A comprehensive multimedia design process helps designers and their clients create educational and informational presentations using a variety of media. Multimedia designers may work for education companies, television production companies, advertising agencies and other media production companies. They aim to make presentations that reach their clients' objectives following a process that involves research, media selection, prototyping, user feedback and implementation.
Client Input and Research
Multimedia design starts with client input, which should include the project objectives, content elements, target audience, overall budget and presentation ideas. The designer gathers information about the audience's habits, abilities and needs to create an average user profile. Review of the tasks and information required in the presentation assists the designer in creating a task information model that illustrates the steps involved in completing the presentation's mission.
Analysis of the purpose (educational or entertainment), end users (children, adults, disabled) and presentation environment (indoors, outdoors, quiet, loud) help designers determine the appropriate types of media to use in the multimedia presentation. By using varied media that is accurately targeted toward users' abilities, multimedia designers can also offer solid learning opportunities that result in better retention of the information presented. For example, multimedia presentations for the blind could use media that allows for touch, smell, sound and even taste to aid in the learning process. Multimedia presentation types include CDs, DVDs, learning software, video games, websites and interactive displays.
Strategy and Development
The chosen media establishes the strategies a multimedia designer can employ within the presentation. One-way media, such as videos, allow users to absorb the information offered without input from them. Interactive media, including websites and software programs, permit users to be actively involved in the presentation. During the development stage, multimedia designers draft a script, explore design solutions and present the options to the client for revision.
Design and Testing
Prototype design begins after the client approves all content and presentation decisions. Most multimedia design presentations use specialty computer software (including Adobe design products, Microsoft PowerPoint and Avid video editing software). The multimedia designer creates and tests the entire presentation using at least one target audience member. Evaluation should check for retention of information, ease of navigation and attainment of the project objectives.
After assessment and final client approval, the multimedia design project implementation begins. In the case of consumable media, such as CDs or DVDs, the project files must be shipped to the manufacturer. One-off multimedia displays, such as information kiosks or museum displays, may be developed directly by the multimedia designer using the initial prototype. Clients may require continued evaluation of the multimedia presentation's performance to allow for future changes to the program.
- Photo Credit business woman in head-phones image by Julija Sapic from Fotolia.com
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