The Day Web Design Got Turned On Its Head

It was around the turn of the Millennium. Having been designing websites for 3 years with a mixture of tools, for the latter part of 1999 the use of what was then called Macromedia Dreamweaver began to become standard. It only took a matter of weeks to adopt the whole Macromedia family, Dreamweaver, Fireworks... and Flash!

It did take a little bit of time to pick up Flash and to take it seriously as a development tool, but when the power of Flash became apparent the possibilities for the interwebs never looked the same again. Well, they certainly didn't to me at least.

The day this all changed was when I first set eyes on the website of the Israeli American fashion designer Yigal Azrouël. I had seen dozens of Flash websites most of which had left me uninspired, I'd even created some rudimentary sites and applications myself (which might get to see the light of day again at some point on the blog), but I had never seen anything like this. My tiny mind had just been literally blown.

Even now I can remember viewing the design for the first time and just gazing at the screen in awe thinking is 'this' really possible? Seeing the site immediately set something off in me, of course I was already overly enthusiastic about design but now I just had to know how such a thing of beauty was built. So that I did, over the next few weeks in my spare time I began recreating parts of the site, gaining a better understanding of the power of Flash ActionScript, certainly made easier by knowing a bit of JavaScript, and over time the pieces started falling together until I had finally recreated my very own version... They do say plagiarism is the best form of flattery!

The early naughties were definitely the heyday for Flash. They may well have been its heyday, but the design dpi website itself was still championing its use until April 2011. Please take some time to review just a few examples of what design dpi has done with Flash over the years... here are just a few examples. We'll add more in time and feature some of the better creations here on the blog.

It is a shame that Flash is certainly no longer as popular as it once was, and with the advent of HTML5 and CSS3 will see its decline even further. Having said that it was quite a surprise stumbling upon a popular betting site named after the number of days in the year and finding it to be completely built with Flash. I had long thought those days were over, especially for such a complex site.

If anyone knows of any other sites such as this which showcase the use of Flash please add a comment, I would genuinely love to know of them as there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Flash. I'm just glad we still get the opportunity to use it when creating banner adverts, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the design process.

Here's the link to the Yigal Azrouël Flash Site circa 2000, * please remember it is over 12 years old now, and even though they optimised the life out of the image quality the site is still quite remarkable!

David Ellicott's squiggle