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Flash 8: Considering Your Audience

Macromedia Flash – Considering Your Audience

When you create a site, you often need to follow certain guidelines for submitting a Flash banner. For the purposes of this article, following established advertising guidelines is not a great concern because you’re not submitting the banner to a company for advertising purposes. This section briefly explores some of the considerations you might have when creating a banner in a real-life project, or a project for wide distribution. When you create a banner that you submit to an advertising company, often you need to make sure that the file meets their specified file size, dimension, target Flash Player version, and frame rate guidelines. Sometimes you have to consider other rules about the kinds of media you can use, button code you use in the FLA file, and so forth.

You have created the banner and resized its dimensions. When doing so, you actually set the banner to established and standardized dimensions for what the Interactive Advertising Bureau calls a “wide skyscraper.” The file size is also reasonable for a Flash ad of this size. You will discover how to reduce the file size in an upcoming exercise. For information on standard advertising dimensions (and many other useful guidelines), check out the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Standards and Guidelines page. However, ensure that you confirm the advertising guidelines for the advertising service, client, or website that you’re advertising with first. Guidelines might include standards for file size, dimensions, sound and video usage, and buttons.

What’s more important (for the purpose of this article) is that you understand how to create Flash content, export it from Flash, and add it to your own website. The lesson to draw from banner guidelines is that you need to consider your audience. Whenever you create a Flash site, you should think about the kind of people who will see your content—much as when you create any website. Is your audience a wide range of individuals with many kinds of computers using different versions of Flash Player (or none at all)? Or is your audience primarily fellow Flash developers and new-media companies? Your audience should affect the version of Flash Player you target. For example, if you think a diverse audience (often a large audience with a wide range of computer capabilities) will visit your site, you should target an earlier version of Flash Player, such as version 6. If you think other web professionals will visit the site, then a later version of Flash Player (with a detection system) should be fine. You will set your Flash Player and add a Flash Player detection system in upcoming exercises.

Note: If you send your banner to a company to host, they usually have special requirements for how you add button code to your FLA file. Often they want you to add a specific variable (such as clickTAG) instead of a URL. Refer to the advertising service, client, or website guidelines for the correct button code to add to your FLA file. Some companies also limit what frames per second (fps) rate you can use in the SWF file. When you design a banner, try to keep your fps rate as low as possible. Definitely use 18 fps or lower; ideally stick with 12 fps.