II. The Process
Development steps to creating user-friendly Macromedia Flash
When applying the journey metaphor to Macromedia Flash development, remember that the developer's job is that of the travel agent, making sure that the user arrives easily at the client's destination. Developers should think about the answers to the following questions, and use the answers to develop usable Macromedia Flash content.
Step #1 - Determine where you're headed
The client and the developer need to identify the primary goal for the content. The destination the client wishes the user to reach is the primary goal for the Macromedia Flash content.
Step #2 - Determine what will motivate the user to take the trip
Understanding user goals is futile without extensive research. A better strategy is to develop an offer to drive the user towards his/her goal.
Step #3 - Decide how the journey will be made
The developer should decide the format for the content based on the goals and the offer. Decide whether Macromedia Flash is the best format for the content.
Step #4 - Map out the trip
Create a list of tasks the user will be required to complete to accomplish the goal or reach the destination of the journey. The developer should consider a number of different routes that the user could take.
Step #5 - Make the journey as short as possible
Apply usability ideas to the content to make the user tasks easier. Group similar tasks together and remove as many steps as possible.
Step #6 - Watch users make the journey
User testing on actual end-users is a very effective method for discovering usability defects. A simple, well-prepared testing plan will suffice to provide the developers ample feedback. Part VI of this paper offers a guide to user testing for Macromedia Flash content.
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