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March 29, 2006

cool qwerty rings and bad uses of flash

here's an example of what i dislike the most about portfolio sites that are created using Flash. Forgive me if this seems obvious, but i encounter these sites quite often. Yesterday, I came across these wonderful rings that were made from old qwerty keyboards (my favorite is the "help" key) and i wanted to post them here.

the site, however is a self-contained flash universe that won't allow me to directly link to the page on which they are displayed. Instead, i have to link to the main page, and then instruct you to click "projects" and search for the AZERTY page. Normally, I would give up at this point and not link at all, but in this case i thought it served as a good example of my pet peeve.

By forcing all of your guests through the front door, a few things happen. First, you force your content down the click stream. Each click depth represents a cost to the visitor and from experience i can tell you that means a sizeable portion of your audience will simply leave. Second you force a contextual background for your work - in this case it appears as an "experiment" among many others that have nothing to do with rings. Allowing people to come in the back door and discover the work on its own allows a wider swath of interpretations to a wider audience (see #1) . Lastly this sort of architecture doesn't allow you to access the breadth of statistical data that you could get from an html or php based architecture. These statistics can give you insight on what people are doing on your site and in turn you can respond with updates specific to that interest.

Flash is great for many things. It is a nearly ubiquitous plug-in that creates a stable, cross browser platform for music, video and interactive media (games, toys, etc...), but i would strongly urge that (at least for the moment) it not be used to create self-contained environments to show of a range of work.

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