This week I’ve been working on a group infographic project in Flash. As the week has progressed, I’ve realized group projects are particularly difficult for several reasons. As with all design projects, getting everyone on the same page conceptually and aesthetically is always challenging. Beyond typical collaborative project challenges – diving tasks, dealing with different communication styles, maintaining steady and realistic workflow and consistency – Flash adds another layer of difficulty.

Planning how everything will work together is especially difficult considering layers and action script. Dividing tasks is even harder because as beginner and intermediate users, it’s hard to know how someone’s movieclip will function within another’s main movieclip, controlled by a toggle button on the mainstage or how someone’s transparent overlay will look over yet another person’s map image and so on. Where many hands make light work in so many facets of our world, many hands have the potential to make a mess in Flash.

It’s hard to imagine how this kind of production work takes place in the professional interactive world. Are projects passed down a creative production line, where one person begins only after another has finished? I find this scenario hard to believe and yet I can’t wrap my head around how work could be done in tandem, without problems. Does a greater understanding of overall functionality planning come with achieving expert user status?

What secret do industry insiders know that newbies do not? Will I see only once the project is complete where clear lines could have been drawn from the start?

For now, I’ll continue stumbling around in the dark, searching for a solution.