Macromedia Flash

Flickr Related Tag Browser

Felix Turner of Airtight built a fun browser to view Flickr tags, including the tags related to the current tag, plus thumbnails of photos for the current tag. Thanks Matt

Opensource Rich Internet App server

Laszlo Systems provides a platform to develop Rich Internet Applications, and announced at Web 2.0 that they have open sourced their basic server. That means that there’s an open platform for developing RIAs that doesn’t require any knowledge of Flash itself - just a new markup language similar to XHTML, XUL, etc.

Usability Heuristics for Rich Internet Applications

Usability Heuristics for Rich Internet Applications - Over the coming months and years, RIAs will move from cutting edge to mainstream. That transformation will accelerate with the Flash and user experience communities working together to understand and develop best practices and shared knowledge.

Grant Skinner and I revisited Nielsen's 10 heuristics and share some thoughts on how they apply to Rich Internet Applications. Currently in the comments the debate largely reflects 2 things - animation, and what makes an RIA different than other apps.

Data visualization through facets

Pointed out by Steve Mulder on SIGIA: Iokio has a demo of a product selection tool that uses different facets to choose a digital camera. Sliders allow the user to adjust cost, weight, and resolution with real time feedback on available models. Thanks to Joe, who discovered a direct link to their Camera Finder Demo.

The dangers of infographics

The current media spectacle that is the "war on Iraq" produces a lot of good and bad infographics. I was surfing the web looking for them and a few thoughts struck me:

Infographics are somewhat expensive and time-consuming to produce, and are therefore in their nature providing context to whatever is going on on the ground. It is, however, _not_ in their nature to provide afterthought and analysis.

The policy concerning infographics of NRK (Norwegian equivalent of the BBC) is that it is important to not overuse infographics because they can create the impression that this is a computer game and not real war with real people really being blown into little pieces.

The Guardian has attempted to create interactive infographics with Flash, but I expect something more than a pressing a "next" button through a slide show to call something interactive. There is a lot of unfulfilled potential here.

CNN.com battle scenarios
CNN.com Iraqi military sites | Surrender 101
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | More interactive guides to the Iraq crisis
VG Nett - Baghdad City

Macromedia tagline: Experience Matters

Macromedia has launched a new design with a corresponding marketing message about creating great experiences. The new tagline 'experience matters' has its own website with example experiential flash sites.

I alternate between loving the increased exposure of user experience, and hating the dilution of something tangible and valuable to buzz-compliant marketing copy.

Update: Jerry Knight's article on the new UI and interaction design is worth checking out.

Flash and Web-Based Applications

Nielsen's alertbox talks about web-based applications using Flash on the front end. I recently talked to Molly, a new aquaintence in NYC, about how her organization was using Flash to put a front end on a project management db. Sounded like an interesting idea, only because I haven't seen a project/client contact type db done in Flash before.

    In usability tests of 46 Flash applications, we identified several basic issues related to Web-based functionality's ephemeral nature. Some findings restate old truths about GUIs; others reflect the Net's new status as nexus of the user experience.
To digress a bit, the Flash based apps I've thought work well lately are just for fun, e.g. this Bush speech generator, tuning the world. I've come across some design sites that have all flash interfaces with databases, but at the time felt turned off by them. I'm coming around, though. For me, a Flash interface for customizing a product design, like timbuk2 bags is excellent. But what are good examples of content-heavy sites that use Flash, like Molly is talking about? Are there any portal-type sites using Flash?

Alertbox: Making Flash Usable for Users With Disabilities

NN/G report summary on making Flash usable with MX.

    Flash designs are easier for users with disabilities to use when designers combine visual and textual presentations, minimize incessant movement, decrease spacing between related objects, and simplify features.
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