Social Work Matters: A case study in online interactivity

One of our government clients, Social Work Matters recently (as of late last year) started developing and embedding Flash content directly into their web-browser editions. Last November’s Edition is a particularly good illustration of what they’ve managed to achieve.

Whilst it might seem like a lot of attention to draw to some minor superficial improvements, it’s important to underscore that ActionScript/Flash can still add value to a Digital Edition just by adding extra real-estate and improving the functionality of how the edition itself is read. For example, below they’ve used a simple Flash animation attached to a content box and a trigger to pull in content in the “Click below for more contents” space without having it clutter the front cover. This is a straightforward piece of AS/Flash content that just about anyone can create and Adobe’s documentation on how to do so is fairly straightforward.

An example of this sort of feature within the edition is also shown below, helping to flesh out a profile of a social worker featured within the magazine by having his CV pulled in via this method:

Finally, as with all custom navigation, it’s best practice to inform your readers with a helpful infographic of how it works and which buttons correspond to what, which the editors and designers at Social Work Matters have helpfully done for their own readership, as shown below. Note that none of these interactive elements are necessarily superfluous or just to add animation for the sake of adding animation, they correspond to optional, ancillary information about the main topic, which is visible on the main page, giving the reader the choice of whether they want to engage further.

Finally, it’s important to note that if you’ve got developers in-house, keeping a hold of useful ActionScript content as part of a library, even if you see it eventually being superseded by HTML5/JavaScript content, isn’t useless.

A variety of tools exist to convert AS to JS content because of the general permissiveness of JS (as opposed to the strict-typed nature of AS), so conversion of such content into app-friendly, HTML/JS formats provided you make sure inheritance is maintained.

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