A few weeks ago, CNN launched their spiffy new site which I was fortunate enough to have my hands dirtied from. I’ll save my comments for the redesign for another post, but wanted to point out the image gallery I worked on.
Details about the gallery
Overall the experience with the gallery is pretty smooth. However, because it is competing with a bunch of other processes on the page, you can visually see the lag it is experiencing (via captions hide/reveal animation).
For those with a bit of Flash community knowledge the new image gallery has a pretty familiar look. One might even venture to think that the module is indeed what it appears to be, SlideShow Pro. However, you would be wrong. Despite it’s drastically similar resemblance, it is a ground up custom write. Should it have been? Thats a good question. My first response when I saw the design firm’s mocks were, go get SlideShow Pro. I even pointed them to Todd and told him about it (since he was still at Turner). It was obvious they had used it as a model, so why not just customize it, right?
Well in the case of CNN, they wanted control. Control over the UI, control over the effects, control over the data, control over the internals, control over events, and basically the control to modify everything and anything to do with the module. I granted their wish and did a ground up write, which took little time. It was a clean implementation that did only what they asked and was fine tuned to their needs. It was the details that you don’t see that made the custom write the correct decision, and in the end I agree with their choice.
With all that said, I think it is a compliment to Todd that they followed his design. Though it made me feel odd with the project being so close his work, it points out the validity of his component. If CNN mirrors SlideShowPro, then that should tell you the component rocks. I wasn’t able to use it here, but I highly recommend it.