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EL 405: Flash interface and interactivity

How do the users know what they can do and what a package contains? The typical Flash journalism package uses the same kind of interface as most Web sites--links. Links may look like buttons, tabs, or perky icons, but when you get right down to what the interface does, it is just a list of links. Click one and you get some new information. (Mindy McAdams, Flash Journalism)

I think this may be one of the most compelling reasons for using Flash to produce journalism packages: users are already familiar with the interface. Unlike some more complex media players that provide an array of options and preference settings, Flash packages are really just Web sites like those most people read and interact with everyday, so they don't really need to learn anything new to use them. All they have to do is point and click.

Interactivity involves more than merely providing several choices to the user--although choice is one aspect of interactivity. The ability to provide a real user-controlled experience distinguishes online media from other news media; much more could be done in the future to allow users to get what they want from journalism online and to engage more deeply with the story. (Mindy McAdams, Flash Journalism)

Exactly. What sets most Flash packages apart from traditional slideshow presentations is the user's ability to navigate them and control the experience as they see fit.

I'm really starting to get excited about learning how to work well with Flash. I've already got a slew of ideas about producing Flash packages, though admittedly most of them are ideas I will pursue outside of class on my own time (such as compiling an annotated portfolio of my best graphic design projects and photography along with some music that enhances the messages inherent in each project or photo).

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