All posts by Gina Walker

About Gina Walker

Gina is a designer and Senior Consultant at Smith. Contact the author directly

End of Another Era

Adobe Flash Player is officially dead.

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Adobe has finally pulled the plug on its Flash Player. The once-amazing and ubiquitous plug-in had become problematic in many ways—buggy, open to cyberattacks and lacking compatibility. Open technologies like HTML5 offer audio and video players that are vastly more secure, work better and are more stable. The plug-in player that built YouTube had simply outlived its usefulness. 

How to uninstall Flash.

Adobe has provided uninstall instructions for both Windows and Mac users. This is what you do:

  1. Download an uninstaller application for Flash Player. (Each operating system has its own uninstaller; Mac users need to be careful to match the uninstaller to the exact OS version you’re using.)
  2. Run the uninstaller. (This includes closing all programs and browsers that use Flash.)
  3. Verify that the uninstallation was successful by restarting your computer and checking the status of Flash Player on your computer from the Adobe website.

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Hearing Is Believing

Using sound to enhance visual communication.

Today’s technology helps designers produce sophisticated communication products—videos, animations, podcasts, animated slideshows, etc. This digital content often includes sound elements like voice, music and other effects. Understanding the ways sound affects “how we see” is becoming increasingly important.

A brief demonstration.

Here we see how a small click inserted at the right moment transforms two identical animations. This illustrates the powerful ways sound changes visual interpretations. 

This little video helps illustrate the way our brains enhance vision when sound is added. The extra information provided by the click sound tells us more about what is going on, changing what we think we are seeing.  

Science on this subject is focused on neurocognitive responses and the way our brains integrate information—how we use all of our senses to give us a more complete picture of reality. Sound and vision can work together to enhance that picture. Or, they can confuse us, distorting our view of reality.

While the science interesting, it doesn’t directly lead to practical solutions. My task as a designer is to create effective, understandable communication. I find the following simple concepts help me build better sound into my work:

  • No sound is better than bad sound. 
  • Don’t add confusion or distraction.
  • Sound quality must match image quality.
  • Consider how end users will hear/see your design.
  • Design for multiple platforms.
  • Sound and images must align to create a whole.
  • Allow time to be precise when adding sound to projects.
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