The Flash Usability Guide: Interacting with Flash MX / Edition 1by MACGREGOR, Crystal Waters, Peter Pinch, David Doull, Bob Regan
Pub. Date: 09/01/2002
"Usability makes everything easier, except the job of the developer. Usability is not easy. There are no macros to run on Macromedia Flash projects to apply usability. Applying usability requires a change in the development process. It requires a new method of thinking about a project from start to finish." - Chris McGregor, Macromedia Usability White Paper.
With the latest MX release, Flash has taken a significant step towards becoming the standard tool for delivery of web content. This brings with it a whole range of new challenges for those working with Flash, the biggest of which is making sure that their Flash material can be easily used by everyone that it is intended for.
This book isn't about stifling flair and creativity, this is about making sure that your viewers stick around to appreciate the fruits of your creativity (and your hard work), and that your skills stay current in a quickly changing web landscape.
As suggested above, Usability is not an easy topic when you depart from crass dictatorial statements and into the real world. This book exists to take the role of the user's web experience seriously and to show you how to remember them when designing. As such, it could be the most valuable Flash MX book you'll read this year.
Author Biography: Chris McGregor is the author of Macromedia's Usability White Paper and the man behind flazoom.com.
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When I first picked up this book I had incorrectly assumed it focused on the new accessibility features in MX. This is merely a small part of what the book offers, however. Instead, it gets into the nitty gritty of what developers and designers need to consider as they build their sites in order to produce work that users can ..well, USE. I found this book addressed and offered solutions to many common problems, as well as some more interesting and subtle issues that arise during site production. My only gripe was that at times I felt that, due to the multiple-author nature of the book, certain material was retread chapter to chapter. Although each chapter offered something new, it also presented material previously addressed. Still, a very helpful book of practical theories and implementations amidst so many tutorial-based books on how to achieve cool effects.
Anyone serious about web design/development (whether you use flash or not) should read this book. It is well written and practical. Showing you how to make your web site from the users side of view instead of the designers side of view, taking into account how to make it accessible for everyone, all the little things most web developers and designers miss along the way. Giving you real life siduations on what can happen during the stages of development and wrenches thrown in during the web development process (as any web developer or designer knows all to well from clients) and how to cope with them. It shows you fantastic strategies how to cope with user importance and usuabilty during every phaze of development (even ones you would never think was important) It also shows you when it's good to use flash and when not to. This is one of the best books I've seen written yet on the usuabilty of flash. An extreme must for all web designers and developers (even for those wanting to learn it just for themselves) If more would read books like this, the internet would be alot easier place to surf. I highly recommend it.