections whether or not it is compressed well.
I believe that there are a lot of bad Flash sites out there, and you know what? I just dont go to them. Its an easy solution. There is good and there is bad. Just dont support the bad.
I think that more and more Flash is going to start being used on web sites because of its versatility, and with that there will be people who get better and better at it.
So, basically, Flash=Good!
:)

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