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Standards Vs. Expectations

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Over the years both Flash gurus and Web Development Gurus have argued over standards, both from a technical standpoint when creating and deploying websites and content as well as user-based standards with UI development and experience, as a take-away. The utility of the website, being a competent component of branding. This is to say, Utility + Messaging ≠ Branding = User Experience.

Through this unsheathing of coded swords and semantic throwing stars, compiled with the Jedi-mind trick known as Jargon, both sides continue to pulverize each other with ever more unique and interesting approaches to each camps respective capabilities. In my experience, it has usually been the messaging and the utility of the messaging that decides what to use and how to use it. But as expected, many developers have decided that there is in-fact a need for both platforms. Hybrid-sites are among the most popular of sites when it comes to campaign initiatives. These sites often apply the social applications, as an extension–not main function, of the site using standards based development while the experiential side of the site is driven almost exclusively by Flash. A big reason being the integration of video as an application, in itself. I've expressed my thoughts on this several times on both my blog and Twitter. Video will need to become an application, as the lines between screens merge and there is truly one-to-rule-all. If I am correct, standards-based development cannot support this. Considering the Browsers have not yet agreed to support Ogg, we're very much in need of video applications that are either supported through Flash or even the fledgling Silverlight and Expressions. Lets also not forget the that there are gaming applications being developed that will incorporate both of these utilities into one stand-alone program.

I have experimented with Flash, developing a few short videos with interactive content built in, but Flash's authoring environment is still somewhat cumbersome. Gia can't support this type of development however, I have not used Flash Builder–so its hard to say what program or application development environment can support a large number of people building and creating for this type of site. I'm sure there are plenty of proprietary methods.

Back to standards and expectations; The user rules the content, the site manages and presents it while we create it. I would like my visitors to explore a site, dive into it, take from it–if possible, contribute to it. There is a general consensus that the web is largely a dichotomy of Searcher and Escapist. This is to say, one wants something quickly and does not care how it is presented as long as it is relevant. While the other will explore, like entering a bookstore, browsing the shelves indiscriminately. Secretly between that core dichotomy lies the experience of both prospects. If its a positive one, you can be sure that your site will be passed on, bookmarked and referred to often by others. Attribution is the heart of the web. That is what we are ultimately designing and creating for. That is what our client's products, services and ideas are looking for. That is what we, as bloggers and contributors ourselves, generally look for. So, to conspicuously add to and possibly dilute the jargon that comprises of a large portion of this debate; I agree to and understand the standard's positioning, but I also think the user's have standards. And in order to remain successful, we are creating for their expectations. Their standards matter the most.

As all websites move closer to a self-contained, self-moderated portal, all three of these standards will need to be present in order to succeed. Search is almost dead, delivery is the new search. Visitors will need to enjoy being on your site. A pleasant experience that is both relevant and entertaining.

P.S. Hope all is well with the FC gang. Seems like the group has grown. Which is great. :)

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