Interactive or animated graphics are often used on websites. They can be really useful and informative, especially if you want to explain a complicated idea or show how something works.
Activity 1.6 Each of these websites uses animations to explain complicated ideas. Select one of them and explain how the animation helps the user understand the idea. Think about how it would be explained without the animation.
Despite all that has been said above, text should not be ignored. Text is often the most effective way of setting the scene. Used in combination with other types of media, it can be a powerful way of describing a process.
Look on the internet for examples of text being used effectively to get a message across. Compare your findings with others in the group.
When you watch a feature film, you need to watch it from the beginning to the end. If you were to watch the scenes jumbled up it wouldn’t make sense. In many computer games you decide what happens next. This is an example of interactivity.
The pages or screens in a multimedia product can be organised in different ways:
Linear – requires the user to view pages/screens in a pre-set order Hierarchical – provides a number of different paths for the user to choose from Cluster – provides most flexibility by allowing the user to move freely between all the pages/screens.
Visit the BBC website and compare the navigation with this ActiveBook. Can you say what type of interactivity each has? Does it depend on where you are in the product?
Investigating multimedia products
Other features of a multimedia product
There is no doubt that colour is an essential ingredient in an effective multimedia product. It can be used to:
group similar items together draw attention emphasise important information enhance the user experience and create the right impression.
Even white space plays an important part in the design of a screen.
TALKING POINT 1.7
Find different examples of the use of colour and white space for different purposes in this ActiveBook. Use the list above to help you.
If a product is interactive, the user must be able to move around it easily. Navigational aids such as buttons and links are an important feature of multimedia products.
TALKING POINT 1.8
Discuss the effectiveness of the navigational aids in this ActiveBook. Consider how they look on screen, whether their purpose is clear, and what you might do to improve them.
Multimedia around you
There is no doubt, then, that you are surrounded by multimedia. Many multimedia products are actually designed for more than one audience. This is often made possible by using different multimedia assets for different screens.
You need to evaluate carefully what works and what does not. When looking at products, keep asking yourself:
What is it for? Who is the product aimed at? Does it target more than one audience? Is it really suitable for its target audience(s)? Is it fit for purpose? Does the multimedia enhance their experience or does it actually detract from it? Which types of multimedia have been used? How effective is the multimedia? What other features have been used? What type of interactivity does it have? Is it the right choice for the product?
Multimedia resources aimed at a variety of users
Look at some multimedia products and try to answer the questions above.