Historically, most promotional website design for Hollywood movies were typically interactive microsites developed in Flash. These were often filled with animations, music, sound effects and interactive content including galleries, games, downloads and more. Believe it or not, a small majority of these websites are still built this way. Web technologies have come a long way, however they’re still not really capabale of creating the same type of interactive content that will work across a multitude of platforms and devices. We are however beginning to a see more of a hybrid of technologies being used.
Take for example the latest action movie, the remake of Robocop due for release at the end of this week. They have a promotional website created which you can view at OmniCorp.com. All things considered, this site is a fairly basic HTML website. The concept is that instead of a normal movie website, it is designed to look like the corporation from the film known as OmniCorp while providing information about the film to the visitor. You can see a screenshot of the website homepage below.
Although basic, the site does in fact cater for all the different types of user. The site loads on a desktop, latop, tablet and smartphone without any issue although it functions slightly different on each. The full experience is reserved for the normal desktop/latop user, where the HTML site has embedded YouTube videos and Flash content including interactive games controlled with the mouse and keyboard controls. For the tablet and mobile user, clicking on a video opens up the YouTube application on your smartphone. In order to play the games, you are redirected to a link in your associated app shop i.e. the AppStore or Google Play. These are then downloaded and installed, and include different gameplay controls, making use of the device touchscreen and accelerometer so they can be controlled by tilting the device.
With tablet and smartphone usage higher than ever for web browsing, it is definitely important to cater for everyone, however there is a sense that the websites have actually taken a few steps back in comparison to say movie sites in 2010. There is a lower feeling of engagement, but at least ALL the visitors have the ability to view the content. In this particular case, using the “corporation website” is a clever way of not needing as much of the interactivity; it is what you would expect from a corporate site. In other cases of course, this doesn’t work as well. Until web technologies increase in capability, expect to see a lot more of these hybrid websites used for promotional means in 2014.