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Information on how to learn Flash is prevalent, but it can be frustrating to understand how to make an entire working web site using this unique technology. Here's a course that cuts through the clutter and offers practical tools for creating a dynamic web site, even for first-time developers. In Creating a First Web Site with Flash CS4 Professional, veteran Flash instructor Paul Trani simplifies the process of integrating animation, video, audio, and user interactivity to create a site that is dynamic and appealing. The goal of this hands-on workshop is to teach web site-building skills for today’s demanding interactive industry. Exercise files accompany the course.
Having determined the goal of your web site, you can then move on to creating a sitemap. Well, what is a sitemap? Well, a sitemap is generally a diagram of all the pages of your site and how they are linked together. We want to map this out. Not only do we need to map out how they are link together, but we need to map out what the content is. So we are going to determine our content and then figure out how it links together. Take for example, John Doe's web site. John Doe is a designer and on his site, we want to make sure we include an introduction to John Doe, all about John Doe and his skills. We want to show off his portfolio and then we want to have contact information or a contact form, so potential employers can a get a hold of him.
So you take all of that information and in essence put it in buckets. These could very well end up being all the pages of your site. So you want to determine how to navigate this information once it's in these buckets. Now you can do this a number of ways. You could have all of the information on one page, you could have multiple pages that link together, you can even do a search field, a search engine that would actually search the content and pull up the appropriate content. You can do a combination of any of the above or something totally different, which is nice because Flash really gives you the power to do so.
There are plenty of examples out there of this. We have everything from blogs, to craigslist, to Ben & Jerry's, but let's go ahead and take a look at some of those. A blog is an example of an all-in-one page where all the content is on one page ready to read. That's one approach you can take. Next up is an index approach where all the pages are listed on the home page and then I can click through to get to the various pages within this site, such as how craigslist is built. Next up is a flat view. So, in essence I can go from any one page to any other page in this site and it's pretty easy because this content isn't that robust.
So it only wants one page for each one of these sections. Or you can go with strict hierarchy, which this Ben & Jerry's example shows that if you want to get to the Products page, you have to go through Our Products. So it's a strict hierarchy of information. Lastly, there is the multi-dimensional hierarchy, like amazon.com, which allows me to search and pull up titles that way or I can go through the various categories to find the same content. Lots of information heavy sites are often multi-dimensional in hierarchy.
For our needs we are going to go with the flat structure. As you can see, we are going to start out on the home page and from any one page you can get to any other page with one click. So you really want to pick the navigation that is going to be best for your content, starting with your content and then decide what's going to be easiest for the user and often simpler is going to be a lot better. So with our information in place and our structure set up, we can then work on the technical requirements for our site.
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