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HAPPENINGText: Jimmy Chen

Following three events in 2000, the Flashforward 2001 conference was held on February 19th to 21st in San Francisco. Flashforward 2001 is the world’s premier Flash event and expected to draw more than 3,000 Web animators, programmers, designers and enthusiasts. The three-day Flashforward 2001 conference features the finest Flash artists to share their ideas and processes. This month’s Shift presents a report by Jimmy Chen who also attended the Flashforward 2001 as one of the guest speakers.

Most designers who have been working on the web are very familiar with Flash technology that can enhance both their company/personal site and client sites. As designers and programmers begin to share ideas and methodology FlashForward became a platform for Flash developers to share their experiences. This year, the conference took place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in rainy San Francisco.

After the opening remark by Lynda Weinman and Stewart McBride, Kevin Lynch, President of Products for Macromedia presented his keynote speech. One of the main topics that Kevin focused on was usability. He presented a few sample sites that represented the good and the bad execution of Flash. Sites like Giorgio Armani and Michael Douglas web site, it was difficult for users to sit through multiple intros and hidden content. Kevin pointed out MTV2 and General Motor’s web site as examples of well-designed Flash sites which prove that creative design and good usability aren’t mutually exclusive.

Hillman Curtis‘ session of Making the Visible Invisible started out as the first presentation of the conference. He took us on a brief tour of his work and showed some sample works from designers we all admire. He shared with us his creative process and key ingredients to deliver an effective project.

Chris MacGregor of enlightened Flash designers regarding designing a user-friendly Flash site. He emphasized that users may not have the patience to wait for the download, the ability to use awkward navigation system, fuzzy type and bad color scheme. He further explained that conducting surveys and testing can help us understand the end user. Establishing the trust with the user by giving them control, the site will have a better chance in succeeding.

ioReseach presented True Interactivity: History, Reward, and Multi-User Spaces. The team, including Josh Ulm, Kris Griffith, Ryan Tandy and Jon Williams started out with an audience poll regarding what they think interactivity is. From book reading to sex, the team demonstrated their 7 characteristics of interactivity (subject and participant, intention, investment, participation, change, awareness of effects, and history of evolution). Using their previous projects as examples, ioResearch definitely know what the heck they are talking about.

Brad Johnson and his team from Second Story had an in-depth presentation regarding broadband storytelling. Using their project “Unwrapped: The Mysterious World of Mummies” for Discovery/TLC, they revealed their process which helped them develop the site. This intricate and complicated project revealed to the audience concepts from interactivity to dynamic audio tracks.

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