Creating effective and innovative user experiences with Flash?
The Future of Flash: Experience Design
Interview with Aria Danika
= worth knowing
Some time ago I was hired by an e-business company to support them in making usability engineering a standard part of their development process. In order to find out if there were any fundamental internal resistances, I interviewed the multi-disciplinary staff about its attitude towards usability. It turned out that designers were quite worried about their creative freedom; they seemed to equate usability with boredom and conservatism. If I had discovered the interview with Aria Danika, a flash designer herself, before, I would definetely have pointed the designers to it to convince them that usability and creativity are not antipodes.
Danika defines an effective user experience very freely (i.e. not constricting) as one that the user remembers — an experience that's sufficiently engaging and enveloping that the user walks away feeling it was time well-spent.
She envisions that Flash could make it possible to create user experiences which satisfy equally the demands of usability, aesthetics and entertainment:
Exploring different methods of interaction and navigation is definitely one of the great opportunities in a program like Flash. It's true that we've developed some basic standards in interface design, over the years. We use them because they work, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are the best way to do things. (…) The thing is, if you look hard enough, you will find some great examples of non-traditional navigation schemes on the Web that do follow clear, hierarchical navigation protocols, while at the same time encompassing additional information or enhancing the user experience overall. (Aria Danika)
Danika assumes that experience design will not be restricted to entertainment sites, but will also invade e-commerce:
The Web has introduced a new way of shopping, with access to tons of information, search features, and so on. But until very recently, a few key aspects of the actual shopping experience were lost — customer service was almost non-existent, and text could never live up to the tactile experience of in-person shopping. To solve these issues, designers have come up with new methods of engaging the user — creating stories, user experiences, rotating views and interactive demos, feedback forums, and so forth -- new solutions to old problems. (Aria Danika)
This article does not provide practical guidelines on HOW to design efficient user experiences with Flash – you should have a look at Danika’s online course for that –, but it is easy reading that makes you forget time and start dreaming of an exciting online future. Some more examples of innovative web interfaces like Sony Connected, would have increased the entertainment factor of the article even more.
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