Friday, December 07, 2012

Website Updates, Apple, Flash and Frustration

I’ve been spending the last few days updating my website – kimayres.co.uk – not that you’d notice a huge amount of difference.

At first glance the only real change would seem to be a slight shift in emphasis to encourage people to follow my portrait photography page on Facebook, or go off and re-pin some of my photos on Pinterest.

However, the thing that’s been taking up all my time and had me pulling chunks of my beard out in frustration, has been altering the gallery on the front page to make it look more or less like it already did. What it all comes down to is Adobe Flash.

If you are using an ordinary desktop or laptop computer you might periodically have been prompted to download the latest Flash Player to make sure you can continue to enjoy sites and applications using the most up to date versions.

Flash is a system, or platform, that allows all sorts of fancy extras on a web page – video, animation and even sound. As such it has been used for many years by people wanting to create a richer interactive experience with their websites. In fact, some designers have even built entire websites out of it.

It has its downsides – if your entire site is built using it (as many arty sites are), it’s crap for your rankings in the search engine results, and people with visual disabilities using text readers can’t make sense of it. However, used sparingly it can be very effective for things like creating scrolling image galleries, like I had.

Unfortunately Apple, for some reason never adequately explained to me, decided not to support Flash on their iPhones or iPads. So on these devices, when you turn up to a site using Flash, instead of getting any kind of rich, visual, interactive experience, you get a notification that you need to update your Flash player, which you cannot do, thereby rendering that portion of the website inaccessible.

Frustrating for the iPhone and iPad users, but even more maddening for those who work in a very visual medium such as photography, and suddenly realise that because of the widespread success of these Apple devices, a significant percentage of our target audience can no longer see examples of our work on our front page.

I’ve known about this problem for some time, but I’ve also known that trying to find a non-Flash alternative for the way I wanted my front page to look, was going to be time consuming and irritating. Consequently I’ve been ignoring it, hoping the problem would somehow go away. But when Maggie recently got an iPad it really brought home to me just how appalling the effect of this €$%&ing decision by Apple was on my site.

Having lost far too many days trying to find free bits of code that would do what I wanted it to, and investigating areas of programming my head was never designed for, a couple of days ago I eventually gave up and settled on paying £77 for a program called WOW Slider. It’s taken since then to properly work out how to use it and insert it into my site in such a way that it now appears to function whatever browser I use.

Anyway, it’s now done, and I’ve added a few new photos into the gallery while I was at it. If you are so inclined, please feel free to go and take a look and let me know which image you would chose to have as first in the sequence - kimayres.co.uk

13 comments:

savannah said...

i looked at the slideshow a couple of times and the text posted about the nature of the portraits/photographs you take and still can't decide which should be first! i'm no help, i know, but perhaps that's a good thing, me not being able to choose one over the other as first. they all work!
xoxoxox it looks GRAND!

Falak said...

The Photographers II or Scruffy Buzzards or The Boys :)

Pat said...

There are two many good ones. Iespecially like 'watching'
John Hegley, Sean and John Otway.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Brilliant, Kim, brilliant work.

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah, Falak, Pat and Guyana-Gyal - thank you for your suggestions and comments :)

The first in the sequence doesn't necessarily have to be the "best", rather the one that has most impact. It's a case of grabbing the attention within a few seconds

Jezebel said...

Perhaps my appellation was a tad off-putting.
Apologies.
Nevertheless, where is Dr. Maroon?

Kim Ayres said...

It was a tad. Do we know each other? What one were you using last time we interacted, if we have?

Unfortunately I can't help you - it's a least 3 years since he was last in touch, possibly longer.

If you do manage to track him down, tell him I was asking after him and that he still owes me lunch - a coffee refill doesn't count.

Jezebel said...

I direct you to the post on Cape To Rio, dated, Sunday, November 06, 2005, wherein Dr. Maroon bids me safe journey.

I was "Muff Diver" - and then "Schmeby", of later November and December 2005 fame.

Jaysus mate, what is going on?
Post a comment on my avatar-linked blog if you fear you cannot acknowledge my presence here.
Or e-mail me at gerbsc@gmail.com.

Jezebel said...

Thank you for your response.

We have never met, but we shared Dr. Maroon's Handy Comments Facility for a few months back in the halcyon days of our youth - 2005/6.

I'm in the Canadas. You're more likely to stumble upon, and over, his intoxicated bloatedness than I am.
If, and when, I find the girning Ted(Chav?), I'll first introduce him to his 'new' 6 year old twins and then request he call you.

Kim Ayres said...

The world has changed. Back in November 2005, Facebook only existed in a couple of Universities in the US, YouTube had only been around for a few months, and iPads and iPhones didn't exist. Nor did digital TV. And there were about half a billion fewer people on the planet.

I've heard it said you can measure the internet in doggy years - it ages at about 7 times the rate of us. Consequently it's close to 50 years since we last chatted and at least 20 since I saw Maroon.

Kim Ayres said...

Missed your next post in the ether there. I'll be sure to let him know he was capable of bearing offspring after all if he does ever get in touch

Jezebel said...

Facebook?
Never heard of it.

These canicular temporal gradations notwithstanding, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

N'est-ce pas?

Kim Ayres said...

Cultures, technology and religions change, but people are pretty much the sam as they were thousands of years ago. Only with better dental treatment. Usually.