TBT: Flash Edition

I was cleaning out an old hard drive and found this ridiculous little 8+ year old Flash (SWF) gem hanging around. Its issues are too numerous to count, but I think I was having a good time when I made it.

Optimizing Images

Friends don’t let friends load 300kb PNG images on their websites no matter how cool the transparent photo of a happy customer waving over a gradient background looks. That said, when raster graphics are required, one should always optimize them. My favorite tools for this are ImageOptim and ImageAlpha. The more I use them, the more they inform how I design.

CSS-Zen-Garden

While working on this page design for my Apothecary CSS Zen Garden theme, I knew I would be exporting a handful of PNGs with alpha transparency. Page weight could have easily surpassed the 1mb mark because of that, but I knew that if the texture graphics were only 2 or 4 colors that Image Alpha could get me massive savings.

Image-Alpha

Note the bottom-left of the above screenshot. I reduced textured-border.png by 85% in file size (34,760 bytes to 5383 bytes). I consider that free money. Whatever you do, use apps like ImageOptim and ImageAlpha on everything, and donate because, holy shit, they’re free.

Frank Chimero on His New Site

frankchimero-website

In describing some creative epiphanies he had while building his new site, Frank hit on two that resonated with me:

Accepting that it’s okay if the site looks “traditional,” and that I didn’t need to opt into a willfully esoteric design or interaction method to make a “statement.” Blegh to pointless statements.

Admitting that if I was writing a lot of markup or CSS, I was working against the grain of the web.

How very dao of him. I think that what makes a ‘designer’ a ‘web designer’ is the ability to recognize the grain of the web and a willingness to go with it. Being able to code is great, but paramount to that is the unique understanding designers who love the web possess. Convention can be good. Web technologies work best when they’re embraced all for their strengths and weaknesses. Great work, Frank! You’re one of the best web designers I know.