Thus far in our class for Flash Production, none of our assignments have been large enough to merit much planning before completing the assignment.  This week is the beginning of our first large project, so for the first time part of our assignment requires sketches and organization beforehand.  Being the freak for organization I am, I am really enjoying this process.  It’s really helpful to this about which visual cues will best communicate information across different audiences.

For example, this project is an interactive timeline, and my topic is the same as my undergraduate thesis- the False Positives extrajudicial killings taking place in Colombia.  For this, I have to think of different button icons that represent the different actors: the Colombian military, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the United Nations, and various nongovernmental agencies.  The idea is that each button will pull up information about what that group was doing for a chosen year.  The right icon can communicate without words or further description what information will be displayed.  Or, an icon that is just ambiguous enough will make users curious and even though they don’t know what information will be displayed, they still want to click on it.  Provoking curiosity about a foreign relations topic, which has the potential to be dull, is an important step in getting more people involved and informed.

That last bit is favorite part about this project.  The reason I came here is to take potentially dull information and turn it into interactive information that more people will seek out.  Even though I probably won’t be making flash animations for Latin American nonprofits, it’s a good skill to have- just in case.

The hard part about this project is that there is a LOT of information.   And the only way I’ve dealt with this kind of information is by writing about it, so translating this all into graphics is new territory.  Shortening the information to fit in small on-screen text boxes will be one challenge of the project.  The other challenge will be more visual- government organizations and NGOs aren’t the most colorful groups to illustrate.   These challenges will the ones I’ll most likely face when I start working, so I’m glad I’m working out the kinks now!