Great Expectations

4 comments | Posted: 10 August 06 in Featured, by Nathan Smith


Do you know what happens when a notorious all-Flash shop makes accessibility a priority? Good things, that’s what. The dynamic duo of Phil “kob” Coffman (Flash wizard) and Ryan “tank” Hargrave (PHP guru) of Intereactive have done yet another slick looking church site, this time with all the trimmings of CSS, while still encorporating the animated flair that has become their signature.

This is a very nice site that features tasteful use of Flash while still taking accessibility into account. The look and feel is very clean. At first, the color saturation put me off a bit, but after browsing the site for awhile, it sort of grew on me. I think the color choice is bold, yet makes an impact without being overwhelming. I like that they feature diversity in the choices of photography, a key tenet of the kingdom of God. I also dig the icons in the menu, as well as the bevel effect of the mouseover. Below the menu is a sweet JS form that appears, letting people invite their friends via email, directly from the site.

However, one thing I found confusing is that the logo in the upper left is Flash. It only has slight animation, and is being placed there with JavaScript. With JS disabled, a message appears telling the user to get the Flash plugin. The same is true of the header animation on the main page. Personally, I would put placeholder graphics there, using noscript tags, so that the user still gets a comparable experience with JS turned off. A tutorial on that can be seen on, ironically first used on the site for a game called Hellgate.

Altogether though, this site is exemplary in attention to graphical detail. I am also thrilled to see two guys embrace web standards who in the past made Flash their bread and butter. This is a testimony to the fact that the two are not mutually exclusive, and in fact can co-exist to make a terrific experience.

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  1. 1 Tank

    thanks for the kind words! This was a fun project to do and we learned so much! That’s the greatest thing about web design.. if you think you know it all, you’ll be out of work in no time flat!

    Adding in flash to pages ha become a difficult thing since IE changed ActiveX controls. We’re hoping to get a good handle on implenting some fall back strageties for users without Flash and/or JS. We just flat ran out of time on this project. But hopefully we can retrofit it in later and maybe even write a tutorial on it.

  2. 2 Nate Klaiber

    I think the site looks great. What I liked most was the simplicity. I was able to get my questions answered with each link that I clicked. The colors were a little different at first, but thats just aesthetic tastes and has nothing to do with the quality of their work. The nav is nice, the send to a friend is nice, and the content is all there. Great job guys!

    As you said, I had a few quirks with the whole flash thing – I would suggest image replacement versus update your flash. A personal preference of mine is I get annoyed with flash unless it is done REALLY well – and its rare that I see that – so I usually just keep it off of Safari (and updated in firefox). Other than that, I think its a job well done!

  3. 3 KOB

    Wow, thanks for the great review on the GEC site! I’m honored that it was chosen as a featured site.

    The color palette for the site was set from the start by their logo which they provided to us. Personally, those colors are hard to work with, but I knew they needed to be in the site and so the challenge of figuring out how to use them was a good one for me to tackle. I think the end result came out nicely and when you look at the site, there’s no mistaking that it’s tied into GEC as a whole.

    I think the comments on the flash are great and as Tank mentioned, we’re working on figuring out the best way to include Flash but have fallbacks so that those people who don’t have it turned on or JS activated won’t have an inferior experience.

  4. 4 ROb

    WOW guys, excellent job. I love the color palette and all the flash goodness. Exceptional job fellas.


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