Flash UI Prototyping Labs


These labs were written as an attempt to provide a digestible way to step through the key issues related to using Flash for doing UI prototypes.

Focus on UI Prototyping

These labs are specific to using Flash for UI prototyping. Most books on Flash will cover interactivity, but they don't get in to the specifics of best practices and approaches to complex prototypes. They typically focus on using Flash as a drawing program or for basic movies that play along a set timeline, and don't get heavily in to using Actionscript for interactivity.

These labs don't cover onion skinning, shape morphing and traditional animation techniques. Instead the emphasis is on interactivity and non-temporal playback. Also, the point of the labs isn't to be comprehensive or even to serve as a tutorial. It's more focused on general concepts, and you'll have to get accustomed to using Help, Google, the Macromedia website, and friends if and when you get stuck.


These labs are progressive and build on each other. They're designed to be done one per week, but they can be done faster as long as they're done sequentially. Each lab would be posted both as a SWF and as a FLA.

Lab 1: Basic Bitmap Animation
Lab 2: Text
Lab 3: Scenes and Layers
Lab 4: Basic Interactivity
Lab 5: Using Actionscript to Preload Content
Lab 6: Sound
Lab 7: Actionscript for Interactivity

The following labs are optional and deal with more advanced capabilities:

Lab 7a: Custom Cursors
Lab 8: Logging User Data (via PHP)
Lab 9: Dynamic Content


Within each lesson, there may be links to other websites that explain concepts and tasks in greater detail. I've used the following web sites and books frequently enough that I felt they justified having permanent links from this page.

Official Sites:
Macromedia Flash Web Site
Macromedia Flash User Forum
Macromedia Flash Blog

Recommended Books:
Flash on the TV
Hillman Curtis's book
Lynda.com HOT book

Web References:
Flash vs. Director


I originally wrote these labs a resource for the Adobe User Interface Team in December 2003. I've presented them here so that they can be referenced by a wider audience.