Some advice on how to approach the build of a large site

Hi there…lets take for example now i know there’s a whole team of S**t hot designers on the game here, BUT its the absolute attention to such small details on the way things open, and the way these things build…that gets me

MY QUESTION is, to those who have experience…HOW DO I GO ABOUT planning and building such a complex site ?.. i know the 50% time planning 50% time building approach( which i try to use) and that content should be decided before build…

But any advice on how to go about “incorporating the fiddly bits” i mean, you can’t decide from day 1 that this little “menu” or this “tiny little bit, with the text in the header of a sub menu” will open na animate like this or that ?"

do i design (in photoshop) what i expect the final screen to look like and then go about a build ?) i’m just not sure ?

any help, or links to advice would be helpful - on how to plan and implement larger projects ?

many regards


ps: it seems that quite alot of people reply to these boards… its great… cheers for the help.

Well, for me, its all trial and error. I take what i think looks good, and I try new things. If it looks bad I try again. If it looks good, I try to improve upon it. If it looks great then I leave it.

heres what I’m working on:…/test.html

I’ve been at it for about a week and its fairly simple. Keep things simple and it should be a problem. Once you have the basic layout down, then I would concentrate on loading the content it.

To sum up:
Trial and error worked very good for me. It may not work all that well for you.

i usually organize all my external files into folders. they usually break down like this in a folder:
_txt (folder)
_images (folder)
_swf (folder)

the contents of the swf’s in the ‘_swf’ folder would be menu items, buttons, animations, additional methods, a preloader, etc. ‘index.swf’ would basically preload a main menu and background elements, as well as a swf that is used as the ‘operating system’. i usually store all my functions in one swf so that i know where to call functions from.
my typical _level0 is just a background color and code that loads the preloader.swf and tells the preloader to load a series of files that are necessary to open the site’s main menu.
a lot of things depend on the content and how it will be used. 2advanced wouldn’t be difficult to put together because the content doesn’t get changed that often. imagine making the 2advanced site so that a company’s catalog could be browsed and that catalog’s contents were always changing. that would require some serious sit-down time.
just try to make your code as flexible as possible, you will be changing it a LOT between the prototype and the final site/CD-rom/whatever.

thou needest a team, obviously. companies like 2advanced are really organized, and they’ve got @#%$ good flashers: both on the streets and on the internet. they plan, they layout, then they design.

Then they plan again, relayout, and redesign… then replan, relayout, and redesign… then possibly replan again and again and again.

Great questions! and planning can be a huge time saver.
Here is my approach for what its worth :wink:

  1. I first sit down with the client to determine exactly what the needs are for the site and even if Flash is the best route to take.
  2. Look at existing branding, company identity, the message or mission statement, color scheme ect…
  3. I then quickly jot down a workflow with links, how many pages, ect not worrying to much about the look at this point.
  4. Before getting into the coding or Flash design I typically creat mock static pages in Photoshop and present a general layout to the client and make any changes to the look.
    Then I generally proceed to explain and brainstorm over adding animation techniques rollovers ect.
  5. Begin Flash work keeping the client involved at typically every 15% completion point so as to minimize changes along the way!

Anyway this has worked fairly well for me!

-start with a detailed specification of what’s to be in the site (if you can describe it, you can code it!), but just detailed enough to get you goin’ …words are not visual multimedia.
-build a quick prototype to get a fell for the functionality you want to include; don’t make it pretty, just make it work, check if it’s ok, else{redefine}
-comment your code, name your elements, folders, layers…so you know later what you ere doing
-save a version with a new name (best: append the date or an incremented version number: siteV1.fla/ siteV2.fla or site080202.fla …)on every major change so you can go back if s’thing tunrs out not to work and: keep notes (on paper…if you still use paper at all :wink: ) to remind you what every new version changed
-when you start thinking you’re almost done, have some people test your site (like here) so bugs will show before you Go live (adobe commercial, play song here…)

After everybody finishes adding stuff here, move this to the best of…

Thanks to all… i wasn’t actually expecting that many replies ( as i thought the question wsa quite vague)… but there are some very good and helpfull points… (about writing the changes made at each version, on paper)

Thanks again…

“SINFINITI” / JEREMY (actually …to all),

I didn’t know that you can pass variable etc and call functions from different swf files ? I assume that you’d use the loadMovie action ?.. and load into a layer ? (i’ve had issues with loadmMovie (…jeez-us ! ) but you load an Swf into a “blank MC” / holder ( I assume)…i.e functions.swf…then in the “main movie” - this would be ranamed “functionsMC” ?

I thought (and from expereince), that loadMovie slows things down ?

Regards again to all who replied!