May 6, 2013

Adding content to the EFC web-site

The Earth & Flight Composites web-site has many visual imagery, because there are already more boring corporate web-sites cramming the internet than strictly necessary. It has dark(ish) appearance since that is better for visitor's eyes - the old CRT monitors were canons that continuously blasted particles towards the head of the user, newer flat screen LCD's often emit 'dirty' frequencies. These are not nice smooth sinus curves, but irregularly jagged scrabbles that directly affect the composition of your DNA code which could potentially cause all sorts of nasty disorders and deceases. Dark backgrounds are less harmful to users since they emit less rubbish than white ones.

Awesome photo shot by Bert Groenewoud of an Antonov carrier aircraft

For smarties visiting this page who wonder why this page has a light background, while I just wrote the above about dark backgrounds: at least now people who actually read, have the possibility to base their choice on coherent information, assuming they have embraced the light page background bias that is a rather stubborn common misconception.

Anyway, interactive visual appeal is not just an other user experience, but also offers more information. Flash (.swf) makes this possible. Fortunately I found some code that allows me to post examples of that, even though Blogger does not offer any clues in their manuals and guidelines on how to do this - check the source code of this page (second div). Below you see an example of an interactive slideshow in the EFC web-site.

Click any of the thumbnails to see a larger version of the image being displayed below the thumbnails. This particular .swf was created in InDesign which claims to be able to do that as a standard function, but such slideshows often do not work properly. Generally one of the thumbnails - depending on your Object State order - will not do anything when it is clicked.

Placing transparent rectangles on top of the thumbnails and making those into buttons, makes the slideshow actually work as they should. I found this trick in a forum after having read many crappy solutions of 'experts' that do not work. InDesign is an absolutely great program, but is has a number of strange quirks that require designers to use out-of-the-box solutions. Without it however, designing proper web-sites would be an ordeal beyond compare.

Recently such slideshows were added to the Portfolio page of the EFC web-site that you can see by clicking here. I am still looking for methods to make video clips to play inside .swf generated by InDesign. It works nocely off-line, but once uploaded to the web, the clips do not play. It must have something to do with the embedding of the.swf in html, but I guess the two Adobe applications InDesign and Dreamweaver do not cooperate adequately where this type of motion visuals is concerned.