Teaching Examples

Storm Chasers: Multimedia journalism
December 15, 2006, 1:48 pm
Filed under: design, Flash, journalism, multimedia

From The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia comes Storm Chasers, a tightly constructed package with incredible photography of massive thunderheads, lightning and even tornados in the U.S.

Four sections compose the package: Two are slideshows with audio (and they are very cool); one is a section about the photographer; the last is related links. According to the credits, three people built this: Nick Moir, who shot all the photos and video; Jano Gibson, journalist and producer; and Carolyn Mills, designer and Flash producer. That’s a good mix of skills!

The navigation in this package really works well. It is simple, but it avoids a lot of the bad practices that drive me crazy as a user. First, the nav is easy to find, and it’s easy to see how it works. No mystery. Second, it is clearly available to you no matter where you go in the package. Once you leave the intro, the nav stays in the same place. Third — and here’s the mark of a real design professional — when you are in a particular section, the link button for that section is not functional. (It is so sloppy to leave the nav activated for a section that the user is already inside!)

The physical structure of the package is also smart. Each section has its own URL. This makes it possible for users to bookmark, blog, or send e-mail about an individual segment that they particularly like. This is not really necessary for a four-parter like this — but it’s still nice.

(Where you would really like to see this framework is in a huge package such as washingtonpost.com’s Being a Black Man. It’s really sad that we can’t bookmark individual segments in that one.)

In Storm Chasers, make sure you go into “About Nick Moir” and check out the sub-section navigation. Nice! The only flaw is the (slightly) blurry text. You’ve got to use pixel fonts or disable anti-aliasing (Flash 8 only) for text that size in Flash!

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1 Comment so far
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All of that effort on this package and no mouseover feedback. Needs some rollover states. I thought it was broken when I first viewed it. One other thing, the entire content fades to black and you loose the navigation for a couple secs. The audio could use a higher bitrate too or at least use the lame codec. Just some thoughts, other than that your critique is spot on.

Comment by Zach Wise

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