web page intro - how do i do this?
I'm pretty inexperienced to web creation and need to create a relatively simple site - most of which I can do on my own. What I don't know how to do is the introduction. I'd like to have our company logo fade into the browser window, keeping attention while I buy a little time for some pictures to load as background for my main page.
How can I do this best/cheapest?
The most obvious method is with a shockwave/flash opener, but I can't afford Shockwave Developer ($$!). Would java do it for me? Where might I find the java code?
Some general help/advice/direction would be helpful, as you can see.
We might be willing to pay someone to write this part of the page for us.
First off, to make a Flash intro, you don't need Director/Shockwave studio. You only need Flash ($300 or so vs. $1200 or so). Or, you can buy Flash 4 used online for, like, $50 or something, then buy the Flash 5 upgrade when you have more money. That's probably the cheapest way, and the most efficient way to make sure that everyone can see your intro.
I'd *highly* recommend paying some attention to this background image you're loading up for your main page. Why is the file-size so large that you need to "buy time" for it to load? Things to check for:
1) Did you optimize the image? (i.e., use Photoshop 5.5 or 6 and choose "Save For Web"). You can get rid of a lot of K by selectively blocking out colors (if it's a GIF) or lowering the image quality (if it's a JPEG).
2) Are you sure you're using the right format for the background image? i.e. GIF vs. JPEG? Again, see optimizing images.
3) If you're loading up a giant background, are you sure it's effective design-wise? It tends to get kind of distracting to read text over complex images.
4) Remember, it's only a background image... it's not the focus of the page. The focus should be on the content, so the background should be secondary at best!
Furthermore, I'm not exactly sure how putting an intro would help you load the background-image more "fluidly", if you consider that the image needs to be downloaded at sometime. I don't think there's a way (maybe I'm wrong), to tell the browser "ok, now the Flash movie's all loaded, so start downloading the background-image" (you can do this with Flash, but only within Flash's symbols themselves: not loading up external files into the browser's cache). So, either the user downloads the intro along with the background-image, or the user downloads the intro then downloads the background-image. See what I'm saying? You're just adding the intro to the amount that needs to be downloaded.
Here's what I'd do:
1. First, check out this background image, as explained above.
2. Get that image small, then get rid of the intro and just let the user go straight to your mainpage. Unless you really want the intro, or if there's some purpose for it. Otherwise, you're just creating an extra step between the user and what the user's come to see: your site.
3. If you do decide to keep the intro, buy or otherwise aquire Flash, and do it in that. Flash files are small, portable, powerful, trendy, and are very well supported.
4. If you decide to do it in Flash, but don't want to be bothered with step 3, I can probably do it for you for some cash... but, to be honest, it would probably be better for you just to go and buy flash 4 used and learn it yourself. Especially as what you are looking to do doesn't sound very complex: you can probably figure out how to do it pretty easily. And, there are always help forums
Hope this helps.
That was VERY helpful advice. THANKS!
You cleared up a lot of questions I had not even asked.