You see a lot of Flash content on websites today. Sometimes the entire website is done in Flash, sometimes it's just a portion of it, or maybe just a microsite. Most people in the Flash game have either an experienced Flash developer or a design agency developing that content for you.
But if Yooba's claims are true, one can now do much of this Flash content development oneself -- without knowing the ins and outs of Flash development. You just need Yooba, a SaaS-based Flash Web Content Management System.
Intrigued but skeptical, we spoke with Sven Miller, Sales Manager for Yooba, to get the scoop on this new solution.
Yooba, the Company
Yooba, based in Norrköping, Sweden, originally started out as an agency that designed a lot of Flash content for customers. Like most agencies, they were often manually repeating operations and content management functions, in what they considered a non-efficient manner. Realizing this, they decided to do something about it.
A 20 person company, Yooba released Yooba Studio in beta in May of last year. That version only supported campaign sites and had no Web CMS integration.
Four years in the making, the Yooba, Flash-based web content management system is just about set for public release, and we have to say...it's a pretty cool solution to use.
Yooba, the Studio
Let's start by making it clear that Yooba is not a replacement for your more traditional web content management system. Instead, Miller says it is designed to complement it.
Yooba is a hosted solution that will let you easily build Flash content. You don't need to be an expert Flash developer to use it, but you do need to have some creative talent and design knowledge.
Yooba Studio -- Dashboard
Creating a Project
The interface is a cross between Powerpoint and Adobe CS. There's no programming involved, just a lot of point and click, drag and drop and settings. You start by creating master scenes -- similar to Powerpoint templates -- for the background and foreground.
Yooba Studio - New Project
You can do just about anything in Yooba Studio. Create any number of scenes, add your own images or choose from a variety supplied by Yooba, create text, transitions, animation, insert sounds and videos and a whole lot more. You can even customize the loading scene.
In addition, you may want some functionality like Forms. This is easily done by selecting one of several form templates or building your own. Your form can have lists, drop downs, combo boxes, textboxes, checkboxes, radio buttons and textareas.
Yooba Studio -- Forms Generation
There are a few add-ons for Yooba including a Quiz, Form Validation and Touch Screen Mode. There's also an Email Response Add-On that lets you send a user a custom rich text email or text message when they submit a form.
Yooba Studio -- Custom Email Response Editor
Managing and Publishing Projects
This is a hosted solution, not just for the creation of the Flash content, but also for the delivery of the Flash content. What you do is purchase slots, which are live areas that your projects exist in when they are ready to be published.
Yooba Studio -- Slots
You can have as many projects created as you like, but you must have a slot for each published project. Actually, you have several projects in a single slot, with only one being live at a time. You can schedule start and end dates when particular projects should go live within that slot. This is a good way to have microsites or campaigns running at different times.
Integrating the Flash Content with your Website
Obviously you don't want to have separate URLs for your Flash content, but rather have it look like all your website content is in one location. You have two options to do this with Yooba.
The first is to simply cut and paste a code snippet into your webpage. With this approach the snippet points to the Yooba slot. This is simple and non-intrusive.
The second approach is integration with your content management system. Adding a Yooba project into a page or content entity could be as simple as selecting an option from a list.
Web CMS integration requires that Yooba develop the functionality to add to your CMS, usually through API access. They currently have a webpart for SharePoint, but can also integrate with some other content management systems.
Maybe you do want your own separate URL. No need to go shopping, Yooba provides an interface that allows you to request a domain without leaving the comfort of your Yooba Studio.
View Your Captured Form Data
Just how do you get all the customer data that is sent through forms on your Flash website? Yooba provides a section in the Studio to see the data and download it as an Excel spreadsheet. Or you may prepare to have the data emailed to you at regular times.
Track Your Web Analytics
And of course, no solution is complete without web analytics. Yooba Studio does offer basic and advanced statistics. Basic statistics include number of users who visited your site and number of users who registered.
Enterprise customers can get more information including things like what buttons were clicked, scenes displayed, how many people watched the entire project and more.
Collaborate on Projects
It's rare to work in total isolation. Yooba provides the ability to share your projects with other users. This enables things like having your design agency create some foreground and background templates and easily add them to your project.
Hosting, Languages and Other Good Stuff to Know
Yooba is hosted by a Dutch company called LeaseWeb. They have internet connections in 12 different countries. All Yooba data is stored in the cloud and is streamed using a CDN (Content Delivery network).
Yooba content displays fine on most browsers, but it does require Flash Player 9 to be installed. Note that it does not support Flashlite, so mobile access is not yet supported.
Yooba does enable you to create multilingual content with UTF8 character sets. It has never been tested with RTF languages. Yooba Studio itself is English. Support for localized projects is currently in beta and includes Tabs for text/images and pulling RSS feeds.
So What Will It Cost Me?
Oh, so it all comes down to money does it? You purchase slots in Yooba. Slots coupled with bandwidth is what gives you a price point to work with. Get the breakdown on the different levels and what you get on their website. If you can figure out the chart, do let us know -- we found it less than clear.
Before you get too caught up in the pricing puzzle, take the tour and get a feel for what this Flash content management system can do. And of course, if what you see excites you, sign up a for reminder email, which will come out at the point of public release. The target date is currently June 8th.