Use of Flash?

Subject: Use of Flash?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Potdar, Deepali" <deepali -at- bf -dot- umich -dot- edu>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2006 13:40:00 -0400

Deepali Potdar wondered: <<I am considering learning to use Flash and wanted to take a quick generalized poll of tech writers. Do you use Flash on the job? What do you use it for?>>

At a previous employer, our graphics guy used Flash to produce self- running educational presentations on a range of topics. These seemed to be well received by users of the products, but we performed no formal testing to determine whether the learning outcomes were favorable. In effect, we were producing the equivalent of PowerPoint presentations, but for situations where our experts could not be present in person to deliver the presentation and answer questions.

If you want to consider using these materials in your own work, you need to perform an instructional design exercise: define what your learning goals will be for the users of the Flash presentations, determine how Flash can support or undermine attainment of these learning goals, then redesign the presentation accordingly to maximize support and minimize undermining. For example, it's tempting to overuse animations in Flash. Animations work great to show movement, but tend to be less effective for other purposes because they can distract students from focusing on what is really important. Similarly for cool soundtracks.

Because it's human nature to rate something interesting more highly than something that appears fairly dull by comparison, you may get good reports of the effectiveness from users of the product. That's not necessarily relevant. People are certainly more likely to use something they enjoy, but that something is only truly effective if they also learn from it (i.e., achieve the learning goals). You may thus have to balance attractiveness (so that a higher proportion will actually use the product) with results (actually learning something) to achieve optimal results.

And, of course, like anything else, you need to be visually skillful to produce something other people will find attractive. Anyone who's seen my wardrobe knows where I fall on the spectrum of visual esthetics <g>, so I critique Flash designs, but don't create them myself.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca

(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content delivery. Try it today!

Easily create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to any popular Help file format or printed documentation. Learn more at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Use of Flash: From: Potdar, Deepali

Previous by Author: Creating help files in Excel? (Take II)
Next by Author: R-E-S-P-E-C-T me! (Please!)?
Previous by Thread: Use of Flash
Next by Thread: Re: Use of Flash

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads