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Designing and building a multimedia project is a process that go hand-in hand. It is an iterative procedure and might quite time consuming. However, it can be the most important process in multimedia project as any small mistakes in this step can mess up and failing the project. So, continuing modification is needed in order to give a best product. But there is a risk that too much change might kill a project by draining it of time and money. It is then very important in balancing the proposed changes against their cost. Designers must always work closely with producers in order to make sure that they have the collaborative idea and their ideas can be properly realized under the consent of both parties. Thus, feedback loops and good communication between the design and production effort are critical in order to make success in producing a project.
DESIGNING A MULTIMEDIA PROJECT
Designing a multimedia project can be divided into two phases, which are structure designing and user interface designing.
Any product must be undergo the design phase before it can be rendered. Design phase plays a crucial role in the production of a multimedia project. It is refers to the planning of the design of the multimedia program to be developed. The design part of a project is where the computer knowledge and skill, talent in the field of graphic arts, video and sound (or music) are implemented so as to create a new real product. The ideas and concept are the most important elements which might emerged anytime and anywhere to improve the final product.
Designing the structure
Structure designing is the manner in which the organization and arrangement of all project materials such as text, graphic and video as the content itself. Its goal is to transform the data model which is developed during the analysis phase into the logical and physical information structure.
NavigationÂÂ refers to the way at where the connection and linkage between various pages with their components. Basically, navigation system primarily determines the level of interactivity offered by a multimedia system with their users. All components in the project which are linked together into a cohesive system is considered as a well-designed navigation structure. The navigation system should be designed in such a user-friendly manner to ensure that the system is easy-orientated. The architectural drawings for a multimedia project are navigation maps and storyboards.
Navigation maps act as an outline of the connection or link which leads from an area to another area of the content. This is aiding the process of content and messages organization. There are four fundamental structures in designing:
Sequentially navigation at which connects from one frame to another
Navigate along the branches of a tree structure
Navigate freely and not constrained by predetermined routes
Non-linearly navigation, but are constrained to linear presentations
Storyboard is a rough sketch of graphic in the form of illustrations and images displayed in a series of sequence which are included in a multimedia program. It acts as a designerââ‚¬â„¢s visual representation about the expectation of what the final project would look like. In the design process, storyboards are linked to navigation maps in order to visualize the information architecture.
A multimedia project can be designed by using two types of structures, which are depth structure and surface structure. Depth structure is a representation of entire navigation map at which all the components are linked whereas surface structure is a structure which is realized by a user when navigating the depth structure.
Hotspot is an area at where a graphic object or text is activated to a particular function when it is clicked. It is common in multimedia project as it has improved the interactivity to a multimedia project. There are three categories of hotspots, which are text, graphic and icon. Hyperlink is a type of hotspot which navigates a viewer to another websites or another part of a document regardless of whether it is from the same or different document. Image map is a large image which is partitioned into hot area with associated links. Icons are small graphic symbols which representing certain capability of the system. Buttons are the objects such as text, a blue triangle, or a photograph, that make things happen when they are clicked. On the Web, text and graphic art may act as buttons if they are anchoring with a link. Navigation design must provide buttons which are intuitively understood by means of their text, icon or graphic representation. This is to refrain the confusing of viewer.
Designing the user interface
The user interface of a multimedia project is a combination of the graphical elements with its navigation system. The multimedia users can be come from a broad range of community which including those who are computer literate and those who are not. Hence, the ideal user interface that will satisfy all these range of users is modal interface. The modal interface enables the viewer to make changes to the current approach of the whole interface by simply clicking a Novice/Expert button. It can be changed to be either more or less detailed or complex. However, modal interface is not the most ideal one as it tends to confuse the user. So, the best multimedia project is those with plenty of navigational power, simple and easy-handling interface, as well as content-accessible for users at all levels.
An excellent computer screen designing is not an easy job as it needs a special set of fine art skills. Some graphical approaches should be emphasized in order to achieve a fine work.
Graphical approaches that work:
Graphical approaches to avoid:
Neatly executed contrasts (big/small, thick/thin)
Plenty of "non-information areas" (white space)
Eye-grabbers (single brightly colored object)
Clashes of color
Too much stuff in screen
Too many words and numbers
Too many substantive elements presented too quickly
PRODUCING A MULTIMEDIA PROJECT
Production is the phase when a multimedia project is actually rendered. This is a crucial step and it has to be managed prudently. Hence, a managed time-accounting system for everyone who works on a project must be set up for tracking each individual task. Before a multimedia project is started, the development of hardware and software has to be checked. In addition, the organizational and administrative setup has also need to be reviewed. This can help in avoiding the emergence of any sudden case.
Working with clients
Making multimedia for clients is a special case. It is very important to establish an environment at where the communication between the client and people is in good way. The client review process must be under controlled so as to prevent the endless of feedback loops. Some scheme and mechanism have to be developed when working with clients such as scheme to record the number and duration of client approval cycles and mechanism for orders changing.
Data storage media and transportation
There is a necessity to set up a matching data transfer system and media to give convenience for client to review the work. Access to the internet at high bandwidth is a preferable way because it allows the project to be transported to distant clients in a few minutes. However, the most cost effective and time saving method are CD-R and DVD-ROMs.
Tracking and copyrighting
It is essential to track the receipt of material which incorporated into the multimedia project in an organized way. A file naming convention specific to the projectââ‚¬â„¢s structure has also need to be developed. Copyright issue is critically important and thus has to be handled carefully. A copyright statement must be inserted that legally designate the code as the creatorââ‚¬â„¢s intellectual property.