White Whale Web Services: A White Whale quickie: Brown GradLibs

GradLibs Screenshot

When the Brown Annual Fund contacted us recently, what they really had in mind was a Flash app.

While a few of us have Actionscripting in our past, though, White Whale has no full-time Flash developer on staff and a policy of using Flash sparingly. But we wanted to give them something just as good.

They’d come up with a great idea — a mad-lib style mailing for recent grads — and wanted an execution that would bring the interactivity to life for the viewer. The time-frame was tight (just over a week) and we were already busy, but we set aside the time and delivered the mini-app on time and under budget.

The custom mad-libs Javascript was straightforward and the client’s mockups translated easily to CSS, but the project still needed a finishing touch. These finishing touches are almost always a matter of user interface. The project may look great and work fine, but until it “just works” for the user, something is missing.

We thought what needed attention was the sense of continuity as you paged through the application; beautiful is usable and we found the right transition in the open-source MooTools library (we use another MooTools transition on the White Whale homepage).

Bringing the motion function into the script did it: a single HTML page and some lightweight Javascript that behaves as fluidly and seamlessly as any Flash app. It works great cross-browser, too, and — because it’s completely standards-based — plays well with CSS disabled or in text-only mode.

Check out our final version of the app and let us know what you think.

Back to home page

White Whale Web Services, Inc.   •   1904 Franklin Street, Suite 500  •  Oakland, CA 94612  •  510-808-4028  •  web@whitewhale.net