Dell Interactive Storyboard "Out of Box" Campaign

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Dell Interactive Storyboard "Out of Box" Campaign (0:53)

Dell Interactive Storyboard "Out of Box" Campaign (0:53)

What is this piece?  This work was an interactive prototype used mostly to demonstrate creative ideas to clients in our Austin offices.

Why is this in my portfolio?  This was one of the best collaborations I had with a great creative director, and a  brilliant Flash designer / developer.

What was my part in this story?  The idea is that by using a mouse a user can click on the board and drag it left or right. The user then clicks on a thumbnail and it zooms in full-frame. Most of the images in full-frame play movies or animate - some are just still shots.

My work was the storyboard container, the underlying engine that held the thumbnails and then when clicked, loaded movies and managed communication between the storyboard and the loaded content. The communication was the user’s mouse events, clicks and drags.

Another designer/developer made the individual loaded movies, and a third person, an illustrator, did the hand-drawn illustrations. In this example the storyboard was for Dell's campaign to improve the new customer's first 10 minutes after opening the box with a new computer in it.

We used this ‘storyboard’ on several projects. The appeal of using it over something like PowerPoint was the quality of the animation. It moved smoothly with the user's control and had high resolution, full-frame video, and high quality audio.

The challenge was the communication from the container (storyboard) to the loaded content when that loaded content was not finished playing. We maintained this application through a period in Adobe Flash’s lifecycle where it changed how objects communicate. When Adobe improved their player capabilities, this app benefited from it. The bug appeared sometimes when you: 1) ‘exited’ a loaded clip to return to the storyboard and 2) the loaded clip would stop the movie correctly, 3) the storyboard would zoom out correctly, 4) but the audio from the last-played clip kept playing. I worked with the other developer and we creatively fixed that issue.

We wanted to make this as user-friendly as possible and not require a developer for each new storyboard. This meant that all of the data that fed the storyboard was XML. The only catch was the person authoring the Flash assets needed to expose one public function to handle the audio issue I mentioned.

Software:  Adobe Flash Builder (Flex Builder) and Flash.