Sunday 09 June 2002

A useful Flash site!!!!!

In October 2000, Jakob Nielsen thought that Flash was bad:

About 99% of the time, the presence of Flash on a website constitutes a usability disease. Although there are rare occurrences of good Flash design (it even adds value on occasion), the use of Flash typically lowers usability. In most cases, we would be better off if these multimedia objects were removed.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (Flash) World Cup Game Tracker

I’ve been teaching Flash for years and, until now, I’ve agreed with Nielsen. Macromedia’s Site of the Day—the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s World Cup Game Tracker—is the first well-designed, useful Flash site I’ve encountered. (It will be interesting to see if the Nielsen Norman Group’s recent strategic partnership with Macromedia results in a quantifiable increase in the number of useful/usable Flash sites.)

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The wonder is that Flash has survived this long as a tool for making things that people didn't ask for. Don't you think it has evolved along with the web though? When the businesses ask for soemthing like this eventually it will come along, may take a few years but it will happen.

Now it's just a matter of the developers learning application interface design as opposed to web design.

I say this coming from the really useless, cartoon side. But more Flash is better for me, too.

Posted by Eric Mauro on 9 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

As a blind computer user, I was part of a Nielsen-Norman Group research study last summer, and it introduced me to the idea of usability. The concept that I was having problems accessing a web site not because I was using a screen reader but because the site was just poorly designed, just had not occured to me. I was all excited about the newest version of Flash, went to the Macromedia web site as soon as I read about it, and tried to download it. The newest versio of Flash might be accessible, but trying to figure out where the link was to download this wonder while using a screen reader was not possible. I tried to send a comment about the trouble accessing the link but as of yet have gotten no response from anyone. Someone I know who used to work at Macromedia informed me Macromedia farms the web page design out to another company, who obviously is not up on usability. Good thing I am crazy already or I would not have so much fun when the hysterical giggles take over.

Posted by kestrell on 9 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Howdy, sorry for the hassle, thanks for the observation though. I'm not sure where you sent the mail, but do know that gets a lot of incoming mail and not all get replies. I'll forward your note along myself... right now the Macromedia web team is working on a major set of enhancements to the site, and it would be good to have it tested with GW Micro's Window-Eyes or other MSAA-compliant readers.

(The site is designed, created and maintained by internal staff, although we do commission articles and features from the greater community.)

John Dowdell
Macromedia Support

Posted by John Dowdell on 9 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

Pretty cool, especially considering Canada's not even in it.

But there's a another example that pre-dates it:

I can't help but think there is a huge (financial) opportunity for whoever developed this to sell it to every hotel and travel web site on earth. And that goes for a lot of applications where Flash makes sense.

Posted by patrick breitenbach on 9 June 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour