Archive for Flash

Testing Plan

When I have created my beta I will need to follow a testing plan to ensure that it created a strong flash portfolio for my client. I will need to test that it works correctly and that it satisfies the needs of the end user and my client. I will also be using Jacob Nielsen’s ‘6 quality components’ as an aid to helping me with my testing.

These 6 quality components are:

Learnability
Efficiency
Memorability
Errors
Satisfaction
Utility

I have created a 3 step process to follow to prepare me for my testing after the beta has been created. These steps are:

Step 1: Test the CD-ROM myself

I will be checking the CD-ROM to make sure each page; button and other functions work as they should. This will avoid these errors appearing when the sample tests the CD-ROM.

Step 2: Instructions & Questionnaire

The next step will be to create a set of instructions for the testing sample to follow when testing the CD-ROM. Then when the user has finished testing the CD-ROM they will need to fill out a questionnaire that I will create in as part of this second step. When creating the questionnaire I need to take into account that I am not there to observe, therefore I will need to have open-ended as well as closed questions. This will help me to see if a few people in the sample found areas harder then other as they have the room to state this in the questionnaire.

Step 3: Sample Testing (Target Audience)

Find a group of 10 people to test the CD-ROM portfolio. These will need to be a representative sample of my target audience. However, it will be hard to get hold of 10 media professionals to look at the CD-ROM so I will be showing my work to people of a similar age and location.

There are some contacts that I have made that fit into this target audience. I will be giving them the CD-ROM to look at and a questionnaire to fill in once completed. If I am unable to provide them will the CD-ROM, I will send them the finished Flash file via e-mail along with instructions and the questionnaire.

Advertisements

Project Stages and and Testing Plan

In order to get a better idea of the scale of my project and what it would involve time-wise I have started to break it down into separate stages. In no particular order here are some of the steps involved in the creation of the Flash portion app portion of my project.

  • Work out layout from mock-up.
  • In Flash create layout or various sections and frames etc.
  • Work on navigation between different content sections.
  • Create buttons, apply rollovers.
  • Create introduction + transition animations.
  • Work out and create borders for content pane.
  • Possibly look at some kind of magnification tool for gallery portion to enlarge either all or individual portions of a selected image.
  • Convert the video files (music videos, vlogs etc.) into the various different formats.
  • Prepare any flash-based video files.
  • Create links to social-networking + external sites (for those using the DVD in an Internet connected environment.

Beta Testing

After creating a prototype of my project I will need to test this to make sure that it works as expected so that I can iron out any problems for the final release.  In order to do this I will utilise user testing in order to obtain feedback on the success or otherwise of the beta version of the project.

I will ideally test representatives of my target audience. This however may prove to be problematic as one of my groups of end-users will be music industry professionals, so it may be difficult to obtain a sufficient number of them for my testing. The second group however that my product is aimed at is music lovers and specifically existing fans of my client. I could however for this test use a sample of people who like music of a similar genre.

Testing Plan:

Methods of testing: This will vary slightly for the different elements of the DVD. For the Flash application I will mainly be using observation (personally making notes of peoples individual interactions with the product). As testing will take place on a single, or couple of computers in one location using a screen-capture application may also be of benefit. It could provide as source for statistical analysis providing figures such as how much time is spent on individual sections of the portfolio application.

Standalone DVD player use: Possibility of using questions more than observations as I send DVDs out to people on my clients mailing list either with a paper questionnaire, or a link to a web based questionnaire to obtain my feedback. Alternatively I could set-up a couple of DVD players in a location and ask a representative sample of people to perform certain task whilst I observe them. This strategy may yield more useful information that just a questionnaire, however it means that you won’t get the feedback of existing fans. I may combine multiple forms of testing in this case.

Either in questionnaire testing or observation there are a few tasks that I would like all participants to try carry out, to give me an idea of how the end-user would experience the DVD.

Questions to consider:

  • Find out the the email address of the client.
  • View a music video.
  • Find out what the clients musical influences are.
  • What are the lyrics for a certain song.

Next Week-

For next week I am going to try and follow some of my objectives as set out in my project outline. By doing this I hope to produce a working prototype of at least some of my project.

Analysis and Objectives!

Smart Objectives

 

Specific

  • The CD-ROM portfolio is targeted at a specific group of people (potential employers) and will display the work of one person to reach out to the potential employers.

Measurable

  • The CD-ROM will be shown to media professionals in the area of my clients work to see if it meets the objectives.

Attainable

  • I am capable of creating a CD-ROM and using Flash as I have done it before. My challenge will be to increase upon the knowledge that I already have in this area to create a better project.

Realistic

  • I have access to Flash at university and help is always available if I need it. I will be able to create my CD-ROM as I have access to these things. There are many tutorials online that I can learn from and gain new skills to help me create my project.

Time

  • I will need to finish the project before week 13 in January when the project will be handed in. However, it should be completed before this as I will need time for testing.

 

 

Swot Analysis

 

Strengths

  • Having the portfolio on a CD-ROM will allow the user to access my work with the internet and it can be transportable.
  • As the portfolio is not on the internet the user will not be distracted by other websites or portfolios when viewing the CD-ROM.
  • When creating the CD-ROM I can develop upon the Flash and ActionScript skills that I already have.
  • I could use the Flash portfolio as a Flash website. It could be transferred and used for the web in the future if needed.

 

Weaknesses

  • As the portfolio is on CD-ROM the user may forget about it or even lose it. I will create an eye-catching design for the cover of the CD-ROM so it stays in the users mind.
  • If more work needs to be added to the CD-ROM, new copies will need to be made and the old ones will be wasted.

 

Opportunities

  • The CD-ROM will help me to gain a job/career.
  • It will show the users not just my work that will be displayed on the CD-ROM but also my Flash skills.

 

Threats

  • The work that is displayed on the CD-ROM could be copied. I will need to insure that it is copyrighted. To help avoid this situation I could watermark my work. However, this may not be very appealing to potential employers.

 

 

Pest Analysis

 

Political

  • N/A

Economical

  • A job/career could be gained from the CD-ROM portfolio.

Social

  • Logo or work shown on CD-ROM could be offensive to others.
  • Contacts could be made from the distribution of the CD-ROM.

Technological

  • The target audience for my CD-ROM should have access to a computer to view the CD-ROM.
  • The CD is an older form of disk that stores digital data; therefore a CD drive is standard on most computers.

 

Plagiarism

This week Scott has been telling us all about plagiarism and how to avoid it in our work. As I will be creating a flash project and using ActionScript coding I will need to be very careful that I am not taking someone else’s code. When creating my project I will be looking at other peoples work as inspiration but where do you draw the line between inspiration and copying? When creating my project I will be looking at other people’s code to figure out how they did it and then take the knowledge I have gained from their code and create my own. This is a clear way of avoiding plagiarism.

I will be keeping a log book of all the code I will be using to help me avoid plagiarising. In the log book I will show how I have developed my understanding of ActionScript and how I created my own coding. Another way in which I will show my understanding of the code I use will be to add comments within the code to explain each part. This will allow the user to see that I have a clear understanding of what I have put and why I have used that particular code.

Deep Thought… Project Analysis

On looking at the slides from last weeks session, I went about trying to break down and analyse my project using a number of the different frameworks outline including SWOT and PEST.

SWOT 

Strengths-

  • Compatibility mans it should reach satisfy the largest potential audience possible. Flash is quite adaptable and by downloading flash player results can be viewed on OSX, Windows and various Linux distos.
  • Potentially already established target audience through fan-base of my client.
  • The development of this DVD could serve to produce a template that could be applied to other artist and projects in the future.
  • Relatively low development costs.
  • Large Flash community with a plethora of online and print information and help available.

Weaknesses

  • Limited initial market.
  • Can’t guarantee platform compatibility, especially with mobile devices where formats could change rapidly.
  • If there was a need for mass duplication of the final DVD the costs for this could prove to be quite expensive.
  • Limitations of DVDs as a format.
  • Either a computer or a DVD player is necessary to initially access the content, can’t be transferred/ accessed directly on mobile devices. 
  • Difficult to quickly change or update content.

Opportunities

  • Specific target audience.
  • Promotes myself within the industry.
  • Enhance the functionality of the DVD.
  • Provides a replicable format.

Threats

  • Compatibility / usability issues with multiple formats.
  • Reliant on some externally produced content.
  • Dependent on the quality, and success of the musician as to how wide-spread the product is distributed.
  • Would need to outsource mass DVD reproduction.

PEST ANALYSIS

Political

  • Some users of the product will be part of the structure of record labels/ music industry the politics of this may come in to play e.g adhering to in-house styles and preferences.

Economic

  • Music industry professionals look at product as a potential indicator as to the economic viability of an artist.
  • Initially unlikely, but the project could potentially reach a stage where by it becomes a commodity that fans of the artist would purchase.

Social

  • Music lovers / musical experts.
  • Want interactivity.
  • Social networking.

Technological

  • Early adopters.
  • Technically capable / literate.
  • Use multiple platforms / devices e.g. PC, DVD player and a mobile phone to view content.

SMART OBJECTIVES

  • Specific: Appeals to, and satisfy the needs of two specific groups of people.
  • Measurable: Feedback from clients / users via a forum or questionnaire?
  • Attainable: Achievable objectives and possible to produce given resources and time-frame.
  • Realistic: Designed using readily available software e.g. Flash, Adobe Encore etc. Existing readily available and well supported delivery medium of DVD.
  • Time-Limited: Outside of the constraints of the assignment deadline I would have to work to the time-scale of my client, especially if there is a specific time that the DVD’s need to be sent to record labels etc. For me as a freelancer, TIME=MONEY. 

Defining The Project- TIME. SCOPE, COST.

  • Time: Fairly short development period. However involves time-consuming tasks such as reversioning content for various platforms, possibility of completion clause in the contact with my client.
  • Scope: IN – Producing a hybrid DVD, optimising content, making menus, animations etc.
  • Scope: Out – Making promotional website / social networking page, producing some of the content, disc duplication etc.
  • Cost: Software + Hardware, could be quite expensive however I already own the relevant equipment and software to produce the project, consumables for example blank disks to show the client drafts however this is low as the media is cheap.

MOCK RISK ASSESSMENT

My project does not have many risks in terms of health of safety but here are a few remote possibilities.

RSI

  • I have identified the risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) sitting and typing, staring at a screen and operating a computer for long periods of time.
  • Efforts to minimise risks : Taking regular brakes from working at the computer and walking around this takes me away from the screen and allows me to change my posture.
  •  Adusting my positioning of seat, keyboard / mouse  and monitor until I feel I am in a comfortable posture.
  • Blinking regularly to keep my eyes refreshed.  Have an eye break focusing them at a distant point. Adjusting settings on the monitor so that text is clear and I do not have to strain to read it.

Electrical Malfunction

  • It is possible given that I have a lot of electrical eequipment in one place that there may be an electrical malfunction. Especially given that I have many running from a single power socket.
  • Control measures: Turning off / unplugging eequipment when not in use. Using a residual current detector and surge protector to help keep eequipment safe. I have a fire extinguisher available that is suitable for electrical fires.

Some none health and saftey related issues:

  • Data Loss: I backup project files in case of power surge/drive failure.
  • Issues with software: Consulting project documentation/ user guides.

A basic tutorial on Flash animation

 

I myself am very new to Flash, so I thought I would start with something that is very simply yet I think quite effective. For my project I will be using a flash generated menu system, I wanted to create a brief animation to introduce the menu. We will essentially be producing a very basic flash animation using shape tweens to morph from some simple shapes into a text message.

 

For this tutorial I will be using Flash 8 but most of the instructions should still apply or at least be similar.

 

  1. Open Flash and if you are not already prompted to click ‘Flash Document’ under the create new section. This will create a blank time line and stage, essentially a blank canvas on which to work. The default settings should be fine for our purpose. Those used to working with adobe products like Photoshop will probably feel fairly familiar with the general layout.

  2. Like in Photoshop and other graphics software Flash operate with a layers system where by each layer can be manipulated independently of each other. Start by renaming the 1st and default layer ‘Layer 1’ to something more memorable in this case I am calling background as it will be the background for my menu animation. To do this simply double click on the layer name and type in your new name.

  3. Then click on the rectangle and drag the pointer to draw a rectangle that enclose all of the stage area. This should turn the whole stage into a filled rectangle (by default black).

  4. I want to change the colour of the fill for my background. To do so change tools into the section tool (top left mouse pointer on the toolbox). Then Click on the inside of the rectangle to select it (it should display a checked pattern over the area to confirm the selection). With the fill selected look at the options panel that is docked to the bottom of the screen by default. Click the box next to the colour bucket and select a new colour. For simplicity I am just going to chose a normal solid colour, in my case blue. The rectange should now change colour.

  5. With our background created we will move on to create our animation. In this instance we are going to start of with two shapes that will morph into text by the end of the animation. We are going to draw our shapes onto a new layer. To create a new layer click on the ‘Insert Layer’ button on the bottom left of the time line. Rename the new layer as before this time call it something along the lines of morph. To avoid interfering tampering with our background layer we are going to temporarily turn its visibility off. Click on the radio button beneath the eye symbol for the background layer on the timeline.

  6. You should now have a blank area again. Select your morph layer and draw two simple shapes in my case a circle and a square. First select the circle tool from the toolbox and then change the colour in the properties box so that the colour will be different to that of your background. Then repeat this process for a square.

  7. Now we have a background layer and a morph layer with some shapes on. Right now we only have on frame of content. Go to frame 35 on the time line click the box under 35 to select it and press F6 on your keyboard. Repeat this step for both layers. This has expanded your drawing to run for 35 frames.

  8. Click on the frame 35 box for your morph layer. Select both of your shapes and press delete.

  9. Click on the text tool whilst still on frame 35 and type something. Right hand click on the text and select break apart, select all of the word again and again chose break apart.

     

  10. Go back to frame 34 and right hand click on the box for your morph layer. Then look at your properties box and click select shape under the tween dialogue box.

  11. Click to make your background visible again and you should now have morphing text. Press control and enter to test your video.

Must Get Job in a FLASH

After looking at a variety of media job advertisements on website such as the Guardian’s it is clear that my project would aid my employability. Many of the positions are specifically centred around experience of, and working with flash. Others are classed as multimedia design, webdesign or even just general media designer, however many of them have flash experience as one of their key criteria. This seem to be in part down to flash’s versatility, it can be used for web design, standalone applications, as well as animation. With broadband take-up now being at such a high-level and generally people have fairly fast computers, flash being used for web design has boomed. We have reached a point where web users expect a content rich, visually impressive interactive experience from a website. Flash is one of the most popular ways of developing these elements. As my project involves design using flash it will give me the valuable opportunity to develop my flash skills through practical application and also build up my portfolio.

Job Example 1:

Junior Flash Designer

Employer: WORKSTATION Posted: 12 Nov 2008 Reference: JFD10412IT Contact: Ian Taylor Location: South East – Hertfordshire Industry:IT & telecoms – General IT & telecoms – Internet Marketing & PR – New media Media – Creative Media – New media Contract: Permanent Hours: Full Time Salary: £15000 – £20000 per annum

I’m recruiting for one of the world’s great medical communications agencies. Their philosophy is to bring complex ideas to life for professional audiences everywhere.

If you’re a Flash designer who likes the sound of working on a diverse range of projects other than bog standard Flash sites then this job should be just what you’re after. A typical day could see you designing for games, plasma screens and other multimedia platforms.

Working under the guidance of senior members in the team this role is an ideal opportunity for a 1st or 2nd jobber to develop their career in Flash design. As well as a varied work day this role comes with an excellent benefits package.

Please email me your CV immediately including a link to your online portfolio.

http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/770564/junior-flash-designer/

Job Example 2:

Flash Designer

Employer: CREATIVE PEOPLE Posted: 05 Nov 2008 Reference: 6270 Contact: Miss Anne Scranney Location: Hertfordshire Industry:IT & telecoms – Development IT & telecoms – Internet Media – Creative Media – New media Contract: Permanent Hours: Full Time Salary: £excellent

Based in Hertfordshire, our client is looking for interactive Flash Designers to design and develop web pages, games, plasma screen and other interactive media. The successful candidate must have solid creative ideas as well as excellent Flash skills and a strong background working with HTML and CSS. A competent working knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator is also essential. This is an excellent opportunity for a skilled Flash Designer.

http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/765273/flash-designer/

Revised Project Propsal

Aim of project: To produce a DVD in order to promote the work of a local singer / songwriter.

Project Medium: Hybrid DVD.

Client Background: Katie Morris is a currently unsigned singer / songwriter / musician that is passionate about all aspects of music and has a particular for soul music. She is currently unsigned, without an agent and looking to break in to the music industry. With a number of demo tracks already recorded Katie’s aim is to produce a demo DVD showcasing her work. This will be sent out record labels and talent agencies that Katie has an interest in working with. The DVD will also be sent out to her fans on request through her myspace music page in order to solidify her fan base.

The audience / end-user 

  • Record Labels A&R employees: These are the people that are responsible for talent scouting and bringing new artist to labels. As professionals within the music industry they will have high expectations and will need to be wowed in order to consider and artist. There seems now also be the expectation for artist to have already been involved in some level of self promotion before being signed.

 

  • Existing Fans: People we are already in some way interested in Katie’s music. By having a professional looking product such as an interactive DVD it will help to set Katie apart from other on line musicians and reinforce her image as a serious artist with a future. It could help to promote Katie via word of mouth and the video files provided on the DVD are designed to be easily shared in order increase her fan base.

 My personal guiding brief for the project 

To produce a DVD that showcases multimedia content across a variety of platforms, whilst incorporating a design that is reflective of my clients unique style. 

Product Overview

The promotional DVD that I will create for my client will be a hybrid video/data disk.

The DVD will be a content rich multimedia experience that will provide easy access to a variety of material showcasing my client. This will consist of a portion of the DVD containing music videos, photographs and contact information for the artist. This will be created with DVD authoring software such as Ulead DVD Workshop or Adobe Encore. My aim is to make the Disk fully DVD-Video compliant so that it can be played on a standalone unit without a computer. I will be responsible for creating some of the content for the disk and designing the menus, some of artwork will be produced by my and some of it will be sourced from my client. The design will feature animated menu background and different sections for individual type of content. For example there would be a link from the main menu to sub-menus including: Photographs, Music Videos, Biog and contact.

 

DVD Main Menu

 

I will also create a secondary data portion of the DVD that will contain video content that been optimised for transfer to, and playback on, a variety of mobile devices. This will include, iPhone, PSP, and standard 3GP mobile phone versions of a music video. These will be transcoded into the appropriate codec, resolution etc. for the specific device. I will convert the master files using a video conversion program called SuperEncoder. I will then also supply instructions on typically how you would transfer this to your mobile device.

 

 Being an enhanced DVD will allow the end-user to access additional content and features. This content will include musics videos, audio song samples, photographs, lyrics etc. My intention is to create a flash based menu system that will incorporate these features in a user friendly and creative fashion. I want to try and create an executable interactive flash animation that will act as unifying front-end to the content available on the disk when used on a computer.

Development

At all stages of my products development and production I will focus on three main criteria:

  • Variety of Features: Video playable in a DVD player, video formatted for mobile devices, photographs, lyrics and other artist info etc. Can be used either in a standalone DVD player or a computer.

 

  • Usability: Being able to access the content quickly and simply. I will look at how many click/interactions are necessary. This will be especially important in the case of the industry professionals, whom are likely to only allocate a relatively short amount of time to assess each potential artist. I will provide readme files and instruction documentation on the disk. If inserted into a DVD player the first play message will inform users that the disk can also be used in a computer and a similar message will be presented on the flash menu.

 

  • Design: For both the fan and music industry professional market design is key. It will be necessary to catch the eye of the viewer and entice them to pay attention and access the content. It is also my aim to incorporate the ideas of my client as the DVD is essentially an extension of their creative image. I will keep in close contact with my client so she can sign-off on the various stages of the project.

 

 

 

 

Draft Project Proposal

 

Aims: Produce a promotional DVD for a local aspiring singer/songwriter.

 

Key Requirements:

 

  • Eye catching visuals.

  • Easy to navigate.

  • Reflective of personal style.

  • Accessible through being compatible with multiple platforms and devices.

 

Skills required:

 

  • Video editing.

  • Flash Skills.

  • Photoshop Skills.

  • DVD Authoring skills (Adobe Encore/ Ulead DVD Workshop).

 

Content involved: photographs of the artist, audio, video, brief biog and link to the artists myspace page.

 

 

I will need to utilise a number of technical and design skills in order to create a professional looking (and working) promotional DVD. This DVD will have the purpose of promoting a currently unsigned artist and will be given to record labels and agencies to showcase the talent of my client. The DVD will also however be available to be sent out to fans on request through the artists myspace music site. With these two linked but distinct objectives in mind the DVD music be designed so that it meets the needs of both fans and businesses.

 

My self-set guiding brief for this project is:

 

To produce a DVD that showcases multimedia content across a variety of platforms, whilst incorporating a design that is reflective of my clients unique style.

 

Product Overview

 

The DVD will be a content rich multimedia experience that will provide easy access to a variety of material showcasing my client. It will take the form of an enhanced DVD. This will consist of a portion of the DVD containing music videos, photographs and contact information for the artist. This will be created with DVD authoring software such as Ulead DVD Workshop or Adobe Encore. My aim is to make the Disk fully DVD-Video compliant so that it can be played on a standalone unit without a computer.

 

I will also create a secondary data portion of the DVD that will contain video content that been optimised for transfer to, and playback on, a variety of mobile devices. This will include, iPhone, PSP, and standard 3GP mobile phone versions of a music video. These will be transcoded into the appropriate codec, resolution etc. for the specific device. Being an enhanced DVD will allow the end-user to access additional content and features. The content will include musics videos, audio song samples, photographs, lyrics etc. My intention is to create a flash based menu system that will incorporate these features in a user friendly and creative fashion.

 

In creating this DVD I will focus on three main criteria:

 

  • Variety of Features: Video playable in a DVD player, video formatted for mobile devices, photographs, lyrics and other artist info etc.

     

  • Usability: Being able to access the content quickly and simply. I will look at how many click/interactions are necessary. This will be especially important in the case of the industry professionals, whom are likely to only allocate a relatively short amount of time to assess each potential artist.

     

  • Design: For both the fan and music industry professional market design is key. It will be necessary to catch the eye of the viewer and entice them to pay attention and access the content. It is also my aim to incorporate the ideas of my client as the DVD is essentially an extension of their creative image.

Last but not least!

I have finally finished all my post and proposal for the first assignment. It feels good to have it all done and I am excited for the next stage of the project (production). I hope to create a successful CD-ROM portfolio and use the new skills I have gained to the best of my ability.

Thanks for reading!

« Previous entries