Working for a client (Liverpool tourist board/teacher) was to me a so called stepping stone, in the theme of increasing my skills within technology and building high quality pieces of work and products. Before designing and conducting the process of creating products, I had to have a clear mindset of what I had to conduct within the project for the Liverpool tourist board.
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From the beginning of the project the client clearly stated what was expected of myself and what was expected within the multimedia products. Before I had conducted the project the client displayed examples of multimedia products similar to what they expected from myself. Within displaying these similar products the client stated what features form that product they would like in the one I would have to produce. As well as features within the demo products, I was told to also indulge the software I would be using an to include high spec features that would engage the user and increase the products capabilities.
In the case that I did not have a client to guide me, the designing and creating of the product may have been easier. The reason for this is that while being guided by a client you as the creator must be given a time limit and schedule. This time restriction means that the quality and detail of your product may not be as good as it could have been under no restrictions. But this is just a theory.
As previously stated before conducting the project I had a clear mindset on what I wanted to achieve within the timescale I had been given. From my own point of view I would use a similar approach if I had to conduct the project again. The approach I had used form my own point of view was very sophisticated, before starting the project I had a scheduled a time table based within the spreadsheet processor called ‘Microsoft Excel’. This scheduler led me onto the right path in the sense that I had to make clear deadlines for certain products.
Evaluating other products
Before I conducted the project it was clear that I would have to indulge other multimedia products by analysing them, and taking ideas and extending them within my project.
It was clear to me that it would be useful to analyse other multimedia products, but the whole point in conducting this is to extract certain points that would give me a certain building block to start my project. From conducting this I had inherited points such as how to structure a multimedia product, the use of navigation within a product, and finally the use of interactivity within the product. All of these basic ideas I had to take on board and inherit as building blocks.
Within the two products I had evaluated and depicted, both of them were of high multimedia and interactive quality. It was also clear that both products had their faults, for example ‘too much text within a certain area, creating a confusing state’. From my own point of view the not useful parts of the products were in a sense also helpful mainly because I could state within my mind what I should not include and what would defect my product.
As soon as I begun my evaluating of the multimedia products I was clear that the products used some high spec themes within their products. For example within one of the products based upon education the use of a video files was clear, this to me gave the use r a clear starting block in the sense that the user would have basic information on what the products section was trying to convey. Along with the use of video, text would also be used to illustrate the video and to give extra informative information.
In the future there would be a number of points I would consider in enhancing my capabilities in the theme of evaluation. Firstly to allow an overall average outlook, I would maybe evaluate a wider range of products. This would give me more ideas and also points on what not to include within my product. This process may take longer but would clearly give me more of a view of the range of multimedia products that could influence me.
Within evaluating products I could have found and researched products that were more similar to what the client wanted me to produce. To do this I maybe should have researched more thoroughly within books, the internet etc. The one main draw back with finding more closely linked products to the one I had to create is that the time I had to conduct this project was not giving me enough time to conduct this thought or aim.
Multimedia Product planning
As I was not working with a real client and being given a brief instead, it made it much easier to come up with the design specification because I had more creative freedom. When deciding on the theme of my product, I decided to go with my very first idea of calling it ‘The Liverpool Way’; this to me gave myself the thought of the City itself and all of its cultural objects. The title from my own point of view also gave myself and maybe the user a sense or the theme that Liverpool itself has everything that is needed for a cultural capital. The Homepage for example contains various images of cultural monuments and people within the city that create the basic theme.
When choosing a theme for my product, I could have set aside a certain amount of time and tried to think of a list of ideas that I could choose from, and in hindsight, I probably could have come up with a range of good ideas, but I feel completely satisfied with my selection of theme for my product.
The selection of what pages would be in the product was a very important stage in the production of the product. It was vital that I kept to the brief that I was given when it came to the selection of pages within this product. In total there are 24 contents pages within my product, which includes an interface page.
The pages are:
How to get to Liverpool: pages within section: ‘maps’ & ‘transport’
Music of Liverpool: pages within section: ‘The Beatles’ & ‘The Beatles two’
Football: pages within section: ‘Liverpool FC’ & ‘Everton FC’
Museums: pages within section: ‘slavery museum’ & ‘Walker art Gallery’
Religion: pages within section: ‘Anglican cathedral’ & ‘Metropolitan cathedral’
Quiz introduction: pages with sections: ‘Quiz1’, ‘Quiz2’, ‘Quiz3’, ‘Quiz4’, ‘and Quiz result ‘,’ Video resource’.
Once I had decided on what pages would appear on the product, I could just allow ideas to enter my head about what could be on each page – I did not need to decide what would be on the pages until later on. Due to there not being a real client, I showed my teacher the pages that I had specified to be in the product, and they were happy with my selections.
The basis of my designs were conducted from a clear mindset consisting of many factors. Firstly I had to concern the audience, and what effect I wanted to put upon them. My designs were all based upon an open audience; this meant that my design would cover a region consisting of all ages and gender. Another factor was that my designs had to be eye catching; this meant that the audience had to be intrigued by the first look at the products. To do this I included many high quality aspects in all of the products, these were such objects as video files, sound files, audio controllers, video controllers and integrated web browsers.
The designs I had conducted were from my own point of view made to a high grade standard. Within all of the designs I had included different outlooks. But within my final choice design three was the design which had the most potential of once being created would flourish into a fully, interactive product for use for any age. Design three consists of a clear basis which includes sensible colour and outlook, video files, sound files and edited sound files etc. The design is also made in such a way that the user can easily move around the product without any problem. In some situations if the user has a problem the page will consist of a small piece of text which explains what is needed.
When starting the design I had to choose and design a basic theme, the theme had to be eye catching, when the user looked at the basic outlook, they should be startled and would be engaged as soon as they looked at the product.
The designs themselves were set out in an accurate and clear way so it was easier for me to produce the actual product. For the design process I had included dimensions for the objects within the pages, this allowed the product to be made accurately, using the design and its details. These added dimensions included the height, width, X & Y.
If I was to complete the design process in the future, I would probably change the way that I had designed my interface page on the final design, this is because I feel that I could have offered more options to the user, in the sense that more navigational aspects could have been added to allow the user to navigate around the pages in the product. This would make it much easier for the user and maybe less confusing.
In the sense of improving my hand drawn designs, I could be said that they could be improved but only in the sense that I included further details, but from my own point of view I had included all details that were needed to create the product to the highest level.
When the client/teacher looked and analysed my designs they were enthusiastically impressed on the amount of detail I had added, and how I had accurately set out the objects upon the mathematical resource paper I had used. They were also impressed with my use of dimensions, which gave me more of an accurate outlook.
Hierarchy / Structure
When designing my product, it was important that I designed a hierarchical structure for my product. As I had previously in my previous evaluation for the final design stated what my structure was like, ‘For this task I have to plan my multimedia product. I first created three very different set of designs, that each had its own basic structure. Within design three the structure used was a hierarchical structure. This hierarchical structure gave my design 5 main aspects, which were:
Resources grouped into logical sections
Main group title first and then subsequent units below.
As user moves to a specific resource will move from main to sub sections
Choice limited and may need to retrace steps
May need a back button
These aspects gave the design its own sense of identity, and gave the design a so called flow to expand its detail.’
The main point in planning a hierarchy when implementing my product was to give the product a clear structure in the logic of navigation mainly. What I mean by this is that the structure it’s self whether hierarchical or linear is based around the navigation and how the user will interact with the product. Overall the use of structure was very helpful because it gave me a basis to build upon, a so called building block.
From my own point of view the hierarchical structure was detailed enough. Within the basic structure design I had included full details, such as, headings, sub headings and clear navigational arrows.
Bad points about my structures were that they could have been made in an easier manner or outlook. By this I mean that they could have been made in more of a simplistic way, easier to use for creating the product.
When I had finalised the structures, to make sure they were designed to a good level I showed them to my client/teacher, so they could analyse the content. The reaction I was given was that of great surprise that I had completed the structures with great detail and outlook.
In an interactive multimedia product, it is vital to have interesting interactive features. The features I decided to include were:
Music/Sound clip (songs relating to a certain pages, for example, football section).
Video files: for example ‘slavery introducing video’ and ‘video resource section’.
HTML USE: The use of web browser and clocks within pages of the product. Within this user text input is accepted.
Images: Certain images have been given different designs/outlooks, and some have also been given hyperlinks and certain events. For example, certain images within the transport page are hyperlinked to pages based upon transport. Within the Football section for example the images pause and play a sound clip within the page.
Animations: These were placed on items such as the certain buttons and images to make the page more interesting or exciting for the user.
Interactive Drag-and-Drop Quiz
These interactive features are very good from my own point of view because they add an extra dimension to the product with regard to its quality.
All the interactivity is created in the Events dialog box. For example, to jump from one page to the next, simply drag and drop the appropriate icons, i.e. Mouse Click and Go to Page. You can play back sound and video, show and hide objects create hyperlinks, hypertext, transitions and animations the same way.
On my interactive quiz, I intend for the user to interact with a drag and drop exercise. This will involve a question based upon the page, with 3 answers to choose from on the page. Once the user has chosen an answer they must drag their answer to a frame at the bottom of the page, this is called the target area. Once they have done this there page will automatically close and the next question will be visible. Once the whole of the quiz has been conducted a result page will appear which will allow the user to click a link button called ‘result’ which will give them their quiz score, this is the scoring used. This is similarly used in the other designs as well.
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The animation I intend to have on my product will be between pages, or while a page opens /introduction. This animation will vary within different types, for example: the drain animation or stormy etc. These introducing animations will be based upon all pages within the product; this from my own point of view creates a different look to each page.
From my own point of view my product will be educational, in the way that the user will be engaged in the history and cultural information that is distributed. Within this design I wanted to give the user ‘something to play for or strive’ within the product. By giving the user a chance to score correct answers, out of a total of 4, they are going to want to do well. If they do not get 100% they will want to strive for that next time they take it. It will be a motivational tool and also a sense of entertainment for the user.
In this third design for example, I decided that I would use basic customized buttons (with no added text). These added buttons would lead to the next page and will be within every page and also the previous page buttons will also be on every page. To use these buttons accurately the user will need to click the linked button how many times it is needed to get to the page they need to. To make it easier for the user each button contains an arrow for the direction, for example < previous & next>.
On each page within the document linked buttons with text are situated within a top bar. These buttons have titles such as ‘homepage’, ‘introduction’, ‘Football’. These pages for example I have mentioned have links to the main sub page on this theme.
From my own point of view the navigational system I have produced is easy to use mainly because the buttons used are separated into their own areas in which they are easily accessible. Also the way I have set up the navigation will from my own point of view engage the user.
The navigational system within the product I have used was to me of a good standard mainly because the buttons for example were clearly named if needed and the buttons themselves were based in certain positions that the user could easily access them with no trouble.
From my own point of view I think that I had made the right choice of using buttons for the navigational pattern. The reason I used buttons/icons was mainly because they are basically the easiest objects to use for a navigational pattern. In a certain sense I did use images as navigational tools, this is because some certain images were hyperlinked to web pages for example.
From certain users using the navigational pattern within my product, they were certainly pleased with how easy it was to go to the pages they desired easily, with no real problems.
If I had had more time and was able to improve the navigation within the product, there would be one main point I would consider to obtain. This would be to maybe highlight the buttons, so the user can clearly identify the buttons without difficulty.
In the future I would plan/ design the navigation in a way that would maybe create more of a high quality and accessibility, for the user. I would maybe take longer on designing the buttons to create a better outlook, and create more sophisticated hyperlinks.
Design and layout
The designing and planning of my interface pages were from my own point of view produced to a high standard. By this I mean that I had created the pages especially for, the user to navigate easily throughout the pages and so the user would be invited into the product, with what the product would be about.
If I conducted the designing of the interface pages in the future I would maybe add more sophisticated objects within the design. For example maybe more of an interactive feel within the interface page, similar to the quiz I had included within the product.
From speaking to my client/teacher, asking them to analyse my interface designs they told me that the designs themselves were of a high quality & the designs themselves had the objects within the pages measured to the correct terms.
The content that has been added within the whole project from my own point of view was of a very high quality. But within this content I had to use certain fonts, font colours etc. Mainly within my product I had used the basic font outlooks of Arial for example and the colours used were mainly white for titles and red for informative text. The reason for using these colours was to create a contrast upon the products pages, which would indulge and catch the eye of the user.
Within the document itself I did use such things like the use of bold to highlight such things like sub headings and titles. Moving on and in the theme of the size I had use a varied amount of sizes within the product. For example for titles I had use the size 16 on occasions and for basic text I had used size 12 for example. The users themselves thought that I had highlighted important information by using such things as the use of BOLD and colour highlight in some instances.