Planning a Flash Project
Written by Amanda Kern
Planning: The Most Crucial Steps
As you'll quickly learn, Flash is a pretty complex program that can easily punish those that do not adequately plan projects. Flash development is a time consuming process, not to mention the "f" word - frustrating. You are guaranteed to run into some type of bug or a need to test your project continually. Jumping into Flash without a plan can quickly lead to a nightmare project. It's proven that time spent planning a project's goals, objectives as well as clarifying how the project will function will lead to much less of a painless development process. In fact, realistically plans should be reviewed and approved by a client or your boss prior to working in Flash to ensure the design and concept is on target.
The Many Considerations to contemplate: The client & project
- Target Audience. Is the project for kids, seniors, or teens? Or is it intended to be upscale or perhaps edgy? The target audience will not only factor into the design but also into some usability factors. For instance, teens might be more capable of figuring out more intuitive interfaces - besides most are geniuses with gaming consoles like the Xbox. However, seniors or those less computer saavy might not be able to figure out an intuitive hidden navigational system.
- Competition. Always research and scope out your clients competition. You always want your ideas to stand out in the crowd. Are your ideas as innovative and creative as the competitions or are they so alike that no one would notice the difference?
- Goals. What are the goals for the company and project? The project should be purposeful and the objectives should be clear.
- Message. What is the primary message behind the project? Is it an advertisement or promotional? Is it informational?
- Project type. Is this an advertisement, flash interface, or animation? Clarify where the project will be used. Will it be seen on the web, a mobile device, or tv?
Clarifying a project's objectives
So if you are use to doing rough drafts for a logo, brochure or web site be prepared for a bit of a change. Rough drafts for Flash projects, commonly referred to as storyboards, generally exhibit thought into multiple scenes and transitions to exhibit how main transitions and features in a project will occur. Site maps or flowcharts are often created as projects become more complex to show how a project will function from page to page.
The Many Considerations to contemplate: Storyboarding a Flash Project
- Document Size. You should consider what size is most appropriate for the project. Obviously designing for a mobile device differs from creating a fullscreen application for a 20" monitor. This will also affect how your design.
- FPS. Frames per second. If you are working on cartoon animation or smoother animation the FPS might be raised, however, keep in mind that as you raise the FPS that it takes up additional memory.
- Color scheme. What is the main color scheme? Background color? Font colors?
- Fonts. What typeface do you intend to use? Size? Will any special effects be added to the type?
- Sound. Will there be any event sound or background/streaming sound used? Consider sound early in the project, it helps tremendously to plan the timing of a project.
- Imagery, graphics, video. Clarify the objectives for imagery, graphics, and/or video. Will it be stock photography or will someone take photographs for the project? How will the graphics be created? Hand drawn? Self created? Scanned? If there is video involved consider whether additional video editing is involved and how the video will be implemented into the project.
- Animations & transitions. The most challenging part of storyboarding a project is clarifying how the project will animate or transition. It often helps by drawing screens with arrows as indicators. Also annotate any motion in writing to clarify the animation. Are there transitions between sections?
- Navigation & Interactivity. How will the navigation function? Are there rollover effects? Is it more intuitive or is it a persistent navigation? How will the user interact with the project?
- Content. How much content will be in the project? This will assist you in allocating space for sections such as text or imagery.
- Actionscript & Additional Features. Is there any additional programming involved such as what is needed for a form or database. How complex is the actionscript for the project?
- Concept. What is the concept or the "idea" behind the project?
The following resources are available to assist you in storyboarding projects for Flash.
The following examples are provided to give you insight into the process of creating a storyboard.