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Multimedia Principles

Multimedia Principles

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Published by: ajul91 on Aug 09, 2008
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Basic Principles of MultimediaDesign and Development
As the line between disk and web- based projects continue to blur, it becomes easier to communicateeffectively using either or both.Capture and hold attention withmultimedia. Combine audio, videoand animated graphics with thewritten word, to deliver interesting,entertaining and compellingmessages.Detailing what it takes to do it right,this article describes some basicdesign principles, delineates the phases of development,demonstrates appropriate analysisand defines some basic multimediaterms.
Interactive design
is probably themost exciting feature of multimediaprojects. And though it’s nice formultimedia to be aestheticallypleasing and entertaining, visualelements ought to be more than"eye-candy". It’s imperative to useimages and layout to help guide theuser’s eyes to what’s important andknow what to do next.
Graphic design
is important butnot the main scope of this article.Artists spend years practicing their trade, learning the rules and knowing when to break them. The basic principles of color, form,texture, balance, contrast,continuity, etc. all apply toelectronically delivered media, too.
Navigational design
determineshow users get around. Using arelatively flat structure makes keyinformation accessible from a singleinterface.Keep people from having to digdown through too many layers tofind what they want. The bestnavigation is highly intuitive. Oftenweb pages provide alternate paths(e.g. - buttons, image maps,hypertext.)
Textual content
should bedesigned for accessibility and readability. Depending on the kind of project, text may also need to be printable and changeable.During design it is also important toconsider technology issues, such as: bandwidth, throughput, systemrequirements, etc.
Here are the activities involvedduring each phase of multimediadevelopment. At the end of eachsection is a list of the deliverablesor milestones.
Blueprint Phase
Discuss and Verify Strategicand Project Planning
Determine Feasibility - StudyPresent System (Cost-Benefit &R.O.I.)
Conduct Analysis (Needs,Goals, Audience, SubjectMatter)
Define Run-Time Requirementsand Technical Specifications
Determine Parameters for Duplication, Labels and Packaging
Create a Content Outline (Whatalready exists and what needs to be created)
Draft a Statement of Work witha Project Plan, Proposed Budgetand Schedule
- Analysis Report,Outline, Statement of Work 
Design Phase
Begin Design (Interface,Navigation, Graphics, TextTreatment)
Draft Flowcharts and Storyboards
Review and make any necessaryrevisions to designs, etc.
Define and Build Rapid Prototype(s)
Conduct Test of Rapid Prototype(s) with typical end users
- Flowcharts,Storyboards, Prototype, UsabilityTest Results
Production Phase
Make any required changes toPrototype Designs
Prepare current and/or Draftnew Textual Assets
Capture or Create and ConvertGraphics (2D, 3D, Stills,Animation)
Coordinate Logistics for Audioand Video Production (if applicable)
Capture, Edit and ConvertAudio and Video Assets
Authoring and Programming(CD-ROM & Website)
Design and Print Labels and Packaging
Prepare Digital Prototypes for approval (Beta Version)
- Treatment of MediaAssets, Digital Prototype, Labeling,Packaging
Implementation Phase
Conduct Quality AssuranceTesting and Evaluation
Make any necessary changes(design, graphics, content, etc.)
Finalize any software licensingagreement issues
Install and Integrate Systems(e.g. - Upload Website to HostServer)
Burn a Gold Master disk 
Produce Documentation
Press disks and Assemblecomplete CD-ROM packages
- labeled, packaged,shrink-wrapped, and boxed CD-ROMs, DVDs or live Website
should occurthroughout the entire project toconstantly measure activitiesagainst desired outcomes.
Analysis usually occurs during theBlueprint Phase and can carry overinto other areas of development.Getting stakeholder involvementand conducting analysis, helpsensure success. It is much easier tohit a target when you know what itis. For a sense of reality, we willuse the example of convertingfacilitated classroom training intoan interactive multimedia program.
Needs Assessment
Needs Assessment helps to clearlyexplain the problem, identify theaudience, ascertain the actualsituation, determine optimalconditions, discover the challengesor barriers to achieving the optimalsituation, and providerecommendations.
 During needs assessment, we willexplore where this project fits withthe big picture. We will alsoanswer: How many units will beneeded right away? Will the program ever need to be updated? If so, when and how often? What will be the best way to distribute the program to learners? How elsemight we use video elements for other purposes?, etc.
Goal Analysis
Goal Analysis involves narrowingbroad goals into objectives to bemeasured by performance. For eachgoal, we will write a completestatement describing acceptableperformances in terms of nature,quality and amount. We willcontinue clarifying everything untilwe can answer yes to the followingquestion: "If the learner achieved ordemonstrated each of the desirableperformances, would we be willingto say he or she has achieved thegoal?"
We intend to analyze overall goals for the entire training program, aswell as, specific goals within each section of instruction. By stating  specific objectives, we will be ableto define the target and know whenweve hit it.
Audience Analysis
Audience Analysis entailsinterviewing past, present andfuture learners to gain insights.
We will talk with users and trainees(different levels within the targeted markets) to determine: What must be on tape, in print and/or on thecomputer for the training to beeffective? Under what conditionswould using a new program beoptimal? How do (or will) you know you got it? What worked and what didnt work for you with current training? etc.
Subject Matter Analysis
Subject Matter Analysis involvesconsulting multiple sources todetermine optimal content andoptimal structure of that content.
For example, we will researchcurrent training and have our teamof writers, trainers, designers, and graphic artists meet to review eachsegment of training, and determinehow best to convert everything frominstructor-lead to self-paced—theright combination of video,workbooks, exercises, simulations,etc.
Multimedia Terms
 Basic terms and activities involved in the multimedia development  process, in chronological order:
- to determine exact scopeand other aspects and needs of the project
Requirements Specifications
- liststechnical and functionalrequirements for the program
Statement of Work 
- documentoutlining all the parameters of our working relationship, including:objectives, assumptions, definitions,general description of work, work specifications, constraints, terms,schedule, budget, etc.
Project Plan
- description of howwe will meet your goals, objectivesand specifications
Content Outline
- organized description of what will be re-used and what will be created 
- visual depiction of entire program, it maps outconnections among elements

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