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Flash Interface Design: Bud Greenspan's 10 Greatest Winter Olympians

Contents

  1. Intro
  2. Under the Hood: The Typing Effect
  3. Spotlight: Skip the Intro

Chapter Description

CNNSI had three goals for a minisite running in the weeks before the 2002 Winter Olympics: to gather names for a sweepstakes, to make sure the Olympics audience knew about Bud Greenspan, and to let users vote for their favorite all-time Winter Olympians. Thoughtbubble Productions used Flash to accomplish all those activities in a single page.

Spotlight: Skip the Intro

Many Flash sites feature an animated introduction, a sort of video played to a passive audience, extolling the qualities of whatever the site is about. The problem with the intro is that it assumes a style of interaction that is the opposite of a user's natural attitude toward a Web site. Web sites are about interaction. At each moment, users are actively searching for their next move—the link or button that will take them on the next step of their journey. An introductory animation assumes an opposite attitude: one of patient passivity.

example 8The title sequence that opens Sleeping Giants is effective actually because it thwarts the user's hunting approach. The movielike opening prepares the user for the cinematic presentation of the main site, which asks users to sit back and be passive for once.

I'm prejudiced against animated intros as a rule, but three sites featured here use them—and I have to admit that each provides an economical and well-integrated presentation of key information. Most important, they also all offer Skip Intro buttons, which let users hunting for a goal go quickly on their way. The Skip Intro button gives users a choice. Those who have the patience, or interest, will view the introduction. Those who don't, won't—but they'll be satisfied users, and that's what you're really after.

example 9Bud Greenspan's Ten Greatest Winter Olympians uses a poignant voice-over by Greenspan and the slow fade-in and fade-out of vintage images to build up the elegiac tone that is key to the site.

example 10The intro for KQED's Beautiful Bay Area lasts just long enough for all of the page's elements to assemble. In those few seconds, it economically introduces the area's range of scenery plus the graphical and navigational vocabulary of the site.