This is another course-related post, though it can be applied to the Flash-enabled Internet as a whole. A major problem these days in Flash animations is the overuse of the Flash file for mundane things like fade effects, which really don’t add much to textbook-like content like courses. My accounting course is particularly guilty of this. Many times through the material, an animation will offer to help me understand something. The fade isn’t really that bad, and sometimes it’s handy, like when adding things item-by-item to a list of accounts, but what really burns me is the unnecessary voice narration that repeats the “offertory” text and then cuts out, serving no actual useful purpose. If the animation is headed, “This animation will help you to understand debits and credits,” I don’t need some random guy reading that aloud for no reason. Especially if he doesn’t explain the rest of the animation.
People say that the Internet tubes are clogged these days because of all the video downloads and other multimedia activities. Useless audio information is another contributor. It does increase the file size of SWF files, and makes them take longer to load. I am fortunate to use broadband Internet nearly every day (like 364 days a year), but those of my classmates stuck on dial-up may have to wait minutes for the audio to load and the movie to be ready. I’m not really that fast of a reader, but the amount of text usually put before these is quite short most of the time, and takes no longer than 20-30 seconds to read. There is a reason for animations, and that is if you want to have games or narrated videos/slideshows presented on the Internet (though I have even had issues with correctly-used animations in the past such as in the AP courses I took last year); they are not for clogging dial-up connections with useless vain narrations.