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toddlerner
01-06-2004, 10:52 PM
Hello,

I've been looking over good Flash websites in Flash Kit's "Cool Sites" section and elsewhere, and I have a question.

It seems to me that the majority have an initial page that asks the viewer to get the needed Flash version, yet I've yet to see one that offers dialup users the choice of a dialup-friendlier version of the site.

I realize that Flash excels at allowing rich web content for slower connections, but still: wouldn't it be advantageous to really optimize the viewing experience for the over-50% of the world with dialup speeds?

Are many Flash sites, do you think, simply detecting bandwidth behind the scene and sending me to a broadband-enhanced version?

Any additional context on this would be helpful. I need to offer two versions of my site because I'm showcasing original songs by streaming MP3 samples.

As of now, I'm planning on sending visitors to a quick-loading landing page so they get immediate feedback. Then I'll involve them by giving them a simple choice of Broadband or Dialup speed buttons. And once they click, I'll have a Flash version detector run.

Am I on the right track?

-Todd Lerner

aversion
01-08-2004, 12:30 PM
I don't think there's a reliable way of detecting bandwidth and it's one of those things that you should ask the user imho because they may have broadband but not want to see the broadband site.

It's not that hard to make flash sites that look good at dialup speeds, you just take out all the flashy crap you were going to put in, but sometimes there's a good reason to make use of the extra bandwidth broadband gives you, I think the Ford F150 site (http://www.fordvehicles.com/trucks/f150) is a great example of this, the integration of video, flash and 3d is superbly done, and well worth including for those on broadband, but the designer has also included a button which, instead of throwing you out of the page to a different site, simply cuts out a lot of the video and 3d stuff. It's a seamless way of doing it that I would recommend.

A lot of portfolio/design company sites use broadband as a standard because they feel like the majority of potential clients will be using broadband (certainly possible in north america/parts of asia and europe) and they want to make a big impact with their 'cutting edge' skills.

I don't think many sites use a bandwidth detector, most sites out there, even the big flashy famous ones, have no alternative version.

toddlerner
01-08-2004, 04:08 PM
Thanks for your reply! It answered a lot of my questions.

And thanks for the Ford F150 site link -- which is a really great example of how broadbanders can be given more "flash"!

My plan of action is now affirmed: I'll send my visitors to a quick-loading landing page where they can choose their connection speed.

Then I'll have a Flash version detector run.

Any advice on Flash detection strategy?

With much appreciation,
-Todd

aversion
01-08-2004, 04:54 PM
there is a "flash detection kit" you can get from the macromedia site which does flash and browser detection but if you're wanting something simpler I usually have a splash page with requirements and an enter button but also embed a small SWF on that page with nothing in it but code that says:

getURL("flash.htm")

so, if the user lands on the splash page and they have the right version of flash they will be able to read the small flash movie and will be pushed forward into the flash site, if they don't have the right flash version they can read the requirements at their leisure and click the link you provide to download flash.

one problem with this is that it forces the user with flash to enter the site, which isn't ideal, especially if you have options such as low bandwidth/high bandwidth, you want to let the user decide. But you can still use this method, instead of having code in the SWF to forward the user you can have flash call a javascript function on your page which will change something on your html page to tell the user they're ok to enter the flash site or not.

for example, you can run the javascript function checkFlash from the SWF by using the code

getURL("javascript:getFlash()")

when this function is called you know that the user has the right flash version, because he was able to run the SWF, so you can use DHTML to change a message on the page to read "You have the correct flash version, enter here" the default of which was "you need the current flash player to enter the flash site, click here to update your flash player" or something like that.

toddlerner
01-08-2004, 08:04 PM
Wow -- those are great tactics! Very clever.

I got the flash detection kit, too.

Now I have lots of options to sort through.

I can't thank you enough for your good input!

-Todd

aversion
01-08-2004, 09:45 PM
no worries, let us know if you come up with anything interesting.

toddlerner
01-09-2004, 10:04 AM
It just occurred to me that I have a very basic question before getting started:

I know only flash; I've never made a web page in any other way. So where do I begin if I need to make a landing page that users without flash can access?

I can studying more about the detect for flash publishing option and, perhaps, let flash's published html doc determine if the user has, let's say, flash 6, and if not, let flash direct them to a simple non-flash gif or something, where there are more choices, can't I?

I guess my question is: Between flash's detect for flash publishing option, and the "flash detection kit" (which I still need to study), do you think I'll have enough ammo so I can create everything I need inside of flash alone?, or will I have to look into other ways of generating non-flash documents or additional html code?

Thanks,
Todd