Sunday, December 7, 2008

Interactive header design eminent

Header interactivity started as a subtle, fun addition to an obvious space not known for being fun. With Flash headers becoming more ubiquitous I'd assume many users weren't even aware certain sites they were visiting even had an interactive header.

Most of the interactivity you'll see consists of simple scripts that follow the movement of a mouse (usually leaving a trail of colored swirls or fairy dust) or morphing shapes that move in random directions. The picture above is from a design blog that makes wonderful use of Flash 8's Filters.

As this trend grows in the future we may see meta-rich info stray to other sections of a website. Expect designers and developers to add more interactivity to headers, sidebar elements and widgets. As bandwidth increases, we may start seeing dynamic RSS-like image streams with mouseover media clips in lightbox-style windows. This evolution of information architecture may attempt to keep people within the confines of a single window while providing a wealth of information and entertainment in nested windows.

The Flash Player's 'full screen' mode reinforces this ability to keep a user in a single window, but then again, Flash has always had that ability to confine information in a single square. We've become so accustomed to thinking outside the box that we may have to start thinking 'inside' the box again.

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