Multimedia Designs 101 What is Multimedia? Multimedia Designs are projects that have been created / developed by combining several different types of media elements to communicate a concept or deliver information. Web sites, training material on CDs, and on-line e-learning tutorials are all examples of a multimedia design. A multitude of media elements are used in multimedia designs to provide the user an interactive experience that go beyond simply reading displayed text. Common elements include graphics, sound, streaming video, animation, dynamically displayed pages, and responsive web forms. In web development these elements are often referred to as assets or simply multimedia elements. Multimedia Designs are used to present an idea, concept, information, or specialized training material. Multimedia Designs can be created just for fun or added to a website to create an advanced functionality. E-learning tutorials are also called multimedia designs and often include interactive training pieces and simulations. These design methods provide a brief assessment of the acquired and retained knowledge of the presented material. The delivery of e-learning material placed on a web site enables the producers to reduce the cost of their first production as well as provide users up-to-date material without expensive re-distribution expenses. Multimedia Designs are created with the goal of eliminating communication barriers by combining familiar objects with new material. Using different types of media increases an individual's opportunity to learn by allowing the user to associate the known with the unknown. Audience participation is achieved by encouraging interaction and providing feedback to the user. These combined methods assist in the learning process and help the audience to arrive at an internalized interpretation of your multimedia design. Multimedia Design Styles Multimedia presentations are developed using different design styles, either linear, non-linear or options for both. Linear multimedia content is presented in a page by page order where users must complete a subject or scene in a specific order, whereas a non-linear multimedia presentation allows the users to jump around in any order they choose. The delivery method of a Multimedia Design is decided in the planning stages of the project where the Multimedia Developer attempts to determine the best method based on the targeted audience of the material being presented. Learning Styles There are several learning styles in which people use to understand new material. Understanding these various learning styles can help you design the presentation of your material in a way that reaches a larger audience. In most cases your project will contain text; and for some people reading information is all they need to do in order to grasp a concept or learn a new subject. However other people learn better by hearing a presentation. These people are referred to as auditory learners. Then there are yet other people who are visual learners and prefer to "see it" explained. Visual learners often think in images and recalling an image can spark a vast level of previously learned material. Research has shown that the retention level of new material is higher if a subject is presented using a Multimedia Design that provides the user with an innovative interactive experience. So if you want to reach a larger audience and create a high level of retention of the material you present, don't just tell them about something, don't just show them data, get your user involved in the material being delivered by providing dynamic content they can interact with! Target Audience The most important thing to remember when deciding which multimedia elements to include in your multimedia project or interactive web site is to consider your audience! A clear example would be if you are creating a personal web site, (similar to those you find on "myspace") it is acceptable to have a very "busy" full graphic background with music from your favorite band blaring in the background as soon as a page loads. But on a professional website both of these elements would be a total taboo (in most cases). If your targeted audience is children you might want to include a lot of elementary level graphics and use a web theme that displays content in primary colors whereas if your targeted audience is professional Architect Engineers you could offer a more professionally designed web site that includes downloadable CAD drawings or SPECS in PDF format. With the multitude of technologies available there are endless possibilities for the elements you can include in your Multimedia Designs. Just be sure to include images relative to the content you are providing and items your audience is familiar with. Multimedia Website Multimedia Designs.NET is an informational web site that consists of technical information often needed during the web development process. The goal of this website is to educate through explainations and interactive examples, provide resources and recommendations, and promote creativity and enthusiasm in the multimedia design process. Beginner Web Designers and Web Developers can use this site as a quick reference to review CODE syntax with available examples and then copy/paste the code snippet into their own project.