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Archive for March, 2007

Flash CS3

Friday, March 30th, 2007

We are pre-ordering the new Adobe Creative Suite CS3 on April 16th! This means that we will be transitioning to Flash CS3, and Actionscript 3.0 in between projects. Usually we wait until a new version has had some time to “bug-out”, but we can’t wait on the new Flash CS3- it will come with new drawing tools, and finally give us the pen tool that Illustrator has in Flash! Needless to say it will save us tons of production time, and we can’t wait.

This also means that we will officially not be publishing for the Flash Player 7 anymore. Flash 8 and Flash Player 8/9 has had large improvements made to accessibility. We will bundle all our Flash content with a Flash sniffer, that will direct the user to the new Flash Player download, if they need it to view the content. We will test all our content for Flash Players 8 and 9.

Adobe Flash CS3 Professional Overview

Flash magnifier

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

We have written code for a real-time Flash magnifier! This widget, can literally be plopped into any Flash movie, on the highest layer, and it will magnify any content that lies underneath. It works by using the Bitmap Data class, that takes a snapshot of the whole Flash movie, after we set the magnifying glass to invisible, so it will not magnify itself. Then this area is enlarged, and shown under the magnifying glass.

Hopefully, we will be writing our next Adobe article on the magnifier, and with it, we will make three magnifying glasses available for free use. One cartoony one for kids content, and two stylized ones. Flash content is often critized for having too small of a font, and this provides a great solution for sites that cannot always enlarge their fonts due to design limitations. To see how it works, you can go to our main site, and press the shortcut “7” to make it come up.

Reliant Energy Kids

Monday, March 26th, 2007

We have been selected by Raining Popcorn Media to develop a Flash kids mini site for Reliant Energy. The site will have its very own energy character, fun games, and printables. We can’t say much more yet, except for that it is due to launch before Earth Day (April 20th).

Killing Monsters

Monday, March 26th, 2007

In order to do our job the best, we watch kid’s TV, kid’s videos, visit toy stores, play video games, read comics, buy toys and order happy meals. (tough job, we know) In addition to talking and listening to kids about what they like, we also do our homework, and this includes reading tons of publications, for kids and about kids.

This book stood out to me, and left me wondering what took me so long to find it and read it. It is called ‘Killing Monsters, Why Children Need Fantasy, Make-Believe and Super Heroes’ by Gerard Jones, a writer for DC and Marvel comics. I picked this book up in my research on super-heroes for one of our upcoming projects. Jones writes about his experiences holding interactive comic book workshops with kids. When I signed up for a super-hero project, my initial fears about violence and guns bubbled up, and I was already thinking up villain friendly contraptions, and then I read this book. It not only gave me the information I was looking for- why kids like superheroes, what they like about them and even at what age they most identify with which part of the superhero- but it also completely changed my views on violence in the media.

Jones shows the reader that children often see something entirely different than adults. He shows that children use the media for different ends, such as overcoming powerlessness and learning to deal with reality. This book will make you see Pokemon, Barbie and the Power Rangers through children’s eyes, and actually find many positive qualities about them. It is a provocative but refreshing book, and I encourage every educator to pick it up.

Pearson Biology Assessments

Monday, March 19th, 2007

We have just finished a set of Biology assessments for Pearson Educational Measurement, a project that we started last year. We can’t show the whole assessments, for obvious reasons, but we can show a few of the seperate art pieces.

Before we started this project, we held an interactive digital storyboard session with the client, in which we captured the necessary elements and animations for each Flash piece. The benefit of digital storyboarding is that, edits can easily be made while drawing (control Z beats erasing pencil anytime), the storyboards can be projected on a large screen for all the participants to see, and the final storyboards can be directly uploaded to the web for revisions and references. The storyboards are already set up at the right size, so we can easily import them into Flash for production.

U.S. Census Kids!

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Snert Studios is working together with Mindshare Interactive Campaigns, on building a new kids site for the U.S. Census, Census in Schools site.

The site is targeted towards younger kids, to teach them on all the things that the Census counts. The site will have many fun games and quizzes, and better yet.. they will be all accessible! The site is due to launch this summer.

Don’t Mess With Texas Kids!

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

The Texas Department of Transportation and its agency, EnviroMedia, have selected Go9Media and Snert Studios to redevelop their site, dontmesswithtexas.org!

We will be creating a new microsite targeting 6-9 year olds with a litter prevention message. We can’t say anything about the site content yet, except for that it will be original and loads of fun! Better yet, it will feature Flash action games that will be 100% accessible for users with disabilities as well. The new sites are due to launch in the Fall, and we will keep everyone posted!

We have a winner!

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

I want to thank everyone that has posted comments on the Access button. It seems that there is a tie between the keyboard keys and the vitruvian man. We decided to go with a button with the representation of a keyboard and keyboard keys.

Since this button will be for kids, we chose an iconic button instead of a symbolic button. Since the "Access button" represents how you can access the activity via the keyboard alone, we decided on a representation of a keyboard. Since some of you said that that the row of squares, did not adequately represent the keyboard, we will be introducing a range of keyboard representations to a panel of children, to see how far we can take an abstraction of the image, before it becomes too obscure for them. Thank you again for all your comments! We will be posting the results soon.

Accessible Games

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Snert is working on a series of accessible game templates, by using a self-voicing technique that makes use of the Tab key.This technique allows for Flash content that is highly interactive, such as memory games and highly visual such as jigsaw puzzles, to become accessible to users with a disability. Even coloring pages can be made accessible with this technique.

You can view our collection of accessible games here. These games are still in progress and we are testing these templates out on ease of use and timing. Let us know what you think!