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恰當地使用 Flash

在網站設計者的社區,Flash 一直是一個很具爭議性的話題,有些人認為 Flash 補充了 HTML 在互動方面的不足,使網頁更生動,提高了上網的趣味,但是有些人卻認為 Flash 屬於可有可無的花招,在某些情況下它反而成為使用者的障礙。

Peter Seebach 在 IBM developerWorks 上發表了他對網頁上使用 Flash 的意見,Peter 在肯定 Flash 的價值之餘,也指出在大多數的情況下 Flash 都被用在不恰當的場合

In the community of web designers, Flash has been a very controversial topic, some people think that complements HTML deficiencies in interactive functions and make the web more vivid and fun.  But some people think that Flash is dispensable tricks, and in some cases, it turned out to be the user’s obstacles.

Peter Seebach published his comments on Flash usage on the web at IBM developerWorks.  Peter approved Flash’s value, and pointed out that in most occasions, Flash is used inappropriately,他還提供了一些使用 Flash 的大原則給讀者參考。

Peter 首先指出,Flash 是否在所有平台都得到良好的支援?儘管不同的調查有不同的結果,但無可否認 Flash 在各個平台的支援和接受程度都很高,主要的瀏覽器都可以觀賞 Flash 的動畫,我們的問題不再是用戶是否可以瀏覽 Flash 的網頁,而是我們為甚麼非要用戶使用 Flash 看動畫不可?真的有這個需要嗎?

Flash 的濫觴

Peter 說有太多設計師認為使用 JavaScript 和 Flash 堆砌出來的動態網頁才算是生動和互動,可惜大部分情況係都不是如此。

首先絕大部分的用戶都已經習慣了網頁的連結是一個藍色有底線的文字,探訪過的連結則會變成紫色,總之連結都是有底線的,新的和探訪過的連結可以用顏色來區分,偶然使用 image map 是可接受的,雖然有時它帶給某些用戶一些困惑。

當這些聯結用動畫的形式表達出來,情況便變得很有「挑戰性」,用戶們突然間找不到他們那些習慣了的知名而可靠視覺提示,他們需要花時間和精力來理解 眼前的網頁究竟如何運作,雖然有時這是有趣的,但通常功能性都不大,尤其是當用戶發覺他必須把滑鼠移到指定的區域才能看到他尋找已久的關鍵詞,情況特別使 人煩惱。

Peter 繼續指出,網頁設計上加入太多的創意未必是好事,網上的用戶不會只瀏覽你的網頁,所以可靠而一致的用戶介面是十分重要的。而且,即使你的設計真的比傳統的方法優勝,若果它的使用方法與其他網頁差別太大,到頭來用戶仍是覺得它混亂而難於使用,何況,你的設計未必真的比人家的好。

Flash 是可有可無的嗎?

Peter 認為純粹為了炫燿而加插的 Flash 動畫,都是不美觀、難於接受和不明智的,一個用戶來到一個產品的網頁,發覺需要另外一些技術才能看到有關的資料,一定會感到很沮喪,這時即使這件插件很容易安裝,他也不會願意多走一步安裝這個插件。

很多網站設計者總是以為他們是網上很有代表性的一群,他們擁有高速的網絡,最新版本的軟件和插件,於是很容易為他們的網頁定下過高的要求,其實他們應該在一些舊版本和較不普遍的瀏覽器,尤其是一些沒有安裝任何插件的瀏覽器上測試他們的網頁,然後才決定怎樣設計。

除了舊版本的瀏覽器外,他們也應該在設計時考慮到流動電話和手帳上的瀏覽器。另一個設計者經常忽略的東西就是搜尋器優化,搜尋器不會把圖像中的文字編制索引,若果你希望別人在搜尋器上找到你的網頁,最好還是使用搜尋器看得懂的文字。

聰明的設計者會把網頁設計成即使 Flash 無法運作也不會妨礙瀏覽,重要的資料都用率直簡樸的文字表達。

設計得好的網頁會使用動畫和動態的內容來吸引訪客,而不是把訪客驅走,互動的元素應該把瀏覽的過程簡化而不是複雜化,但不論任何一種互動技術都不能 代替簡樸的文字內容。不論你使用任何互動技術,千萬不要在插件上有太多要求,我們可以假設大部分的訪客都可以觀看 Flash 的內容,但是那一小部分看不到 Flash 的用戶怎麼辦呢?世界上沒有一個老闆會聘請一個人站在店舖的門口每一百個客人便驅走一兩個,為何網站設計師要這樣做呢?

相關課程

網頁設計課程 (CEF認可) – 互聯網多媒體設計文憑課程

Adobe Flash 課程.  He also provides some principle of Flash usage for reader’s reference.

First, Peter pointed out that if Flash is well-supported by all platforms? Different surveys may have different results, but undeniably, Flash’s support and acceptance of most platform are very high: major browser can view Flash animation.  Our question is no longer whether the user can view the Flash pages but why would users use Flash for animation? Is it necessary?

The fountainhead of Flash

Peter claimed that there are too many designers considered that the real lively and interactive dynamic web pages are fabricated using JavaScript and Flash, but unfortunately most cases is not so.

First, the vast majority of users are already used to web links that are blue underlined text, while visited links will turn purple.  In short, links are underlined, new links and visited linked can be differentiated by colour, occasional usage of image map is acceptable, though sometimes it brings confusions to some users.

When these links are expressed by animations, the situation will become very “challenging”, users suddenly cannot find the well known visual cue they are accustomed to; they need time and effort to understand the operation of the page, although sometimes this is interesting, usually not functional, The situation is very troubling, especially when users find that he must put the mouse over the designated area in order to see the keywords he is longing for.

Peter went on and pointed out that flooding of creative ideas on web design is not necessarily a good thing, online users will not only browse your page, so reliable and consistent user interface is very important. Moreover, even if your design is really better than the traditional method, if its method of use is too much different from others, end users still find it confusing and difficult to use, not to mention your design may not really better than others.

Is Flash dispensable?

Peter believes that Flash animations inserted purely to show off, are unsightly, difficult to accept and unwise.  When a user comes to a product page, and found that other technologies are required to see relevant information, they would feel very frustrated even if such plug-in is very easy to install, he will not be willing to take one more step to install such plug-in.

Many web designers always think they are very representative online group, they have high-speed network, the latest version of the software and plug-ins, so it is easy for them to set over-demanding web requirements, in fact, before deciding how to design, they should test their pages in some old version and less popular browser, especially without any plug-ins.

In addition to the older version of the browser, they should also be taken into account in the design of the browser on the mobile phone and PDA. Another issue that designer often overlooked is search engine optimization.  Search engine will not organize the text in the image into its index, if you want people to find your website through the search engine, the best way is to use the search engine understandable text.

Smart web design designers will design pages that can be browsed smoothly even Flash malfunctions, while all important information are expressed with straightforward, simple text.

Well-designed Web sites use animation and dynamic content to draw users in, rather than to drive them away.  Interactive elements should simplify the process of browsing and not complicate it; however, none of the new technologies is a good substitute for textual content and real information. No matter what interactive technology you are using, do not demand too much plug-in requirement.  We can assume that most visitors can view the Flash content, but how about the remaining small part of users who are unable to view Flash?  Most bosses don’t hire someone to stand in front of their storefront and insult two out of every 100 people who approached the door; why do it on a Web page?

Related Courses

Web Design Course (CEF Approved) – Diploma in Multimedia Design for the WWW

Adobe Flash Course

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