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Subject: Re: FLASH: FLASH 99% BAD
From: Roland Combes
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 20:55:45 GMT

>>> Second, one of the Web's most powerful features is that it lets users
control their own destiny. Users go where they want, when they want. This
quality is what makes the Web so usable, despite its many usability
problems. <<<

One of the great things about Flash that seems to escape this guy is that it
provides the designer with the CHOICE of providing control or not.
Sometimes you need to prevent the user from blindly backing up to pages that
were not meant to be executed twice (e.g. purchase request pages) or placing
bookmarks at pages that cannot be reloaded in vacuo or browsing the source
code for nefarious purposes.

In my line of work providing controlled online education is a must. Flash
provides the most control over the delivery of information and subsequent

>>> How many scrollbar designs do we need? Actually, we probably do need a
new scrollbar design for online content; the current scrollbar was designed
for office automation content that users wrote themselves. <<<

He admits we do need a new scrollbar design for online content yet blast
Flash designers for introducing ther own nonstandard GUI controls. Flash
has libraries of interface elements that use the same interface guidelines
designed for Windows and Mac menus, radio buttons, etc., yet can be altered
to fit the color scheme of the GUI or provide extra specialized utility.

>>> (Flash content tends to be created once and then left alone). <<<

Obviously has no concept of Generator coupled with Flash.

>>> If Flash was cheap to produce and if all content creators could make a
Flash object as easily as they write a standard Web page, then perhaps many
of these problems would be alleviated. <<<

In order to do what I and my 3 content developers (none of which know Flash)
do, my company would have to use 3 HTML developers, a graphic artist, and a
Cold Fusion developer all of whom cost twice what my department costs. And
even then the result is not as attractive to our customers.

>>> Internationalization and localization is complicated. Local websites
must enlist a Flash professional to translate content. <<<

Our company, eHealth Latin America (www.eHealthLA.com), develops both
Spanish and Portugese content for health education, news, and community
connectivity. I speak no Portugese and my Spanish is less than stellar.
None of our translaters or localization experts even know the first thing
about Flash. Yet through the use of Generator and external text files, the
translation is EASIER in Flash than in HTML.

This guy misses the boat on so many issues we should at least point out the
one he probably has right.

- Flash reduces accessibility for users with disabilities.

How do we address this? Is this simply a case of duplicating the Flash page
in plain-Jane HTML so that visually-impaired users can listen to what others
would see in Flash?

- Roland Combes
p.s. The Flash portion of our site has not gone live yet as we are building
our content for a release date next month.

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  RE: FLASH: FLASH 99% BAD, Chris Basken

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