Many Macromedia Flash developers think high usability means developing a conservative interface with little room for creativity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Applying usability principles throughout the development process encourages creativity as your team brainstorms for ideas. The field of Macromedia Flash content design is wide open for creative interpretation. In fact, many of the usability tips in this paper are the result of brainstorming in real world development situations. Applying usability to the Macromedia Flash development cycle offers benefits to developers, clients and users alike.
The journey metaphor helps a team in the pre-design stage of a project to define their project goals and brainstorm on site features that will improve usability. With usability in mind, the developers can focus the design on simplifying user tasks and improving the user experience.
The client benefits from this focus on usability because their end goal is easier for users to reach. This reduces site abandonment and can increase user trust in the client's brand.
The user benefits from forethought that goes into usability because, quite simple, they end up having a more enjoyable experience using Macromedia Flash content. When the developer focuses attention on the user and site usability, the Macromedia Flash content is better suited to meet everyone's needs.
Summary for the journey metaphor
Developing for usability is really all about preparation. Before asking the user to make the journey the developer should do the following:
- Know where the user is going - the goal
- Have and idea why the user wants to get there - the offer
- Determine the method of travel - is it Macromedia Flash?
- Map out the trip - storyboard
- Make the journey as enjoyable as possible - usability
- Watch users make the journey - testing