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Prototyping

A good specification makes you more efficient because it defines the course you’ll take before you start. Even though this means that you want to wait to start programming, there is one type of programming that can start early, even while you write the specification: prototyping. A prototype is a quick and dirty sample that you create in Flash to get an idea of how the final project might look and feel. No matter how great a specification on paper might be, it will never compare to the real thing. It’s sort of like learning to swim. You can read books, watch people swimming on television, even hang out at the pool—but eventually, you’ll have to actually get in the water to swim! Prototypes are the best “simulation” of your final movie because they are produced in Flash.

One way to produce a great site involves first roughly defining the objectives and then starting the prototyping right away. You make a few quick prototypes and then analyze the results. Let everyone play with the prototypes so that they can get a feel for the direction the site is taking, and then go back to the drawing board and elaborate on your specification. This cyclical process (defining, prototyping, redefining, and so on) might seem slightly inefficient, but it usually results in a better end product.


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