Sunday, October 02, 2005

Next generation Flash Player user experience

That was early... Mike Downey is already asking for feature wishes for the next version of the Flash authoring tool. While I could ask the same question for the Flash Player, let's limit this mini post to a smaller scope: The usability of the Flash plugin itself, not from a developer, but user point of view.

I would really like to give some power back to end users, knowing very well that some things are, let's say, less than user friendly. We could actively reduce the impression of some (power-)users that Flash content is merely a nuisance and maybe make some 3rd party browser extensions redundant. It will push Flash further in being taken more and more seriously when it comes to RIAs.

So how could we turn down the 'noise'? What annoys you the most about the Flash experience in the browser? How could we fix it (apart from uninstalling it of course ;-)? What kind of controls would you like to give to users? How can we enhance the interactivity with Flash content? Remember that I am not interested in developer features here (I am sure we'll get plenty of those), but real end user capabilities which will control all types of Flash content. I am sure there is a long laundry list of things we could do. Let me know about your ideas, we are willing to listen.

81 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that there is much that can be done with teh flash player that will improve the user experience - usually the user experience is at the mercy of the creator of the swf. Something which could be of use however is some mechanism for ensuring lots of swfs don't all run at the same time - often crashes my firefox when I have multiple tabs open all with flash on. Also sometimes flash movies in tabs don't seem to start until you go to that tab and other times they all start and there is a huge cpu hit and horrendous cacophony. I'm not sure the player can fix that tho, but it would be nice to only have 'currently viewed' flash movies play.

Also the issue of focus, when will flash content not require the user to manually focus the swf before it will accept input?

That's all I can think of really, ooh and the thing you have started doing ages ago but doesn't always work - when right clicking a URL you can get it to open in a new window.

And maybe a 'master volume control' in the right click settings, that would enable users to completely mute sound if they want, or to just set it so that it doesn't blast out and draw loads of attention to them in crowded places.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have the mousewheel working.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the vote for a Flash Player volume control. I don't want to mute my entire machine just to mute a page with a particularly annoying SWF - I just want to be able to turn SWF audio off (or adjust it) without affecting all audio on the machine.

It would be nice to make this a system wide setting (ie. SWFs on all web pages in all browsers on the same achine), or a per-domain setting, but I'd settle for a FP master volume control.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a 'save/print current stage as image'?

I know that this is currently an authortime determined feature, but with the new pixel control, it shouldn't be too difficult ( I say this as someone who won't have to add the feature ;) )

Sunday, October 02, 2005 8:16:00 PM  
Anonymous John said...

1. I'll "third" the Flash volume control. Even if its hidden away in the Flash player settings.

2. Let's get native support for the Back button and bookmarking without having to implement the various hacks/worksarounds.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 8:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow icons in context menu.

Browser menu on right click (dont know if this is more something u can do). It would be nice to open links in new tabs frm a flash textfield.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 8:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick Mineault said...

One tiny thing that bothers me is that it's easy to lose the cursor in FLash textfields. In any regular OS texfield, the cursor will not blink if you are entering text or if you are moving the cursor. However, in Flash the cursor will continue blinking. This makes me lose the cursor text in Flash.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things.

1) It would be nice to let the developer customize the look and feel of the menu that appears on right-click in the player. A true RIA with a tacky context menu L&F draws attention to Flash's original, non-RIA platform roots. (This issue comes up for us with customers.)

2) There needs to be a unified and graceful way of grabbing / releasing input control to/from the host browser. I should be able to decide whether a SWF grabs focus programatically, or wait for the user to bring focus to it. Similarly, I should be able to release a keystroke and let it go to the host browser instead of my SWF. An example is if I want the user to open a new tab in Firefox and my SWF already has focus. If I could do some sort of a releaseFocusFromSWFAndReplay('Ctl+T') call on a KeyPress event of Ctl+T, I could re-send this keystroke to the browser. This would be similar to VB's SendKeys feature.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ted Patrick said...

Tinc,

Get in there and fix CTRL+Copy from Text in Flash. I have consistantly found that Flash fails to detect a CTRL+C or CTRL+X and does not set the Clipboard.

In most cases you need to use Right-Click + Copy to get textFields to actually set the Cipboard with data.

Go Tinc Go!

Cheers,

Ted Patrick

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Samo Korosec said...

How about the option to prevent Flash for automatically playing all the movies on a website if there are more than 1 or 2 movies availible? Some websites use either pretty annoying ads or ads that slow down everything a lot (especially on older computers), so the option to "play" just the movies that interest the user would be nice.

Either that - or just play the movies one after anothers (there must be a way to detect when a movie stopped, I guess?)

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Heres a few:

Fullscreen:

The ability for the end user, not the developer to send the SWF content to fullscreen.

The developer would only have the ability to designate whether or not this option is available.

Fullscreen could be very effective for some applications especially Video applications.

If FLV continues to have success, then the feature will be expected by the end user base, as it is standard issue with most other video players.


FLV native playback:
This has been disussed a few times in our office, but I do believe that FLV should playback natively in the Flash Player without need for a SWF shell. Use a custom player and SWF shell if you want, but a raw FLV file should be able to play by itself in the Flash Player.

Does this apply to end users, well maybe not as much, but it is certainly a feature of the Flash Player that I think should be in there.

Drag and Drop

It would be neat to allow the Flash Player to accept files being dropped onto itself, and delivering the content of that file to Actionscript to be handled.

Now that we have the file upload mechanism, this would just be an exension of that.

It could be really cool for applications like photo libraries and the like.

Again end users would benefit just by the fact that it is a transaction type that most computer users a very accustumed to.


Flash Application Player

It would be nice to allow Flash content to be launched to a Flash Player outside of the constraints of a browser window. I would think that it should behave exactly as Central does, (hey just use Central)

Certain end users these days could really benefit from that ability, especially when using RIAs. It allows the RIA to behave much more like a true application.

But, change things. Central is not exactly the right thing.

First, make it so every application launches by instance. Not grouped together in the same enviornment. If I was using one of our RIAs in the office, I would love to see an option that said the following in a right click menu:

Launch in Flash Application Player

Which would basically be Central. When the option is clicked, the content jumps to the new shell application that provides all of the goodies RIA developers want, and the experience that RIA deserves to give outside of the shackles of the browser.

However, Central needs a rebrand so that is does not appear as another player to download from Macromedia, but instead an extension of the Flash Player.

So in the end, this feature would provide potentially the best features for both end-users as well as developers.

Central is a great idea, I just wish Macromedia would fix it. =)

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:40:00 PM  
Anonymous PaulC said...

Definitely SWF volume control for users.

Developer enabling middle-click on getURL's to launch in new tab. When IE7 rolls around EVERYTHING will be tabbed. (Sorry, borderline user/developer).

Better integration with browser security settings. The new global security settings panel is robust but can be scary to end users. Besides, most don't know to go there. I'd like to see Flash security settings be added to each browser's "options" tab, or a Flash settings panel under the system control panel.

"Flash Application" sounds an awful lot like Shockmachine...

Sunday, October 02, 2005 9:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike J said...

Oh goodness yes sound control.

And middle click capabilities.

Another thing that is incredibly annoying is the flash popup ads. Would be nice to have a built in "block swf from this domain" or "report this domain for swf blacklist" or something similar.

Sunday, October 02, 2005 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Owen van Dijk said...

Make the installation/upgrade process for users that are on anything else then WindowsXP+IE6 as smooth as it is indeed for WindowsXp+IE6 users. Especially the installation for Safari users on OSX is clunky to say the least.

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tek said...

The best thing Macromedia can do to make the end-user feeling more secure with Flash player is to integrate the security panel into Flash Player directly and make it looks more professional.

I had some really bad returns from end-users about the new security alert and this security panel.

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:50:00 AM  
Blogger Tek said...

another vote for >Flash Player volume control

But we could simply think larger and ask Macromedia to implements direct FLV file support (drag and drop into the player, into the browser) and to have controls for playing FLV that we can make visible/invisible by a mnue accessible in the contextual menu of the animation like any other options, and so we could always have a volume control accessible for each animation.

Is is something I think to since I have worked on a local FLV player.

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike M said...

A pause button equivalent, to pause animation and/or code execution - hand the user some control back.

(would also be good for the developer too)

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

undo.

provide the ability to undo something in textfield just like what html forms do.

(better yet supporting ctrl-Z)

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:30:00 AM  
Anonymous MOLOKO said...

how about a version of the IDE's output panel in the debug version of the flash player? accessible from the context menu. This way, developers using the debug version of the player will still be able to see their trace actions without having to build on a custom debugging interface. Could be password protected as well much as the 'allow debugging' option is currently.

Fixing the CTRL+C/CTRL+X functionality would definitely be a bonus.

I also strongly agree with the comments about the new security settings panel. Why on earth does it redirect to macromedia.com to let you change the settings? Particularly annoying here in the UK where the connection to macromedia.com is maddeningly slow.

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:48:00 AM  
Blogger Manish said...

Here's my wish list:

- respect browser font size (dynamically resize with Ctrl++/Ctrl-- in Firefox)
- integration with back/forward button
- get full HTML/CSS support using browser's rendering capabilities (more of a developer than end-user request)
- direct FLV support
- full screen

Monday, October 03, 2005 4:54:00 AM  
Anonymous carlos said...

Tinic

I don't want to be redundant (Since this has been already written fifty times in this post) but a flash sound control in the contextual menu (right click) is an emergency feature, since there are a bunch of annoying banners that use sound and can't be turned off. A simple "mute sound" item would do it...

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:09:00 AM  
Anonymous carlos said...

Also, Flash can be used now as a html render - so you can develop your flash blog, for example. Then it is really necessary to make the common html functionalities to work as well - keyboard shortcuts for editing text, changing font size, and the one that I use most: use the middle mouse button to open something in a new tab.

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Stefan Richter said...

I second Tek's suggstion:
integrate the security /settings manager into Flash Player directly and make it more usable.

Native flv playback is also high on my list.

Stefan

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:38:00 AM  
Anonymous bokel said...

1.backbutton
2.deep linking
3.rollover/rollout-events in textfields
4.overall performance

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:47:00 AM  
Anonymous JesterXL said...

Unfortunate, but necessarey; make Flash do this more easily!

http://www.unfocus.com/Projects/FlashSuite/

Then, back & forward buttons as well as page change could be planned for more easily. I don't like the browser, but a lot of our content is viewed in it, so might as well play by the rules.

Monday, October 03, 2005 7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike K said...

Hi Tinic,

How about getting the player to work better when using non-default values of wmode? We have many projects requiring DHTML menus or Flash-over ads to appear atop a key experience, and the wmode-associated problems have made it difficult to justify that the key experience be SWF as opposed to DHTML.

Aside from wmode problems like input text fields not working properly in Firefox, etc., there is also the accessibility issue: it's not possible to tab from non-Flash parts of page into the Flash part, and vise versa.

So, my request here is for better integration of player with browser. Ideal solution should make it hard for user to tell that a part of the webpage is Flash, other than animation/interactivity.

Thanks,
Mike

Monday, October 03, 2005 8:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike K said...

How about a load progress bar be automatically display. I think Director has something like this? Developers sould have the ability to turn-off this feature so as to use their own, but the bar would be there in case the developer didn't want to write his/her own.

Monday, October 03, 2005 8:18:00 AM  
Blogger Larsington said...

Here's my .02 dollars:

1. Sound control - YES
2. Actual RIGHT CLICK support. Not just a custom context menu... the developer should be able to enable flash to accept "onRightClick" events and so on.
3. MIDDLE CLICK support. By default, a middle click on a getURL command should open in a new tab.
4. The ability for the developer to use a default "player interface" with pause, play, stop, fastforward, rewind buttons and a seek bar. This is really essential, but should be optional b/c for dynamic content it'd really wonk things up. But for linear content it is essential. How many times have you wished you could pause a Strong Bad Email halfway through watching it so you could answer the phone? A lot of people disable the right-click menu for professionality so you can't just uncheck "play".
5. *Wish* - enable native joystiq support for us flash game developers.
6. Be able to block certain swfs, much like firefox's "block images from this site" that I use to block obnoxious porno ads and such. Flash ads are even more obnoxious, and usually even have sound.

That's it for now. Some are redundant to previous posts, just wanted to list all the ideas I thought were good quickly and concisely in one place.

Monday, October 03, 2005 9:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul Neave said...

Here's a suggestion that's just popped into my head...

Access to the OS's mouse pointer cursors. Currently Flash only allows the standard mouse 'arrow' or the 'hand cursor' (through .useHandCursor) but more control over which cursors appear where would be ideal. E.g. The ability to say "Over this movieclip, show the 'hourglass/minute hand' cursor, over this movieclip show the '4-way drag cursor'" and so on.

All too often you have to build in custom-made cursors and hide the mouse with Mouse.hide(), which is a bit annoying!

Thanks Mr Uro.

Monday, October 03, 2005 9:39:00 AM  
Anonymous NoX said...

I think user experience can be improved by using Hardware accelerated graphics.

I mean, a simple animation like this... should run smooth and not choppy and teared. (mind you, higher framerate and/or more frames will not solve this problem, try yourselves.)

The problem with the player in windows still is that it does not check for any vertical retrace to happen before drawing to the screen, so you actually see parts of 2 frames in one screen image.

In my company we were forced to use other technology for playback of video, just because of this problem.. the customer did not like the choppy playback.

Monday, October 03, 2005 11:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

flash player developer edition please.. Without worrying about download file size because i'm sure developers won't mind. And ability to switch player versions during runtime and have all players built into one.

And for the users, an update system similar to firefox, that allows them to update the player themselves, (click here to check for updates?) before we have to nag them to do it for us...

Just random thoughts....

You are very kind lending ur blog comment space for developer rants...

peace.

Monday, October 03, 2005 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and btw., i enjoy your open minded way of communication a lot.

Cheers,
Ralf.

Monday, October 03, 2005 1:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe you.

Monday, October 03, 2005 2:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Connect directly to MYSQL without PHP or other language.

Add special functions on Actionscript to select , insert , delete , update , .. into MYSQL Database.

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Nathan Derksen said...

A couple of thoughts:

Right now it is not possible (that I know of) to automatically focus on a Flash app without the user first clicking somewhere within the bounds of the movie. With HTML, you can use JavaScript to give a form field focus and allow the user to just start typing. With Flash, even if you give focus to a form field, the user still has to click somewhere within the bounds of the movie for it to accept key input.

The other point is with regards to accessibility. While there have certainly been advancements in this area, I still can't tell a customer that Flash meets US Gov Section 508 accessibility requirements. You previously showed an example using filters to produce a high-contrast version of a .swf. That is a great addition, as is keyboard control of components. Basically, until Flash can work within a screen reader environment, there are going to be concerns about meeting Section 508 requirements.

Monday, October 03, 2005 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tek said...

"And ability to switch player versions during runtime and have all players built into one."

Yes !!! It not really affects end-users but that was one of my first thought too the day I have launched the public release of the Flash 8 player.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 1:24:00 AM  
Anonymous eric mauviere said...

just to emphasize what was previously said :
- context menu (via right click) more flexible (depending on which object is clicked on) and, most of all, implementation that does not crash the player/browser as it occurs more or less randomly with Flash Player 8 ; Stability and reliability is one of Flash bests arguments, crash should not be an option
- better accessibility support, this is really a big concern ; focus/defocus, tab order...
- navigate through an history (with back/forward button...) ;
- and also : the Javascript/Flash integration kit is a great project,
hoping they will support a wider browser range (such as IE 5.5), and so will the ExternalInterface API

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 1:28:00 AM  
Anonymous baec said...

[not directly related to end user experience though] ... maybe instead of implementing the output panel in the player just allow redirection of output [like trace and runtime error msgs] into any dynamic text field.

thx tinic for a great blog :)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 5:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Had anyone said something about a sound control? :D
A part that, another factor that could help the fruition of flash content is its handling in more windows. I explain, we know that designer, me included, often design animations that take 100%, or a little bit less, of CPU. When we have many pages opened that obviously affects the user experience (in terms of performance) on the current page/applet. What could be useful is a kind of option, like quicktime has for the audio, to disabled the scripts, and maybe also the audio, on unfocused pages/applet. Is it clear? Cheers, chr

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 7:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Create a plug-in architecture like Director Xtras so that developers can help create new features for Flash to help create new user experiences.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 7:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

I very much second the person who said there needs to be a unified and graceful way of grabbing / releasing input control to/from the host browser. I've gone from being a flash developer to hating flash now that I work so smoothly with Firefox. It really annoys me how Flash steals my keyboard shortcuts such as 'ctrl-w' to close a tab. There needs to be some way that if an application doesn't 'catch' a key combo, it gets passed on to the browser. Same for full size flash objects that won't let me scroll wheel the browser window, because the flash object has 'stolen' the event. Obviously this would be complicated, as it may require more browser specific integration, but perhaps there is a way to hand off events smoothly.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tek said...

Something great could be to implements a way to solve (for IE) the problem that makes IE not starting a progressive download when using the strict XHTML OBJECT tag implementation.

That helps a lot of HTML developpers, W3C and accessibility defenders to think that Flash is the less compliant thing in an HTML page because of that.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Sébastien Ballesté-Antich said...

Support of non-latins characters in ContextMenuItems labels is necessary.

Friday, October 07, 2005 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-full screen option
This can be helpful for low-vision users who might need to expand the size of the viewable area.

-user defined zoom control
On right click you get a zoom in,zoom out, show all choice. But it would be nicer to have more fine grained control of zooming in. Give the user a slider that will dynamically zoom the swf at any percentage, not just preset percentages. Low vision users will be able to finely control the zoom percentage of the swf.

Saturday, October 08, 2005 1:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- volume control

- respect browser font size setting (i.e. make the browser font setting available to the plugin)

Monday, October 10, 2005 6:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may still not be technically possible, but it would be great if the swf could get focus without the user first having to click on it.

Monday, October 10, 2005 6:34:00 AM  
Blogger François Dispaux - Nectil said...

from the user point of view, these are majors cons in flash player:

* back/next browser integration
* speed (for non-windows user)
* more integration with local OS
* for RIA: integrated & stable shortcut possibilities

And from the user point of view, these are majors cons in flash development (NOT flash player but from "bad" development!):

* search bot indexation
* internal back/next

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 1:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of great suggestions here. Here is mine:

Input TextField Undo/Redo, ctrl-z and ctrl-y. Fundamentally, I think a Flash input field should behave exactly the same way its OS counterpart would. Or at least be somewhat easily programmed to do so. Ok, yes, undo/redo could be scripted...but...I...don't...want..to!

Functionality like that is so ingrained in most all users, that subtle differences, I have found time and again, cause users to conclude grossly exagerated things about their Flash experiences.

They get confused so easily!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 8:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if you could stop all the animations on a page. Currently I find myself covering parts of the page with my hands in order to read the content without distraction.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how could we turn down the 'noise'? What annoys you the most about the Flash experience in the browser?

1) Sound Flash ads!!!!
2) No sound allowed before the user ACTIVELY chooses to turn it on.

Thats my list.

Thank heaven for FireFox's FlashBlock extension.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:25:00 PM  
Blogger François Dispaux - Nectil said...

I just came back... and I see some anonymous asking for the (same) most important user feature ever: UNDO / REDO! at least in textfield...

Thursday, October 13, 2005 4:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think flash-player 's features are great, it's up to designer's & developer's to make the end user be astonished, if html can make people fall in love with the web, i can't even imagine what the flash-player does :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ability to do drag and drop file Upload. In similar way like here http://www.radinks.com/upload/applet.php

Thursday, October 13, 2005 5:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cannot separate the two -- improving the plug-in from the user/developer perspective.

Flash is a media authoring environment. If you do anything to make it behave like an application from a user-perspective you will ruin the product.

Already it does too-much that is unnecessary and interferes with both the user and developer tasks -- like the ability to set the quality of a presentation to Low in the contextual menu.

Macromedia should butt out, and let developers improve or reck their RIA experiences as they choose.

As it is, we don't have the ability to do more interactive things (for instance, do something other than display a system-menu when the user clicks their right mouse -- or middle-click) because Macromedia treats the plug-in as if it were an application with an end-user, instead of a platform.

Strive to better support the developer, and Flash capabilities will grow. If you do anything in the so-called *interest* of the end-user, you will only interfere with the developer and further limit the possibilities of their work.

Monday, October 17, 2005 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger Carl-Alexandre Malartre said...

1) Drag n drop file upload
2) Bigger and clearer menu, maybe the menu could be different depending on if it's a banner or an app size.
3) The mute button would be for small banner, I dont want to support any extra feature over my big app!
5) Simple but consistent security settings

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tiago said...

- Unselectable text annoys me.

- Back button

- A default "view source" that could optionally be turned off by developers would be cool too.

- speed speed speed

I know that I can fix/hack all those in code as a developer, but as a user it annoys me that they are not the default in flash applications.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous sim_irv said...

This is a pretty annoying idea because why does a player need user experince?

Maybe the only related thing I can think of is I don't need to reboot my machine after upgrading my player.

"...usually the user experience is at the mercy of the creator of the swf." as mentioned in the first comment. Please don't add anything interface-wise to the player. I hate to see any MM interface element (no matter if it's volumn control, print button, whatever with the halo theme..) on top of my design! It's the job of the UI designer to put in those controls. Please keep the virtual machine transparent. Remember the shockwave loading bar lesson?

By the way, do we have hardware acceleration in the player? User experience sometimes come from high frame rate playback capabilities :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 9:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the player should be flexible and not bound to predefined behaviour like HTML in a browser.

But unfortunally there is a lot of developers that don't take into consideration the needs of the user, so adding some default behaviours that the developer can override would be great.

One example is making text selectable as default. As you can see in this thread there is still people that think that text in Flash simply is not selectable, just because so many developers don't bother to tick the box to make it so. Text should be selectable by default IMO.

To make text resizeable with ctrl and mousescoll or +/- keys only requires the devloper to add a few lines of code, and yet I haven't seen any sites that implements it....except my own :)
I agree that it could make sense to make that a default behavior.
With Flash you can actually make pages that resizes a lot better with the text than HTML can, and it's a shame that it's never used and Flash is frowned upon when it's really just an issue of awareness among the developers. By including that behaviour the developers would hopefully become more aware.
And having Flash being able to sense what size the text in the browser is set to would be awsome.

I also second the backbutton concerns, but I realize that it can be hard to make it a default behaviour.
With many Flash applications it's not clear cut what constitutes a new history event.
But being able to with a line of AS register a new event when you find it suitable would be great.

Many of the issues with browser integration can be near impossible to implement I guess though since it requires cooperation with the browser manufacturers.
For example I would think it would be great if I could select text in flash and my FF plugins for searching for the selected text in google or a dictionary site would work. But if it's feasible to see that happening I don't know since it seems like it's not simply an issue of MM deciding to implement it.

Monday, October 24, 2005 3:30:00 PM  
Anonymous gKay said...

A "FlashPlayer/DirectX Marriage"
by developing a directshow rendering filter for playback of flash movies, mapped on 3D faces..

It wouldn't be so complicated, but the effect on the whole industry would be groundbreaking...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) What would be really great: fix the textfields. When placing multiple images in a textfield, they overlap a lot, which is pretty annoying. We built a CMS driven Flash-app, with images embedded in the textfields. It was a nightmare since the Flash player doesn't understand the height of the images....

2) Easy back- and forwardbuttons

3) easy access to textual content for search engines.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 3:52:00 PM  
Blogger e. van nieuwburg said...

1) What would be really great: fix the textfields. When placing multiple images in a textfield, they overlap a lot, which is pretty annoying. We built a CMS driven Flash-app, with images embedded in the textfields. It was a nightmare since the Flash player doesn't understand the height of the images....

2) Easy back- and forwardbuttons

3) easy access to textual content for search engines.

Thursday, October 27, 2005 3:53:00 PM  
Anonymous david said...

- volume on/off per SWF
- CTRL+X,C,V: make it work, make it able to capture
- middle click capabilities.
- provide the ability to undo/redo something in textfield just like what html forms do (CTRL+Y *and* Shift+CTRL+Z for redo). Fundamentally, I think a Flash input field should behave exactly the same way its OS counterpart would. Or at least be somewhat easily programmed to do so.
- there needs to be a unified and graceful way of grabbing / releasing input control to/from the host browser
- passing keystroke events on to the host programmatically
- native support for the Back button - with "real" AS3 events
- select text for linked text fields (yeah, you have to do linked text fields for that :-))
- Access to the OS's mouse pointer cursors. Custom mouse cursors (using a MovieClip and Mouse.hide() does not work while the Flash Player is busy)
- integrate the security panel into Flash Player directly and make it looks more professional

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Toby said...

Build in a standard hilite->drag ability for text. I spent a day trying to mimic this standard Windows functionality and there's no way to replicate with the tools available. Also, it would be nice if setFocus allowed you to remove the focus... it never seems to work as it says in the manual. There's loads of comments in here, but let's remember that the Flash player is still one amazing piece of kit..

Monday, October 31, 2005 8:10:00 AM  
Anonymous flashdefined said...

Until MM does something to reduce Flash banner annoyances, Flash will remain the antipathy of many web users, never mind a large percentage of the web development community. An interesting note from Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think" is that he found that about half of the web's users he's worked with hated Flash, but this number was reduced considerably when shown intelligently designed/implemented Flash apps. What they *really* hated was badly designed and essentially inescapable Flash.

To solve this, I would suggest that Flash animations be linked to the browser stop button, just like animated gifs.

I would put this feature *beyond* the ability of the flash developer to control (i.e. cannot be disabled), but have a "onHaltMovie" event that the developer can handle elegantly with a single static frame.

I might also suggest making an exception for Flex RIA applications, because their file size is not amenable to banner advertising.

While this might upset Flash developers who like to design annoying splash screens, seizure-inducing ads or untenable navigation systems, I for one can live with that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 1:33:00 PM  
Anonymous david said...

Aah, and I forgot:
Support for a:visited in CSS. Otherwise usability sheriffs like Mr Nielsen won't stop complaining (and they are right). :-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opion Flash is the most insidious piece of software out there. I refuse to use it, and will never visit or do business with any site that uses it. Flash ads are worse then spam, almost as bad as the old days porn page popup insantity.

If you want Flash to have any sort of respect, then you need to fully give control to the brower user. I would say it needs to be able to be configured similiar to IE security zones, including if it should be allowed to play sound.

Friday, November 11, 2005 1:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well to tell you the truth, the best way to improve the flash player user experience is to ... help developpers and designers to create good movieclips !
:-)
there is a bit of provocation in my attitude, but also a bit of truth...
For instance, what most impressed me when i descovered sparkle is the ease to create, more than the result it self...
The easier you work, the more creative and powerful you can be.
I don't insist, i am a bit except subject. I will wait for your post asking what developpers and designers are waiting for.
good continuation with flash !

Saturday, November 12, 2005 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous David Mitchell said...

I want to set Flash muted by default. Every few weeks I look through the settings hoping that option has magically appeared.

The focus thing is another concern.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like the user to be able to open a flash movie in a new tab or a new browser window as part of the ContextMenu.

An anonymous poster here mentioned 'too many flash ads running in one browser at some sites'.
Obviously, we can't prevent a webmaster from running as many ads as he desires to but...
At a certain website, apparently an ad designer thought his banner ad was the most important thing in the world and his unoptimized 32-bit pngs combined with the actual site's intended function dragged my browser's performance to a dead crawwwwll...
I right-clicked, set quality to LOW to no avail.
There should seriously be a way for the user to 'STOP EVERYTHING', including nested clips and scripted tweens as a kind of last resort, considering that sometimes the flash content is not what the user came for.(or at least to set quality to 'ultra-low' or a 'i-cant-handle-this-content-right-now-for-some-reason' user setting in a swf's contextMenu.
Just a tought.

Saturday, December 03, 2005 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing is of course the focus of keystrokes. Flash should automatically pass through any and every keystroke if there are no handlers for them in the swf. It's very annoying to have to click the address bar and then hit F5 to refersh the page.

Another thing is with text fields. On scandinavian at least keyboards the ' @ ' sign is altGR+2 (this also goes for the euro sign altGR+e). If the flash embed tag has a windowmode=transparent set, mozilla browsers will fail to add the @ sign to the textfield. It's a bit confusing to have to tell to the customer that the @ sign on this particular page will be shift+2 and not the one they are used to. I don´t know wheter this is problem in mozilla or flash player but it really needs to be fixed.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 1:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- Please allow a more direct ability to download an setup.exe for flash player instead of the active X (I know it is possible to license it, BUT WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF ACTIVE X?? Why do you insist on Active X??)

- A possibility to save local content! I always save webpages with firefox and it's great that firefox saves all embedded images and also flash, but how can I save a flash to harddrive that loads a sepearte flv?? HTTrack can do it, but it would be greate if I could have a right-click, save as in the SWF-subwindow to save a movie with all files!

- Why was it invented to make an EXE out of SWF? I have flash player on my PC and I always send SWF-files around (virus safe!!!) and tell people:
Open IE, drag and drop the SWF-file from your Explorer to the IE and it will play.

Why not simply make a double click on a swf (OR FLV!!!) launch the player in a normal windows-window??

Would be so easy!

- Flash has nasty SUPER-COOKIES: You can delete normal cookies as you want, but still you sneaked in this nasty feature where sites can track you.

But it's the same with cookies in IE: If you turn them off, some sites don't work.

What I really LOVE about Firefox: If I close it, it discards ALL cookies (exspect I really wanted to keep them) and no application cna do ANY test to find out that it's cookies are discarded.

In IE that's not possible.

Just add this to flash: Make an option: discard flash-content on closing browser-window. Content authors should NEVER be able to detect this!

Give back control to users. Things like this are it that make USERS hate flash!

- What is most cumbersome in flash-websites: They don't feel right: I cannot always select and copy text (often I just select text to make the text-field scroll down in all windows apps!! I used this before I had a mouse with wheel!!) and the most missing things: I want to open hyperlinks in new tabs/new windows.

Flash is a way for content authors to hinder me in doing that: I usually open ALL interessting links in new tabs and read through them (opening new tabs) after each other. Flash is a way to harm me doing this.

It would be sooo great if these things could be adressed!

But it would also be great if content autors would split their flash-apps in simpler html-pages (each with flash) so that everything works as ecspected (bookmarking, back-button)

Monday, January 02, 2006 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along with the search engine companies, make flash content searchable.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 8:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most important thing that MUST get sorted and that end users always complain about is support for the browser back button.

Although this is sort of possible at the moment, what we really need is a way to control this using Actionscript. Either a listener or "onBrowserBack" event handler would easily allow developers to create sites that support the back button, allowing them to create custom responses to clicking "Back".

I think this is essential for the user experience of Flash Player.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 4:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us vent a little ;)

1) Browser history access (forward/backbutton)

2) Search engine should be able to read flash content as if it was HTML.

These are the things that would benefit flash , plus me and my clients the most at the moment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 2:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, add a mute function on FP. Ads with sound are annoyingly intrusive. Not being abble to mute them (other than mutting the hole system) is a detriment to Macromedia FP reputation. I've even considered removing the FP plug-in from my browser.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll gladly join in the chant of users who want volume control.

I want Flash to not play anything unless I tell it to. And even when I tell Flash to play something I want to decide whether or not it will be allowed to play sound before it starts playing.

Having to mute my system just to silence Flash is not acceptable.

Monday, November 13, 2006 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most important thing in the entire world that has be ignored for forever is a MASTER VOLUME control. This is important in low noise environments such as Libraries and the workplace. I can accept flash ads on the side of the screen. But a loud flash ad can overpower any other sound on the PC.

I can't believe this hasn't be implemented yet...

Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:43:00 PM  
Anonymous <a href="http://drugscenterhere.com">ShopMan</a> said...

I like articles like this. Thanks!

Sunday, August 26, 2007 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger michael said...

i dont know if the latest Flash player ave these. But it would be nice if the player recognizes the Browser URL address bar.

Anchors are not that proficient.. i mean if the current keyframe has to load, say an XML file, anchors cannot read it, to properly display the keyframes page.

Do i make my point here, or im juat innocent?

Thanks anyway for a great article man. peace.

Sunday, September 30, 2007 6:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really, that volume control should be included, it should be there already. I really want to mute the flash player without muting everything.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 12:53:00 AM  

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