A Widget Apart.

I’ve never really gotten them. I guess one could start out by trying to define widgets. But rather than going into that nonsense, the widgets I’ll be addressing are the little embed-able pieces of goo that seem to scour the web looking for a blog to infiltrate—the hows, the whys and the whats.

Good as they are, their function, design has always alluded me. When a client would ask me, “oh, can you do widgets,” I’d usually answer, “uh, not confident enough.” They come in Flash flavors, embedded HTML or Javascript. Hell, you could technically call the ad on Avalonstar’s post page a widget right? Stereotypes of said widgets would be the ones on say, iGoogle, Netvibes or Pageflakes.

As a project I’ve been working diligently on has progressed, I’ve had to come to terms with the widget. I can’t run away any longer but I’m going to come prepared. That’s where you come in. So with that said, I want to pose four questions:

  1. What do you feel is the general consensus among designers and site owners on Flash vs. HTML widgets? How do you feel about Flash vs. HTML widgets?
  2. Why are most widgets lacking in interactivity? Is it size limitations, lack of creativity, or something else?
  3. How big is too big when it comes to embedded widgets?
  4. If you are involved in HTML widget design, how do features like CSS customization play into the creation of those widgets?

Thanks for the help in advance. Said project and the widgets I’ll eventually start working with will be very appreciative. Feel free to state any examples of exceptional widgetry as well. :)