Before Web 2.0, just as dial-up was fading and the web was emerging as an interactive medium, every web agency was scrambling to hire Flash designers – animators that could turn an art director’s vision into as smooth-as-possible graphical animation to appear at the start of a website. Yes, that’s right. For those of you either too young or too inebriated to remember 10 years ago, web traffic encountered a barrier on the way to the homepage – the splash or interstitial page. The site often used Flash in the menu and other elements too.
The Flash page introduced the website, often in less than 10 seconds (if you were smart) and gave the user a brief encounter with the brand they were eager to explore. Quite happy they were, to wait. And of course depending on your connection speed, to wait, and wait, and wait, because the Flash page itself had to load too.
While the web has moved on and we’re now in the era of driving relevant content as fast as possible to the user, the loss of the Flash page does highlight something – a decrease in innovation and creativity. The proliferation of WordPress websites (and yes, I know this is one) has led to everyone seeking the same goal through mostly the same means. We’re at the start of the millennium in car design, when everything conformed to a visual standard.
I remember working with a client in 1996 and brainstorming where we could put the menu for the site and how the navigation would work. We had freedom and license to explore it. “Clean” seems to be the number one direction from a client these days, along with “fast” and it struck me this morning that it’s a shame. So, we’re on a mission… to create a new website for gb that will deliver relevant information but in a completely different way. This is a journey into discovery. Ok, it’s not exactly dangerous, nor does it involve NASA, but it could be the start of something new and even if it isn’t, as creatives we should all be pushed outside our comfort zone from time to time. We’ll tell you more soon but in the meantime, let’s see how often we can all think just a little differently, speak a little differently, act a little differently and provide just a smidgen more color to our daily working lives.