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Graphic design:

Following the requirements outlined by Healthwise, my first goal was to create a tool that could stand on its own. Minimizing brand specifics and making the tool usable to the largest audience was my number one objective to maximize the return on investment. White was selected for its ubiquity as a background color. Again, the easier it is to blend the tool into consuming sites the better chance there is someone will use it. Browns were chosen as contrast colors to white because of the obvious subject matter - the cocoa bean. I chose the bean stock photo as a way to connect the color, subject matter and focus of the tool. This specific photo was chosen for its depth of field. It is recognizable but does not overpower the true focus of the tool. The test (function) is the reason for the design (form) and must remain paramount. Design should supplement the tool but not detract from the subject matter or cause the user to loose focus as to why they are here.   

Technical design:

From a code/script point of view, I wanted to put as much of the tool into script as I could. Thus making it easier to customize and repurpose. I built the tool using two frames on the timeline but could probably modify this to use a single frame - eliminating the timeline from the equation. The questions are in an xml file, making them easier to edit and replace. This also makes adding and/or removing questions easier. The responses to the answers could also be put into an xml file too. I created a config.xml file to place editable parameters. This would afford someone, a consuming site owner for example, the ability to edit those parameters and effectively change the outlook of the tool itself without touching the original FLA. I used font color, size and family as an example of editable parameters. This could be taken further and used to change things like background color, the properties of any individual text block or the path to a user’s stylesheet. This would greatly increase the tools potential for reuse. The idea is to avoid the need to open the FLA file to customize the tool. As a side note, I used the swfobject script from Geoff Stearns to place the swf on a page.