Flash design? Is it all it's cracked up to be? In this article, we'll be confronting all questions head on: What is Flash? What's good about it? What's bad about it? And, most importantly, what will it do for your online business?
When Flash was first introduced by FutureWave Inc. in August 1996, it was known as "FutureSplash Animator." Macromedia acquired FutureWave in December and renamed application to "Flash." What made FutureSplash unique was fact that FutureSplash's images were created in "vector format."
As you may know, most images you see on Web (such as logo that appears on http://www.worlddesignservices.com/), are drawn by thousands, sometimes even millions, of colored square dots known as "pixels." Any image that displays shapes using pixels (called a "raster image") can have a significantly large file size since color and location of each dot must be recorded inside image file.
The vector graphic, on other hand, is an image type that uses mathematical equations to define lines and shapes. For example, a drawing of a circle uses only a single curved line, rather than relying on hundreds (or even thousands) of pixels to create an image. This not only results in a drastic decrease in file size, but also an increase in image quality. Vector graphics can be scaled up or down and never lose their sharp lines, whereas raster images end up looking "chunky." For a side-by-side comparison of vector and raster images, have a look at following page: http://www.worlddesignservices.com/designtips/flash/
Because Flash relies mostly on vector graphics to display text and images, it delivers excellent image quality and exceptionally small file sizes. On Internet, where no two users are ever connected at exactly same speed at same time, this reduced download is always appreciated.
In unlikely event that you've never seen a Flash animation before, have a look at banner on top of http://www.internetcashplanet.com/. Not only does it look great, but it MOVES; Flash, when created properly, will deliver any message you want and keep your audience interested.
Gone are days of slow downloads and endless reading! As you've seen from previous comparisons, Flash banners deliver sharp, great-looking graphics which load quickly and get your message to your viewer fast. Flash banners also get read more often than your basic static HTML page because they have ability to move smoothly, whereas traditional animated web graphics are clunky at best. Everybody knows 30-second rule, which dictates that you MUST make an impression on your viewer within 30 seconds of them hitting your site if you want them to respond to your offers. Since this rule is ALWAYS in effect, a Flash banner's ability to transmit a message quickly, smoothly, and effectively is always worth investment.
The application of Flash reaches far beyond simple animated banner. Worldprofit's new "Ultimate Home Business Promo," when it was first released, generated so many responses, they were difficult for us to keep up with! Once you have a look at http://www.worldprofit.com/uhbp/, you'll probably understand why. Flash, when created properly, not only has power to captivate your site viewers, it also has power to strike emotional chords and make your viewers feel whatever you want them to: excitement, hope, enthusiasm.
Up until last year, Flash banners could only be made using "Macromedia Flash" utility. For many, it was a difficult program to master, and creating even simplest of banners could be a week-long project. However, recent introduction of third-party applications such as Swish (http://www.swishzone.com) and SwFX (http://www.wildform.com/) have made it much easier to create animated banners that use same file format as Flash.