A website roadmap outlines the key stages of website creation. Website roadmaps allow multiple teams to align on the content creation, design and development phases of a website launch. It also establishes which tasks are contingent on the completion of others. Trace a website’s progress from research and conceptualization, all the way to building, styling and final deployment.
Today I write in memory of Adobe Flash (née Macromedia), something that a bunch of people are actually too young to remember. I write this with love, longing, and a palpable sense of relief that it’s all over. I have come to praise Flash, to curse it, and finally to bury it.
That last bit actually makes me happy, because Flash games were a huge part of my childhood, and the archives must be preserved. Before I’d ever heard of video cards, frames per second, and “git gud”, I was whiling away many an hour on disney.com, cartoonnetwork.com, MiniClip, Kongregate, and other sites, looking for games.
I think we’ve established in my previous work that even as a missionary kid, I didnothave a social life.
The Internet itself gave me a way to reach out and see beyond my house, my city, and my world, and it was wonderful. Flash was a part of that era when the Internet felt new, fresh, and loaded with potential. Flash never sent anyone abuse, or death threats. Flash was for silly animations, and games that my parent’s computer could just barely handle, after half an hour of downloading.
I even built my first animated navigation menus in Flash, because I didn’t know any better. At all. But those menus looked exactly like the ones I’d designed in Photoshop, so that’s what mattered to me, young as I was.
That was a part of Flash’s charm, really.
What Flash Got Right
Flash Brought Online Multimedia into the Mainstream
It was (in part) Flash that opened up a world of online business possibilities, that made people realize the Internet had potential rivalling that of television. It brought a wave of financial and social investment that wouldn’t be seen again until the advent of mainstream social networks like MySpace.
The Internet was already big business, but Flash design became an industry unto itself.
Flash Was Responsive
Yeah, Flash websites could be reliably responsive (and still fancy!) before purely HTML-based sites pulled it off. Of course, it was called by other names back then, names like “Liquid Design”, or “Flex Design”. But you could reliably build a website in Flash, and you knew it would look good on everything from 800×600 monitors, to the devastatingly huge 1024×768 screens.
You know, before those darned kids with their “wide screens” took over. Even then, Flash still looked good, even if a bunch of people suddenly had to stop making their sites with a square-ish aspect ratio.
Flash Was Browser-Agnostic
On top of being pseudo-responsive, the plugin-based Flash player was almost guaranteed to work the same in every major browser. Back in a time when Netscape and Internet Explorer didn’t have anything that remotely resembled feature parity, the ability to guarantee a consistent website experience was to be treasured. When FireFox and Chrome came out, with IE lagging further behind, that didn’t change.
While the CSS Working Group and others fought long and hard for the web to become something usable, Flash skated by on its sheer convenience. If your site was built in Flash, you didn’t have to care which browsers supported the <marquee> tag, or whatever other ill-conceived gimmick was new and trendy.
Flash Popularized Streaming Video
Remember when YouTube had a Flash-based video player? Long before YouTube, pretty much every site with video was using Flash to play videos online. It started with some sites I probably shouldn’t mention around the kids, and then everyone was doing it.
Some of my fondest memories are of watching cartoon clips as a teenager. I’d never gotten to watchGargoylesorBatman: The Animated Seriesas a young kid, those experience came via the Internet, and yes… Flash. Flash video players brought meAvatar: The Last Airbender,whichnever ever had a live action adaptation.
Anyway, my point: Flash made online video streaming happen. If you’ve ever loved a Netflix or Prime original show (bring backThe Tick!), you can thank Macromedia.
What Flash Got Wrong
Obviously, not everything was rosy and golden. If it was, we’d have never moved on to bigger, better things. Flash had problems that ultimately killed it, giving me the chance, nay, theresponsibilityof eulogizing one of the Internet’s most important formative technologies.
Firstly, it was buggy and insecure:This is not necessarily a deal-breaker in the tech world, and Microsoft is doing just fine, thank you. Still, as Flash matured and the code-base expanded, the bugs became more pronounced. The fact that it was prone to myriad security issues made it a hard sell to any company that wanted to make money.
Which is, you know, all of them.
Secondly, it was SEO-unfriendly:Here was a more serious problem, sales-wise. While we’re mostly past the era when everyone and their dog was running a shady SEO company, search engines are still the lifeblood of most online businesses. Having a site that Google can’t index is just a no-go. By the time Google had managed to index SWF files, it was already too late.
Thirdly, its performance steadily got worse:With an expanding set of features and code, the Flash plugin just took more and more resources to run. Pair it with Chrome during that browser’s worst RAM-devouring days, and you have a problem.
Then, while desktops were getting more and more powerful just (I assume) to keep up with Flash, Apple went and introduced the iPhone. Flash. Sucked. On. Mobile. Even the vendors that went out of their way to include a Flash implementation on their smartphones almost never did itwell.
It was so much of a hassle that when Apple officially dropped Flash support, the entire world said, “Okay, yeah, that’s fair.”
Side note:Flashalwayssucked on Linux. I’m just saying.
Ashes To Ashes…
Flash was, for its time, a good thing for the Internet as a whole. We’ve outgrown it now, but it would be reckless of us to ignore the good things it brought to the world. Like the creativity of a million amateur animators, and especially that one cartoon called “End of Ze World”.
Goodbye Flash, you sucked. And you were great. Rest in peace. Rest in pieces. Good riddance. I’ll miss you.
Today we’re going to cover 5 essential elements of storytelling in branding that you need to know about.
Let’s do it!
1. Know Your Audience
You know you have an amazing, effective brand story when you can impact your audience in all stages of their customer journey.
One of the greatest ways you can find out who your audience is through the use of research.
So who is your core demographic?
You can answer this is a few different ways, but two ways specifically are obtaining customer data using the browser and purchase history to track preferences, and also by asking your followers directly on your social media.
The reason why it’s so important to know your audience is because you’re designing for them.
You need to know who you are trying to reach because design is not one-size-fits-all.
Once you know who your audience is, you’ll know what style to go for.
2. Find Your Style and Be Authentic
Once you know your audience, it’s time to determine your style.
You don’t need to fit into the mold and be like everyone else.
You need to be authentic, true to yourself, and relevant to your product.
A few questions you can ask yourself before figuring out your style are:
Why does my brand exist?
What problems do I help people solve?
What do I do differently than my competitors?
What obstacles have we overcome as a brand?
Once you start answering some of these questions, you can start designing.
3. Be Consistent
You’ve heard it been said before, “Consistency is key”.
Having consistent branding is going to be crucial in your brand recognition.
You can’t have half of your branding be neutral, flat design and minimalistic, and the other half neon and 3-D.
It just doesn’t work.
Your branding needs to be aesthetic and should be consistent over all platforms.
Once you create a consistent branding style that works for you, people will begin to recognize your brand subconsciously.
4. Build Your Character
In order to have effective brand storytelling, you have to build a brand character that your audience will be able to relate to.
You have to be approachable by your audience.
The way that you can build character for your brand is by using a language that your audience would use, so that you’re relatable.
So if you are approaching a younger, fun generation, then maybe use terminology they understand and create fun memes to post on social media, talk to them like they’re as your friends, etc.
You could create cool and colorful visuals that they would be happy to share.
And the opposite would be true for a more formal branding approach. If you’re a large corporation, then use more formal language and more elegant and sleek visuals.
Create the character that reflects your brand and try to reach your audience at the level they’re at.
Be true to yourself and your brand, because people can see right through a pretend character.
5. Find Your Competitors, Then Do Better
My final piece of advice definitely sounds a bit harsh, but find your competitors, research their branding, see what you like and dislike about what they’ve done, then do better.
You need to prove yourself to your audience and tell them why they should use your services and buy your product, instead of buying your competitor’s products.
What makes you different? What makes you stand out?
Answer those questions throughout your website through your design.
So, see what your competition is doing, do it better.
Do it for yourself.
Your product deserves the attention of others and you’ll get that through great storytelling in your branding.
We hope you found these 5 tips helpful and that you’ll have a great time finding clever ways to implement your story into your branding.