Web Site design - Flash

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Eric Rose, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Ya I know a lot of you don't like flash sites but I have decided to go down this path. The reasons are numerous and include:
    1. people can't rip off your pics
    2. better presentation abilities
    3. credibility (most major commercial photogs use flash sites, therefore buyers expect them)
    4. i love to drive myself nuts
    5. photographers don't buy other photographers prints so what they think doesn't matter LOL.

    So to circumvent the steep learning curve does anyone know of a template I could download that does a decent job. I have Dreamweaver MX and Flash MX. My biggest problem is that I am not a graphics person. I couldn't produce those jazzy graphics in Photoshop if my life depended on it.

    Anyway your esteemed help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    OK why again :smile:

    1 We don't like them

    2 I want your image I do a screen capture

    3 Credibility, not with us mate

    4 Your nuts to think about going down that route

    5 I'm a photographer, I've sold images to other photographers and collectors in the UK, Australia and the US, & also bought prints from a number of Internationally known photographers from mainly the UK, but also France, Mexico and Spain.

    And yes I have used Flash files on my own site and they are brilliant but in moderation.
     
  3. eric

    eric Member

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    Well...I sort of agree with you Eric. I think you are marketing your future Flash enabled web site to the demographic that will actually buy/call you for work. I don't like Flash pages from photographers who just want flashy web pages. But you need to make it fancy like that to people who will actually give you muulah!
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Do you really have that much difficulty in securing your future or present in photography, that you would put the time and effort into a format that most of the major search engines WILL NOT index in their search engines????

    I don't understand why photographers feel the need to be so much different than the main stream that sells.

    First and foremost, I am a manufacture, so the photographers not buying photorgraphers don't apply, secondly, I am a photographer that sells.

    Why would you saddle yourself in technology, that most people find annoying?

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow Ground Glass.
     
  5. KenM

    KenM Member

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    Eric, please, please, please don't use Flash. In my long experience with website design, I've rarely seen a website designed with Flash that was both useable and unobtrusive. Generally speaking, most Flash sites are just (forgive me for the pun) flashy, which just distracts from the overall message you're trying to convey. In short, Flash sites are tacky.

    And, what Ian said.

    Simple, clean design will win every time in my books. Focus on using CSS and standards compliant HTML - this is the new web standard, and you can do some phenomenal stuff with this combination. You'll find that your HTML will be very tight, and using CSS also gives you the ability to change the look of the site very easily.

    Check out these sites for a clean, simple design:

    http://www.polischuk.com
    http://www.doncameron.com
    http://www.f45.com

    Good luck!
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Yep, I just checked my website, I have had ~40,000 hits since Jan 2004. Primarily through search engines.
     
  7. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    KISS applies.
     
  8. mark

    mark Member

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    For those of us too damn poor, or unwilling to pay for broadband flash totally sucks and as soon as I come across a site that has it and takes longer than 3 seconds to load I click away. Just my humble, flash pisses me off, opinion.
     
  9. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I'm not looking to make it "flashy" just functional. I think most collectors that have the change to buy one of my prints also have the $$'s to pay for high-speed internet. I'm not interested in the WalMart crowd, they just aren't the demographic I'm going for.

    It's strictly a marketing decision. Yes the sites that Ken mentioned are nice and clean, but for the most part boring and don't add to the sales process.

    Yes I know I'm a heretic!
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Why ask Eric, it sounds like you have made your mind up on this particular situation?

    I wish you the most luck in you choice.

    Dave
     
  11. eric

    eric Member

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    E. Rose -- have a way out on the web page though. Can you at least have a link to a non-flash page as well as a flash page?
     
  12. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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  13. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Goodgrief... bet you a fiver that site won industry awards!

    Bob.
     
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  15. KenM

    KenM Member

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  16. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Flash is very good for things like menus and gallery building, but try building a whole site using it and you are in for a world of pain... I have very, very, rarely seen a flash site that works well - and that includes sites designed by professionals with years of experience and many thousands of beer tokens to spend. By all means use Flash to spice up the site, but I'd recommend you resist any temptation to build the whole thing using it. If you do a google on "flash picture gallery" or "flash menu template" or similar, I'm sure plenty of templates will pop up.


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  17. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    I visited it and left bewildered. What were they selling? They failed marketing 101, apparently.
     
  18. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    My site is primarily designed/built in Flash, it has gotten a very positive response and I have had few if any problems with it. Flash is a fairly complicated program and I would not recommend it for the novice. It does take longer to load than other web sites because you are downloading the entire site all at once, but then again once it's loaded the entire site runs faster than non flash sites.
    www.kosoff.com
     
  19. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    Creating your own markting materials (web site, cards, etc) presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

    As a 1/4 person shop (I assume you need to leave at least 3/4's of yourself free for shooting, developing film, writing mags, galleries, etc) you need to be efficient and innovative.

    I'd urge you to reconsider your list.

    1) Why don't you want people to download your photos? Personally I would include your name, web site address and maybe even contact information or slogan as part of the design of each photo. You want people to download your pics,you want them to save them as desktops and you want them to send the pics to their friends. Make each photo that comes from your web site a digital marketing piece.
    On the other hand if someone wants to steal your photos for unpaid use there is nothing you can do to stop them... Your watermark will stop the casual user. Registering the copyright on your images will protect them in the event you ever actually catch someone using one of your images.

    2. Yes, Flash has much better presentation abilities. This means squat if you don't have the skills to take advantage of it. It is easier to design a clean, professional looking web site in HTML. Especially if you are an inexperienced designer.

    3. Credibility. Sorry buddy but this is bunk. People are buying your images. A professional presentation helps to support image sales (just like a good frame helps a good image) but the fact that it is made in flash over standard HTML will only impress the geeks

    4. Don't drive yourself nuts. Be productive.

    5. Don't make me spank you! :wink:

    6. How much time are you willing to put into this? A good basic HTML site can be done quite quickly. There are online tools to check the links, check it for browser compliance, etc. Flash isn't that easy. Would you put a 100 hours into your flash site? More? www.carolynfrayn.com

    7. Good marketing is simple marketing.
     
  20. edz

    edz Member

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    They can. They can steal the whole flash and take it apart. Better is to include a watermark in your graphics and a lawyer up your sleeves should someone really try to steal your intellectual property.

    And a limited audience. Many people can't see/view flash. The machine I'm typing this on is a 64-bit machine with the latest chip from AMD on a very new board running freeBSD. Flash does NOT run on it. Neither does Active-X or some of the other objects that people find their way to embed into web pages without call to content. The world is not Intel or AMD or Windows or even Linux. OK, Flash does run on my Solaris/SPARC boxes but its not really the issue. I see many clients that are even running Windows-XP and Mac OS-X that don't have Flash or Java running on their machines by intent.

    The 1 million flies can't be wrong argument. Wrong is wrong and a million people on the streets with pitch forks and burning torches does not make it right.

    So why do you suspect that other's want to be driven nuts too?

    There are hardly any photographers here. I'm surely not one--- although I well probably would not buy any of your work either.

    If you are really intent on doing flash then you need to design your site to be able
    to split off according to
    - if people have flash or not (this you can detect)
    - perhaps give people the choice of flash and non-flash versions

    There are loads of sites out there that have flash leaders to go into a plain jane site and don't bother detecting if the client has flash or not or offer any other options. These sites are like gateposts standing in the way saying "You don't have flash then go away, we don't want you". If this is the intent then fine but more often than not its a product of lack of knowledge and being led by a bunch of designers with even less knowledge.
     
  21. edz

    edz Member

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    Yea. Silly looking site. All I see is some jigsaw piece telling me to "Click here to download plugin". Hmmmmm...
     
  22. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    With all of the flash sites out there, why don't you download the plug in? It's free and reliable. You're missing access to many good sites. Have you also decided against loading quicktime on your computer? Maybe save time and disk space and forego installing an operating system as well.
     
  23. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I know this isn't about Early Riser's site, but...

    There is nothing about this site that can't be done using javascript and standard HTML. You should choose the technology to fit the goal not the other way around. There are some out there who disable javascript (not many and far fewer than those who don't load plug ins), but it is far easier to to create an no-javascript site from a javascript enabled site, than it is from a flash site.

    Some issues with flash from my perspective:

    Flash does not scale with monitor resolution -- so on a high res monitor text that is intended to be read at 800x600 is barely readable. Links often become games, but no more usable. In fact many flash sites are harder to navigate. You cannot bookmark a 'page' within the flash document. This causes the user to remember and hit the same 6 or 7 links to get to the item of interest.

    There are search engine optimization techniques that can be applied to a flash site but it is infinitely easer to optimize a text based site.

    If your site goal (business goal) is best achieved by using flash, then use flash.

    Here is one of my favourite photo sites. Mostly because it is 'out of the box' and slick, which is one of the main reasons I think most choose flash. and also because he is a friend (and uses film).

    joshua kristal

    It has some issues: too many windows, links that are some times hard to locate and not entirely consistent, and its a little large, but it is straight HTML and...
     
  24. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My personal site can be justifiably criticised for being over flashed but that is because I was doing more Flash than photography at the time and was interested in exploring programming and and graphical solutions to various presentation problems. If it were a commercial site I would have been much more conservative and I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun working on it. :smile: It is made entirely from scratch and I got a lot of satisfaction from the accomplishment. I warn people who don't have broad band before they go in (I used to also give the option of simply downloading the site for off-line viewing as well) and have a "skip ahead" button for anyone that wants to skip the audio and graphics and head straight for the photography. It's their choice and I don't apologise.

    Flash can be used to create a subtly interactive or a completely annoying site. It is up to the designer, not the program. Front Page extensions and Java in the wrong hands can, and often is, used to create sites even more cheesy and obnoxious than anything that Flash can do and some people will sniff and groan at anything that isn't all monochrome text. Just apply the creativity and good taste that you use to make your photographs to the look and style of you web site and you have nothing to fear from Flash.
    If you are worried about your site being found, register it with the search engines and use meta tags and heading information in the HTML code that calls your Flash file.

    Oh yeah. Check this out if you have broadband. Something that I came up with while fooling around with Flash. No photography but it might be an amusing time killer for some. Make sure that you have your speakers on: http://www.nw-vdr.com/ndp .
     
  25. edz

    edz Member

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    I think you got up too early. Or can't read?
    And how am I supposed, if I so wanted, to download the flash plugin for my machine? There are NONE available. The point of the "web" was platform independence--- in fact we back in the early 1990s wanted polymorphic media objects (the smart server would deliver what the client stated it could accept).

    Apple Quicktime too is a proprietary piece of software not available on all platforms and for all hardware.
    Why don't you learn Mandarin Chinese? With 885 million speakers (not including some of the other Sino-Tibetan languages where communication via signs are possible) its by far the most spoken language in the world. Even Spanish is more common than English. Or accept Islam (if you have not already), the official state religion of nearly 50 countries with over 1.3 billion "believers"--- one considers Chistians to number 2 billion but that number includes all "Christian"-like faiths including not just Catholics, Protestants (all the groups), Eastern Orthodox but also Mormons, Jehova's Witnesses and even the Unification Church (Sung Yung Moon) which still numbers larger than .Jainism, Shinto or Cao Dai (to just name a few world religions).

    The issue should not be what you like but what everyone has or could, should the opportunity costs be appropriate. My favorite "word processor" is Frame+SGML. Within my compary we exchange Frame documents but is it suitable to publish for anonymous to read as the media for publication? Of course not. Its a comparatively expensive piece of software and tend to demand something like a Sun Workstation--- of which I own many dozens.

    The point of HTML--- which was designed as a very very poor man's SGML, with the brower being a toy Dynatext (which CERN liked but was very expensive and why they let Tim play with the NeXT)--- and the Web was to create a minimal common ground for exchange between the HEP community. It followed in the footsteps of CALS and other U.S. government initiatives, executive orders and government regulations to de-couple information from the hardware upon which they reside. As Charles Goldfarb repeatedly stated: Information must be able to survive the hardware and software upon which it is stored. It was about protecting authors and intellectual property--- a very relevant issue btw. for all digital media including increasingly popular consumer image capture ("Digicams").

    Don't see the relevance. One is trying to launch a "web site" for the intent of marketing. Selling a story. They want people to visit their site. If their site limits their audience to those using some specific proprietary piece of software then they are limiting their audience. Can one assume that the audience all use Windows or a Mac and all have the specific piece of software installed? Is it worth it?
    And what do we often see?
    Sites with a piece of meaningless flash lead-in to a very ordinary site. But without flash? The customers never get in.
     
  26. Early Riser

    Early Riser Subscriber

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    Edz, if you have chosen to use technology that it not compatible with the vast majority of web software/technology out there ( Wintel, Mac, Linux) maybe you shouldn't complain about your inability to download and use widely available drivers or access a large proportion of web sites. As for my comments about Quicktime, and not using an OS, I was being sarcastic. It's laughable that someone would take that seriously enough to truly reply to it, let alone give a dissertation on religion.

    BTW there are photographers posting on this forum, Im just one of many. So when you say,"There are hardly any photographers here." you're wrong.