Flash Me Up!
Flash has been around for quite some time now, about 7 years to be exact. It started off purely as an animation tool called FutureSplash, created by Jonathon Gay (yes, it’s his real name!). It was then bought by software company Macromedia and renamed FLASH (F-uturesp-LASH), who developed it into the program it is today. Flash is no longer just an animation program, it is a full multimedia tool, in which its developers can also implement sound and interactivity. But where does it fit into the adult industry?
Being a designer in the adult industry, I am constantly looking for new “hip” ways to try and get tours to convert. People don’t want to sign up to a site that looks like crap (unless they’re into scat); they want to see a tour that looks professional because it reflects the type of site and content that affiliates have. Flash can really add that little bit extra on a site with its eye-catching animation. It’s true that animation on porn sites have been around for ages with the GIF format, but it has been proven that flash can offer superior animation, superior image quality and even smaller file-sizes!
So how come not everyone implements Flash on their tours? There are only a handful of design companies that I can think of off the top of my head that use flash consistently in their work (one of them being ours). Well, there could be number of factors: Flash has got a higher learning curve than other programs, not 100% of the audience can view Flash on their computers, sites can take longer to develop pushing up the cost of tours, and dependent on the type of animations in the Flash, file-sizes can be larger. With all these reasons, why do I promote Flash?
The possibilities are almost endless with Flash, but only if it is implemented correctly. I have to admit I have seen some really bad designs; stuff that looks like a little kid has produced. Flash is already being used in many forms within our industry. There are: Flash games, cartoons, banners, ads, and even some tours. I love using Flash, mainly because of the high impact it can cause with its smooth animation. Whenever you view a webpage, the flash banner or button is definitely one of the first things you notice. For instance, have a look at this ad from ARS, personally I think it’s not the best design but it definitely catches your eye.
One tour definitely springs to mind when I think of Flash tours: Free Adult Paysite. I really thought that this design was very good. It impacts the audience in a very professional manner. The only problem I can think of in this design is that it takes quite a while for it to load (especially on a dial-up connection), before it plays. I think that affiliate programs, such as Industry of Porn, have used flashed effectively on their site. It is more of a feature which people will want to look at if they want to learn more about the site, rather than being the site itself.
The future of Flash lies not only in the animation it can currently produce, but I believe in the video streaming. Not many people realize that Flash 6 can play video, and with its current penetration of nearly 84% of all browsers, it can reach more people than browsers with QuickTime, Real Player, and even Windows Media Player! Industry enthusiasts should strongly consider this as a viable method for streaming content. It may slightly harder to use, but I believe the benefits outweigh Flash’s shortcomings.
Another feature of the new Flash player is that it also has a web cam function. I haven’t seen this function used effectively yet, but I believe that it could be implemented in live shows or even for sex forums. It may be some time before our industry will implement this feature, but I can only wait for the day.
We need innovative thinkers in the adult industry. A lot of the IT people tend to steer away from this industry due to its nature but I guarantee that they are out there!