First, it's helpful if you tell us what version of InDesign you're using and what platform. Are you patched to the latest version?
Second, to see a preview image, you need to use the Media panel and select a poster image (so you won't see the grey'd Flash symbol). You should also be able to preview the SWF in the Preview panel in InDesign CS5 or 5.5.
Then you want to choose File > Export > Flash Player (SWF). You should be able to view it in your browser.
As to viewing on your website, that also requires moving the Resources folder that InDesign generates. I've never done this. Petteri Paananen is the SWF expert and probably can help you.
Thanks for taking the time to reply Steve, I am using Indesign 5.5.
The media panel is not giving me any options like poster image, but it plays the video straight away when i open it. It's really weird, in the preview panel the poster shows and then disappears within a second.
it should be so simple, create the interactive document and export it and use it. I have tried .flv, .fla, .swf, .mov everything that logic says. i have spent hours watching Adobe TV, YouTube and reading my books, but this has stumped me.
Maybe you could send us one of those SWFs you are trying to place... I doubt reason for that strange behaviour come from that direction...
link is dead...