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Interactive Multimedia Discussion

Multimedia OverviewDevelopment ToolsNavigationDeliveryThe Cutting Edge

Multimedia Overview
Interactive, rich multimedia development involves the process of organizing content into creative interactions for presentation in a variety of content forms on diverse delivery platforms. Often involving animation and object interactions, a multimedia designer will create dynamic content delivered as unique experiences on computers, tablets, televisions, and smart phones. A seasoned multimedia designer can also effectively leverage multimedia as part of a live performance. The term “rich media” is synonymous with interactive multimedia.

In contrast with text-only or traditional print materials, multimedia design includes a combination of content delivered in a variety of different forms. Examples of the application of state-of-the-art multimedia content include:

Entertaining Educational Content
  • Live Presentations (speeches, webinars, lectures)

  • Game Shows (corporate, studio, workshops)

  • Prototyping (digital, interactive)

  • Application/App Development (PC, Mac, iOS, Android)

  • Interactive Animations (story-telling, persuasive graphic design)

  • Simulations (environments, 2D and 3D, research, data visualization)

  • eLearning Programs (online and blended training)

  • Product Configurators (customizable product options and upgrades)

  • Customized Touch-Screen Kiosks

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Best Tools for DevelopmentDevelopment Tools
Good authoring tools provide a multimedia designer with robust environments for creating rich, interactive games, product demonstrations, prototypes, simulations, and eLearning courses for the web, desktops, mobile devices, DVDs, CDs, kiosks, and other multimedia development efforts. Traditional multimedia developer environments include the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh platforms, with most software tools available cross-platform.

Displayed in either linear or non-linear formats, the work of a multimedia designer can combine a wide variety of content, including bitmap images, vector artwork, audio, video, animation, native 3D, and text/hypertext. The presenter, audience responses, or the studio crew control how and when these content elements appear, where they move, how they trigger sound (or other events), and the interactions they have with each other, the presenter, the audience, and your data.

Here are some basic tools for developers to consider leveraging in for interactive development:

While there is overlap in the capabilities of some of these programs, application of the core strengths of these tools should be considered by developers as rough guidelines for selecting software to use for interactive development.

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Linear and Non-Linear Naviation

As previously stated, multimedia can be roughly split up into linear and non-linear categories. Linear navigation guides audiences through content from start to finish without deviation, often without any navigational controls at all. Examples of linear multimedia can be seen in trade show booths, on video walls, or in video presentations. Non-linear navigation uses interactivity and audience decisioning to advance progress, for example, controlling the pace and path of a live presentation, interactions within a video game, or self-paced computer-based training. Links on web pages are another example of simple, non-linear navigation.

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Multimedia presentations can be delivered live, pre-recorded, or a combination of both. Needing no presenter, developer authored multimedia delivers interactivity directly to the audience through a pre-designed graphic user interface (GUI). Live multimedia productions require developers to creatively weave interactivity and animation with presenter interaction to create even more impactful and memorable presentations. Consider the following methods of delivery:

Streaming multimedia presentations may also be delivered by developers as live or on-demand. Remote monitoring, application maintenance, and performance metrics allow upkeep, management, operational evaluation, and return-on-investment analysis.

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Dynamic Touchscreen Content
The Cutting Edge
Quality digital multimedia is designed to enhance the audience’s experience, making it faster and easier to communicate intelligence. To further embellish content and deliver rich, interactive experiences, designers integrate creative media with advanced content types, including 3D renderings, real-world dynamic motion, and sophisticated interactivity between 2D and 3D elements. Enhanced levels of interactivity are achieved when developers creatively combine multiple types of media content.

Live multimedia games, prototypes, and simulations can be designed with triggers for navigation and special effects, or tied to an offline computer (or other external controller). This integration provides director/producer controls for queuing and forwarding the media throughout the presentation.

More sophisticated multimedia is increasingly becoming object-oriented and data-driven, enabling collaboration directly with the audience. For example, designers can create photo galleries providing audience-selected and uploaded images and titles, or simulations whose navigation, illustrations, animations or videos are modifiable, allow the multimedia “experience” to be customized without any reprogramming. In addition to seeing and hearing content, “haptic” technology enables virtual objects to be felt by the audience in the form of small vibrations or movement. Other emerging technologies developers can leverage involve taste and smell and may further enhance future multimedia experiences.

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Key Advantages of Interactive Multimedia

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