Sneak PeakFlash site UPDATED 8/30


PeterWright wrote on 8/29/2004, 10:15 PM
Interesting technology - obviously has some applications.

Re Text Size - example - The drop down list on Tutorials should have text as big as "Billy Boy" currently is at the top.

Important not to overdo the PowerPoint bringing everything on from the side syndrome.

Interesting to see how you develop it, Billy.

Cheno wrote on 8/29/2004, 10:50 PM
Since I couldn't design a website to save my life.. I feel like I shouldn't critique.. but I will.

This looks like beginning Flash 101. Visually I don't see anything that would denote that this is anything out of the ordinary. I agree that flash, intermixed with html is the future, not completely driven flash sites, however I have seen some I really like.

This is the guy I use for my flash needs. I think defining the look is a key to any good site. He's done a whiz bang job here. Not that I don't think BB's has promise, but I guess I don't see what the hubbub is about by making it flash. It really doesn't look any better color or design-wise than you previous site.

Am I missing something?

JasonMurray wrote on 8/29/2004, 11:01 PM
I do feel it's important to repeat this here now - if you built the site according to web standards (HTML, CSS, no nasty JavaScript), you would be frustrated by around about none of the issues you're experiencing at the moment.

Websites shouldn't care what browser and operating system and resolution they're running in. The content is what's important.

Wouldn't you be able to put more and better content up there if you didn't have to publish multiple versions (MSIE, Netscape) of the same content?
MJhig wrote on 8/29/2004, 11:02 PM
I can't get there on my 98 SE, IE 6 machine or my XP SP1, IE 6 machine. I tried 3 times on my 98 SE machine, disabled the Google Toolbar pop-up blocker and once on my XP machine.

All I get is "This should feed a new full screen page" and no data is being transfered at all although the progress bar reaches approx. 30% then halts. The IE globe spins as if it's transferring data but no, no bytes received.

I let it run a good 30 minutes while I took out the trash up my long rural driveway, edited some stuff in Photoshop and shaved...

I have to say also, the last statistics I've seen log dial-up users in the world at 85%, I fall in that category, not my choice unless I move. I'm sure I'm not in the minority either when I say "If it takes a massive d/l to view a site, I won't go there more than once if at all.".

ken c wrote on 8/30/2004, 5:43 AM
Here's an example of what I mean by a "hybrid" flash site, eg my newest one at

basically just using a bit of flash to dress it up ..

full flash sites that are well done, for example see (not mine :) great design/layout

DavidMcKnight wrote on 8/30/2004, 7:07 AM
#2 if you see my message to myself that says "This should feed a new full screen page" that was just a test. What's happening is more stupid Micro-crap BS. You should only see it if you have installed their SP2, but you'll also you may see if you don't have a IE browser at this point.

I have IE 6 and SP1, not SP2, but still see the message. I'm guessing it is my google popup blocker which is as important to me as indoor plumbing...but I digress. I'll try allowing popups, but if possible I would rethink this design.

I don't have a lot of flash exp., but it is very intriguing, and this thread is a good one. I would like to add at least some flash to my as yet non-existent website, not sure how much or exactly how to go about doing it. So far, the best uncluttered flash site I've seen belongs to magician David Copperfield, here -



Even with site popups allowed, I never got past the message, and the page looks like it is still trying to load, as if it is hung somewhere.
ken c wrote on 8/30/2004, 8:55 AM
for great flash sites, see the sites mentioned in the forums at also and have terrific sites.

thx re the copperfield one, will check it out.

BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 9:29 AM
Just a quick and dirty temp fix.

ONLY use this URL:

I disabled all browser sniffing and OS detection so almost any browser should fall through to show the Flash page IF you have the latest Flash player installed. If you don't, then it should default to a upgrade page to get the latest Flash player for YOUR browser. If you have more than one browser you need to install Flash players for each.

Right now I don't have time to play with it that much.

Microsoft's IE browser 6.0

Works OK, but may nag if you have SP2 installed. If you do have SP2 installed it will add the ugly title bars and borders I absolutely HATE. If you don't have SP2 installed you should get edge to edge view where the Flash fills the screen IF you are set to 1280x1024 resolution. Haven't checked higher or lower resolutions with this fix yet. NEED FEEDBACK from those using lower or higher resolution settings.

Opera 7.23 Build 3227

Tested OK, will show either in a normal browser window or if your elect to go to full screen should show without borders or annoying browser clutter. Only tested on Windows XP at 1280x1024. NEED FEEDBACK

Netscape Firefox. 0.92
Shows why they lost browser wars. While my page loads it seems to reject the embedded width and height tags that shows the page full screen in other browsers, so for now it only seems to want to show it in a tiny fraction of the space squeezed together at the top of the screen.

Need FEEDBACK, especially if you can confirm you see only the same tiny view or if you see full screen like other browsers show it.

Will get to changing text size hopefully in a couple three days.
jetdv wrote on 8/30/2004, 9:57 AM
1024x768 screensize:

Orange and Green buttons - have no clue what they said. Cannot read the text.

Push the orange button and nothing happens. Push the green button and:
Text is completely illegible. Cannot read ANY words in the selection buttons OR in the text that comes up when you push the top button.

There is a screenshot here

However, I usually don't have my browser full screen. Looking at the size I normally have my browser, you can see a screenshot here

One other note: I started to look at the page at home but it takes a very long time to load on dial-up. Didn't seem too bad here on DSL.
MJhig wrote on 8/30/2004, 11:34 AM
It loads now Billy and not at a bad rate for a large Flash page on this Win 98 SE, IE 6, 800x600, dial-up machine. Looks very nice so far except for as stated the font size is WAY too small, can't read any of it at all. It fills the width of the screen and clicking one of the menu choices (top) it loaded at a reasonable rate.

You can't back your way out of the site though (back button) it re-directs you back to your intro.

DavidMcKnight wrote on 8/30/2004, 11:46 AM
I can get in now too, BB.

At this point I don't have much time to put into a full critique. I have criticisms that immediately came to mind like text size, but I too think you are on the right track. It seems to me that Flash can be like Pandoras Box if you aren't careful, in that you have the feedom to do lots and lots of "stuff" that may be counter-productive to an effective website. However, again, when I have more time to look at it I'll put more thought into a review.

BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 11:48 AM
Its kind of funny about the text size. As many of you know I went through a bout of Bell's Palsy so I'm super aware of what a pain it can me to see smallish text, especially on labels and web pages.

Well, what's funny is over roughly a year I've had Bell's Palsy and my eyesight had been sub par for sure causing be to take off my glasses since they seemed to make things only worse.

For sure not a recommended method to improve you eyesight but I guess its been a gradual but steady improvement because now I have no trouble at all reading the text nearly everyone is saying is too small. On a 18 inch monitor at full screen at 1280x1024 I can easily read it three feet away so I was thinking maybe the text was too big which is one reason I wanted other people's input.

Seems maybe its true what some say, that if your wear glasses your eyesight may only get progressively worse with each new pair getting stronger and stronger. Doing without most of time for nearly a year I can say for me at least my eyesight seems to not only just come back but improve. Curious.
spacesounds wrote on 8/30/2004, 12:32 PM
I checked out your site. Realizing it's a work in progress, it needs work in two categories: usability and design. Fortunately, the content is in pretty good shape. It's just how that content is presented...

Usability: Contrary to what others have said, Flash is cool - everyone has it. Flash IS the future (until, of course, something better comes along) for broadband-enabled, media-rich content. Stay with it. Now, what needs work is the overall experience for the user. The way the site loads is very clunky. Get rid of those CHEESY sound effects/MIDI files (whatever you're using), and get rid of those CHEESY clip animations - like the rotating globe. Clip art, along with clip music, should be OUTLAWED! Make the experience for the user a better one, by redesigning the navigation. Make it easy and apparent where the information is located on your site. Never insult the user's intelligence!

Now for the design: GO BACK TO START! Hire a graphic design or multimedia student from the local college - someone with real talent. Re-design the site. Go for good choices of typography especially. Don't use more than two different fonts. Sorry, but there is nothing compelling about what you've presented, nothing to keep me coming back for more. The look is sophomore at best.

As far as forcing a maximized window goes, that's EXTREMELY insulting! Whenever that happens, I IMMEDIATELY exit the site, NEVER to return! My resolution varies between 1600 x 1200 and 2048 x 1536. Every program window opens the way I want, and NOT the way some inconsiderate web developer wants!

For the Flash naysayers, I've got plenty of examples of what's REALLY possible with the technology - ESPECIALLY for media playback, which is what we're all here for!

What qualifies me to comment like this? For starters, a BFA from Scool of Visual Arts in NY. 25 years experience as a multiple-award-winning art director for MAJOR agencies and corporations in NY - 22 of those years as an INTERACTIVE art director (I got lucky very early on, and helped IBM launch the "PC" back in 1982 with what was then called "interactive video"). If nothing else, consider this some free and friendly advice!
rique wrote on 8/30/2004, 1:02 PM
Got to agree here. Print way too small. Looks nice otherwise, BB
BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 2:15 PM
Before I go too far down the road I changed two pages. Didn't touch the top thumbail intros yet so that text is still small.

still go to

I increased the text size by almost 40%, but only on the main buttons at left, the messages for the movie buttons and for the first two pages of the 3D tutorial. I also changed the text color so you know its changed. The rest is the same to show the contrast in size difference.

* For some reason when I changed the CSS file IE wouldn't refresh to display when viewed off the web, but it did fine locally so you may need to purge old old copy to clear it out. The Opera browser seemed to refresh the file on its own.
rique wrote on 8/30/2004, 2:37 PM
Still looks too small to me. The "3D Effects" and "Creating 3D Effects with Zooming" is about the smallest text I could stand and I'd still prefer it bigger because I think it would be a strain to read instructions at length in that size.

It does help a bit if i hit F11 and full screen the browser window, but still too small. BTW, I'm at 1024x768.
BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 3:23 PM
I'm not sure what's happening.

DO NOT judge the top part that hasn't changed yet. CLICK on the image of the eagle that comes up when you click on the 3D button at left. That will open the tutorial. That text I changed.

See if we can narrow it down. To me the text is crisp/sharp and easily viewable. That's off a 18 LCD monitor set to 1280x1024. Doesn't seem to matter if at 24 or 32 color bit depth.

Here is a untouched screen capture. Its a negative image because of the screen capture utility I used.

You should see the text exactly this size at 1280x1024

Can someone with similar settings confirm they are seeing clear sharp text or am I the only one seeing that way?
ken c wrote on 8/30/2004, 4:14 PM
spacesounds is right ... you got some excellent free advice there.

look at professionally designed flash sites. I like for instance.

here's a template mod for embedded video I'm working on now, it's kinda cool:

(it'll have embedded wmv streaming video clips etc)

winrockpost wrote on 8/30/2004, 4:30 PM

BFA ,,,, B.F.D.
BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 4:37 PM
You call that professional? The text is half the size and its the typical dancing objects all over the place. Give me a break. If that's your idea of 'professional' I'm wasting my time trying to help you guys.

I provide CONTENT.
Spot|DSE wrote on 8/30/2004, 5:36 PM
That sure isn't what I'm seeing. That's twice as large, and it's readable.
I'd suggest dumbing your monitor down to 1024 x 768, that might help you see what others are talking about. I don't wear glasses except in very extreme circumstances, like seeing calibration lines on a projector from 100' away. I can't read anything in your tutorials, based on a combination of color choice, text size, and background imagery. If I change my contrast settings, then I can see it. But my monitors are calibrated, so that's not really a good solution. Content is good, but I'm struggling with the delivery format, myself.
BTW, I DO think the websites that Ken pointed out are quite professional, FWIW.
BillyBoy wrote on 8/30/2004, 6:51 PM
I dropped down to 1024 x 768 and while its still easily readable to me, see new capture, what's happening is strange.

look here:

As you know when you drop resolution, things should be bigger, not smaller. The image quality will suffer because you're using lower resolution, and less should fit on the screen, not more. The inverse is also true. The higher the resulition, the shaper the image yet the objects become small so more fits on the screen.

Apparently what's happening is Flash is scaling. So if you look at the image at the resolution is was created at, no scaling is performed. However if you look at the image at a lessor resolution, then it will scale the image to fit the space. Or its doing to opposite of you would expect. So the lower the resolution you view the site at the smaller everything gets.

I have to look at the code and see what I did that would cause that.
JasonMurray wrote on 8/30/2004, 7:27 PM
This is because your Flash movie is taking up the full width of the window, regardless of the resolution. Therefore, it's scaling to the available size so that the full movie can be seen. As resolution drops, so does the available space, so everything gets proportionally smaller.

As a workaround to this (note: ONLY to ensure that things get bigger on screen as the resolution drops) you might want to put the entire SWF in a table cell the size of your intended resolution.

This of course has a nasty side effect - the users now have to scroll their browser window to see the Flash movie. Of course, this is not an issue if they're running at the right resolution, but one lesson that needs to be learned here is that noone -- repeat after me, *noone* -- is going to change their screen resolution just to view your website (when was the last time you did?).

Also, can you please add a mute button to kill the background music...? This is pretty standard on Flash sites these days.
L25 wrote on 8/30/2004, 7:46 PM
Love the Battle of New Orleans, maybe add preference buttons for Sink The Bismarck and North To Alaska. ;^)

my monitors are at 1024x768, the text at is too small IMO