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Reliable animation?



9:19 pm on Feb 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello everyone, i need to pick your brains!

My work is more art orientated rather than clean technical design, and up until now just having nice graphics has seen me through (asthetically anyway!). However, more and more people are asking about animations when it comes to user interactivity.

These range from animated galleries where images pop up in a nice fluid motion, to fully animated (and functional) interfaces and buttons. Fancy moving header graphics also seem to be getting more popular.

Ive been warned off using flash for a host of reasons including cross browser comp, pop up blockers, bad seo ect but it seems i need to really start looking at taking a step forward and animating a little of what i draw.

I have Flash cs3 which ive used very little and ive seen lots on the web about jquery and ajax. I have no scripting experience whatsoever.

What do you think would be my most relable way of animating a little of my websites so that they run across browsers and load in good time? What kind of format or script language should i concentrate on learning?

Thanks in advance


3:24 am on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You bring up several different applications, and each one might well have a different "best solution". I agree that for some applications, especially main menus, Flash should be avoided. Yet for others, such as an animated graphic header, Flash might well be the very best means to the end.

There are two related technologies that can be used in conjunction with Flash files to give search engine spiders and non-Flash user agents something solid to work with - SWFObject and SWFAddress are their names. The key here is to retain the original source files that were worked into the Flash movie, so they can be used to create alternative HTML-only content.

Sometimes a good animated effect can be achieved simply through an animated gif, or a hover effect that reveals a perviously hidden animated gif. Javascript can combine with the DOM (Document Object Model) to create various types of animated interactions as well - it used to be called DHTML.

So I'd suggest learning a few of the technical possibilities I mentioned above. That way you can match the best tool to the job. Just stay away from Java for animations - that's a different technology from Javascript, by the way.


10:15 am on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the info mate, thats just what i wanted to hear!

I didnt want to spend the next part of my life trying to master adobe flash only to find it isnt a good thing to use. I'll blow the cobwebs of my flash suite and get started

Thanks for the response, very helpful


5:35 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A couple comments on this . . .

Ive been warned off using flash for a host of reasons including...

- cross browser comp - Flash is a plug-in that is browser-independent. The broswer, any browser, either has the plug-in or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, you display alternate content. See tedster's reference to SWFobject.

In fact, take for example the puzzle of displaying a "sample sound" on a page. Other technologies that do this require a specific plugin less "universal" than Flash, or definite browser-specific approaches. Flash negates all of these problems by putting the sound in Flash, actually resolving cross browser problems.

- pop up blockers - Flash is not a pop-up, and pop-up blockers won't affect Flash . . . unless it's in a pop-up. :-)

- bad seo - only bad if you use Flash in a critical site function (using tedster's example of navigation) or critical content, as in, putting your text in a scrollable Flash object. Even this is changing, search here for thread on Flash and Indexing (as in search engine indexing) - they've been reading Flash content for a while, and Adobe has added some things to Flash to "feed" the search engines for even more content.

In the context of an animation, header, supplemental info that is otherwise difficult to access, Flash is just what it's supposed to be - an enhancement of your page.

The point, take advice with a grain of salt until you investigate on your own, it may be generalized, interpreted incorrectly, or even incorrect (even mine! :-) )


7:18 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks rocknbil, ive been doing a little research and your absolutely right. Flash certainly isnt the demon i first thought it was so long as i keep my content seperate from it. Ive been messing around with Flash cs3 all day and ive got a few lynda.com tuts to get through but im sure i'll get the hang of it soon. Quite exciting really!

Thanks for the response mate much appreciated.


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