The design / development gap is widening and it’s industry wide. Traditional modes of working in Flash are fast disappearing in favour of a much more technical approach. There are massive benefits to this, not least the ability to build ever more exciting projects. Everything from data manipulation, user interaction, complex visuals and code management benefit from this way of working. However, let’s not forget the original appeal of Flash. When I first played around with Flash, my concept of it was Photoshop with interactions. It was a design tool. The freedom to start designing, and then code and design as I went was fun. What a great combination. It bridged a divide between the realms of creativity and technology, and anyone who wants to learn how to make really exciting user experiences without getting bogged down in theory can learn a lot from it. These days, however, there is less and less room for this type of working. Flash projects these days tend to require a great deal of traditional programming methodology to avoid becoming cumbersome and unprofitable. This makes a lot of sense, but something still niggles.
Why aren’t AS3, Flex and the other advances in Flash not intuitive to designers? Flash used to make this complex stuff easier for visual people, so why are increasingly technical minds required to understand it? What we need is some bright ideas for new ways of working. We want all the advances the technology offers, but we need to be fast enough to think of great concepts for working that maintains that spirit of creativity which Flash offers.