June 19, 2000
1:39 PM   Subscribe

I can't help but feel that Flash interstitials (like those one finds at HillmanCurtis.com) are like holographs stuck on book covers. All the little flashing squares and pomo imagery and industrial sounds are wonderful, but they don't seem to add very much to the user experience. Did the Web kill cool multimedia? Have we actually taken a step back from the mid-1990s, when there were interesting projects on CD-ROM?
posted by tranquileye (8 comments total)
Using Flash to design an entire website is like buying a Camcorder to write a book.

Flash has it's place, but navigation and basic image display is rarely it.
posted by Mick at 2:16 PM on June 19, 2000

well, for one thing, hillman curtis has openly remarked in public that he tells his designers, "gimme a little of that MTV" or "gimme a little of that imaginary forces" (this was said at the living surfaces conference last year), so obviously he feels that a visual is just eye candy.

(i don't agree)

i would love it if more designers using flash would realize it's a great way to create a dramatic narrative to introduce a concept, not just animate things randomly.

(this is where i link to work i've done. sorry. it's to illustrate the point.)

i just made this for a client trying to keep that idea in play. (adult content, by the way...photo exhibit for the fetish community in L.A.)
posted by patricking at 2:16 PM on June 19, 2000

Flash didn't kill cool multimedia on the web. It lowered the bar so much that any design intern with ravelicious pretentions can download a trial copy and put up a ravey multimedia extravaganza site. So rather than just a few people who understand the impact of multimedia putting out a few works we have half a million flash users cranking out stuff.

We could say the same thing about how HTML killed hypertext (and many have) because the majority of hypertext sites out there are complete crap because the majority of people havn't given hypertext much thought, and just bang out a vanity site for their cat.

But the fact that more people have access to multimedia tools, and the tools are easier to use, and are more afordable is a good thing. What we need is for the professional design firms to learn how to use their new found powers in a more appropriate manner.
posted by captaincursor at 6:42 PM on June 19, 2000

I think there's an even better parallel example from the not-too-distant past than the HTML-killed-hypertext the Captain mentions: it wasn't THAT long ago that PageMaker and the LaserWriter first appeared. Headlines laid out in the original "San Francisco" font still haunt my nightmares after particularly spicy meals...

Paper-based layout survived the influx of the unwashed, and media will, too, if cooler headed, more talented designers would stop whining about Flash growing like a malignant cell structure and start using for what it's actually good for - and if everybody else will just give it a chance. 'Way back then, there was no "instant criticism" as there is on the Web today, so the erstwhile page designers felt freer to try and fail than I think media designers probably feel now. I've experimented with Flash and have found some uses for it, but there's no way I'm going to put anything up when I know ya'll are ready to stomp me into text-based submission...
posted by m.polo at 6:54 PM on June 19, 2000

laserwriters and pagemaker: good point. i remember in my first year of design training we learned traditional pasteup, keylining, copyfitting, hand-drafted spot illustration. totally old school. the next year, they dismantled the ENTIRE program and installed a computer lab with 25 shiny new macintosh II's...complete with illustrator 3 (no preview mode!), freehand 3 (when it was still owned by aldus), photoshop 2, and pagemaker. what a shift. and the instructors refused to teach us to use the computers-they thought it was polluting the craft. making it too easy. same thing here.
posted by patricking at 9:45 PM on June 19, 2000

There's an excellent article that deals eloquently and intelligently with this subject on http://www.dplanet.org

great site too.
posted by bravo at 12:18 AM on June 20, 2000

The death of craft is heralded with the birth of all new technology. At Project40, Mike from Method.com gave a very interesting lecture about the necessity for new media designers to take cognoscence of the lineage of classical graphic design and typographic principles. Good design priciples and craft should shine through technology. Print designers still see new media as the poor cousin precisely because 'design interns with ravelicious pretentions' constantly get acclaim from the plethora of self-serving and self-referential 'critic' sites such as Macromedia (SSOD). Let's get MORE critical!!!
posted by dplanet at 12:58 AM on June 20, 2000

It seems to me that designers are not using Flash as part of a web site interface. It is either the only thing on the page or not there at all. I just read this article 'Hey Flasher, Stop Abusing your Visitors!' and I pretty much agree with what it sez there.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:04 PM on June 20, 2000

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