Wouldn’t you like to be a Flasher too?Written by Amanda
The most basic type of web page is a static one – a page that rests docilely within your browser window. It doesn’t do anything. You can view it, then hit your browser back button and go away again. This is not sort of page one normally sets out to create (I hope), but rather a minor but important lesson in what to avoid. Web pages exist so that visitor can interact with them. There is an exciting quid pro quo between a site and its viewer that simply doesn’t exist in any other medium. It’s important to take advantage of that. So, what do you do? Well, simplest form of interactivity on a page is links to other pages, whether in form of text or snazzy buttons of one sort or another. Another way to interact with a page is to fill out a form, which offers an exchange of information (again, unique to web, particularly in its sense of immediacy). Almost all web site hosts offer scripting support of some sort, and there are also sites that exist to do fetch and carry work for you. Interactivity is what web is all about – a designer’s quest may be seen to be a Zen like goal to make a site one with person visiting it. Very cool. But palette of surfers out there has been increasingly jaded as one whiz bang notion after another has hit web and shaken and painted over its HTML foundations. Never lose sight of idea that what your site looks like is perhaps most important part of your web presence. What you say and how you say it are what keeps people coming back, but how you present it is what gets them interested in first place. And since a form is a form is a form (to paraphrase a writer a lot better known than me) there comes a time when you must augment your toolbox in order to create a souped up model. That’s where Flash comes in – it combines necessary strengths of interactivity with powerful animation techniques. Very very cool.
In not-too-distant past, web based animations were almost doomed before they began due to their hefty file size trying to squeeze into bandwidth available to it on its way from server to browser window. A scary but analogous idea might be to visualize a very large person trying to fit into a very small swimsuit. A lot gets left out. Animated GIF files, AVI and MOV files – all those are created with bitmap graphics, which basically means that each and every pixel of each and every frame must be downloaded & processed in order for it to display. Flash files, otoh, are vector based, which means that they are scalable (may be easily resized) and processed based upon geometry within file – curves and lines, rather than dot1, dot2, dot3. It makes for a far more compact means of displaying animated graphics. Also, Flash files are open format – intrepid and fearless third party software developers can make their mark by utilizing Flash file technology. Macromedia, company that markets Flash, has file specifications available for downloading at their web site (http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/open/spec/).
Webpage TipsWritten by Angela Barbeisch
As a working mother of two, I must admit that sometimes my house isn’t ready for company. Yes, you might trip over a few pairs of shoes when you walk in and you might have to wait for dinner while I dig around for some frozen pot pies and some clean dishes to serve them in. However, as Web Mistress of http://www.allparody.com, I’m always prepared to have company come into my “home. Here I can easily hide all dirty socks under bed but only thing you’ll see is is my best foot forward. When you present a website for your readers, you are inviting them to observe your house to take part in your metaphorical meal. To keep company in your house, you'd better make sure that coffees hot and service is fast and good.
Julia Child did not become a successful chef without using her tools of trade to provide a visual, culinary masterpiece. Brando wouldn’t have been able to scream at Stella without his script, staging, lighting and direction! Bill Gates wouldn’t have been able to build Microsoft without being a programming geek!
But where do YOU, as novice, find tools of trade? And are they expensive? The beauty and wonder of web is ANYONE has access to FREE you need to put together a truly terrific website.
You’ve registered with top search engines, such as yahoo.com, excite.com, google.com. Your site is advertised in newsletters, bulletin boards, guestbooks, link exchanges, top site lists and more. Customers hit a key word and find themselves at your site.
Now question is, are they STAYING, or does your site become a 5 second pit stop in Internet raceway?
Terrific graphics are wonderful, but guess what? They are passé on net if they are slow loading! Did you know that Yahoo.com’s splash page loads in under 6 seconds, even on a 14.4 modem?? There’s a reason they are so successful!
Let’s say you are owner of JimBob’s Fishing Hole, selling quality lures and hooks. A fisherman will wait patiently for hours for a catch. On net, same fisherman will wait an average of 8-12 seconds if site doesn’t load quickly enough. The average Joe doesn’t want to wait three minutes to see jpeg of that 22" bass you caught on Lake Kokomo! This potential “fish” is going get away unless you masterfully bait hook.