Web 2.0: Best widgets for embedding photo galleries and videos

Emma Sterling and I are in the throes of designing a new website for our business, danimations, in order to better explain our range of digital media products and services. Along with the expected text-based explanations of our work, we also want to embed illustrative video clips and photo galleries throughout the site, with specific clips and galleries matched to various departments of our multimedia lives.

One of the main considerations (and where we went wayward with our old Flash website) is to make the new site easily adaptable, as the nature and scope of our business will inevitably change over time. Content will need updating, and the less fuss the task is, the more likely we are to keep our promotional materials to-the-minute current. This means developing a streamlined system for the management of photos, designs, illustrations, videos and text. Ideally, we want to be able to add and remove images from galleries, and swap video clips, without having to bone up on the latest CSS and .html coding memes.

I was delighted tonight to discover this modest little Flash-based photo gallery widget. Called PictoBrowser, it’s a free application, and the kicker for me is that it can turn a set, tag or whole Flickr profile into a custom gallery you can embed just about anywhere. It also works with Picasa portfolios, for those of you favouring that photo-sharing site. The simplicity of the code makes it obvious how to manipulate the dimensions of the embedded gallery, and that’s about all anyone would need to do before dropping it straight into their website. Another reason to stick with hosting images on Flickr is the way the sites content polls so well in Google searches. Don’t forget to think about how you title, tag and geo-tag your images, people!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

On a similar front, we’ve been considering our options for the hosting and embedding of video on the new site. Our searching to date has lead us to using Viddler for our embeds 9at least for the time being). A site that tends to raise more eye-brows than rooves in Australian circles, user-uploaded content on Viddler can be embedded with a custom watermark (GIF or PNG file 150 x 100 pixels) uploaded by you. This replaces the glaring platform advertisement so indelibly printed on their competitors’ embeds, and can be changed at any time. It is superimposed over, rather than burned into the video data itself. The player’s button bar can also be customised and coloured to taste, making it a good choice for seamless embedding on sites of any nature or scale. You can see the Viddler player in action in our video widget, embedded in the top-right corner of our blog.

If you think you can top these tools with other great free or economical methods for displaying photos or video on your site without becoming a billboard for a 3rd party advertiser, please let us know… we’d love to hear from you. Oh, and if you’re a mad flickr user, and are looking for some extra tools to play with, take a look at The Great Flickr Tools Collection.

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Web 2.0: Social network profile integration & chain-reactions

I’ve been devoting much of my time of late to exploring Web 2.0 possibilities in the last few weeks… services, sites, widgets and ways to integrate them. Now that we all have profiles all over the place (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube and countless others) keeping them all relevant can be pretty time consuming. Fortunately developers appear to be aware of this and are doing something about it. Here’s a cute little example of my most recent Web 2.0 chain reaction (websites updating other websites and profiles automatically). This is a pretty neat development, and can be handy both socially and professionally.

In this case, my goal was to proliferate my online video, and share the awareness of it as broadly as possible.

example of a web 2.0 chain reaction
example of a web 2.0 chain reaction
  1. TubeMogul.com – The chain reaction begins when I upload a video to TubeMogul. The site then redistributes the video to multiple video sites, including YouTube and a dozen or more others.
  2. Viddler.com – Viddler receives the file from TubeMogul reposts it there, and notifies my Twitter account. It posts my ‘followers’ a link to the vid automatically.
  3. Twitter.com – my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook profile, so in turn, Twitter updates my Facebook status and voila… my video upload is all over my major social profiles for minimal sweat.

Other sites that are worth a peep and help integrate your various profiles are FriendFeed and Wink. It seems Facebook is wise to this being a key aspect to the future of social networking, and has added an ‘Import’ button on your profile Wall… check it out and get linkin’!

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