Usability begins with the Macromedia Flash developer, but it does not stop there. Macromedia Flash developers can only make usability choices based on their experience, training and judgement. The developer is only half the equation. It is important to understand that the developer and the user each know only their own perspective of the usability picture.
To understand the perspective of a user, the developer must listen to what users have to say. Many valuable insights can be gained from watching other people interact with Macromedia Flash content. What might have seemed like the most logical process during development may totally confuse users. Listening to the opinions of users about the Macromedia Flash content can guide developers toward improving usability in the current content, and toward better planning for usability in the future.
User testing Macromedia Flash content on actual end-users is a very effective method for discovering usability defects. Testing should be done throughout development process. By evaluating the design and information structure as part of an ongoing process, developers can correct mistakes and make improvements with the least amount of difficulty.
User testing does not have to be a big budget affair. A simple, well-prepared testing plan will suffice to provide the Macromedia Flash developers with ample feedback.