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Component 3B: Case Study

posted Jul 2, 2009, 3:50 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jul 2, 2009, 3:21 PM by Eddie Woo ]
Research three comparable multimedia systems (e.g. websites, television broadcasts, radio programs etc. that align with the chosen genre of your multimedia system) that are professionally produced and designed, and write a case study of how each uses its particular medium effectively. 

Due to complications with finding sites that used flash and educated students about Geography, the following case studies are relevant to one part of my entire multimedia mini-assignment.

Educational Website

This website particularly addresses a younger audience. It is much more extensive than my assignment, however, by focusing on one section it is possible to already examine the advantages of the media types they use.
Altogether, the use of web pages for this type of multimedia system is effective because big amounts information have been organised into individual sections. Within each section are more sections which allows users to find what they want and read at their own pace. The addition of graphics makes the site also more appealing to the targetted audience. The capabilities of websites which they have utilised effectively are expanded on in what follows.
On the homepage, rather than use hypertext, images have been used instead. This allows users to see at a glance what each topic is about as well as adding visual appeal to the whole site.
Delving further into, say the climate change section, other media types are evident. Main navigation links still use images that also change upon a mouseover. This would allow the main navigation to stand out and be visually separated.
They have used a lot of text to explain much of their content. This is good use because as an educational site, users need to be able to read at their own pace and skip content to find what they need.
Many instances of hypertext are also evident. Due to the fact that when teaching a topic, many terms and concept are also related to other sections, hypertext would be a powerful tool in this case for readers to navigate to relevant pages to learn more or to get a better understanding of the current page they are at - in this case, to definitions, allowing users to quickly understand the topic without having to waste time and find information from another source.
Other links on the site also include animations and games. Animations, although useful to show processes, are not part of this project while games, though they can incorporate all media types, require skill and time to create. Therefore these parts of the site will not be examined further.

Educational Video

This is a video concentrating on beach erosion. It incorporates video clips as well as images for things  like maps. There is a voice over (added audio) which helps to explain concepts in the topic. The video also incorporates minimal amount of text.
With video, it is easy and enjoyable to witness the movement of the ocean and the impacts of disasters (e.g. the hurricane). The imprint upon viewers is much clearer this way. Sometimes ambient sounds of the beach can be heard, making the experience more real. It also allows audiences to get a bigger picture smoothly and quickly as the camera is able to pan across a particular area from normally impossible heights and perspectives.  These scenes rapidly change which always attracts the attention of the viewer along with transition effects.
The voiceover (audio) used a casual, friendly tone and avoided much jargon. Because audiences would be concentrating on the visual parts of the video, it doesn't clutter up with the clips and images and delivers it so that the eyes and ears share the job. Explainations are short but to the point so does not become boring. The voice is also then able to deliver emotions and tones (e.g. rhetorical questions, emphasis on particular words). Another part which contributes to this is music and sounds that also contribute to the atmosphere. Sometimes, jumpy fun music can be heard, other times music that hints impending doom can be heard which corresponds to what is being shown - i.e. interesting/funny and dangerous/serious respectively.
The only time images are used are for maps and once for a diagram of the beach. This allows viewers to see the general location of the place concentrated on in a quick and simply way. A label for the location is basically the only time text is used, allowing viewers to see the name if they can't hear it properly. Even so, it is in a comic-like font to keep the atmosphere still casual and relaxed which means information is absorbed easily.
At the end, is a hyperlink to a related site, Cosmeo, a homework help tool powered by Discovery Learning who provided the video. It is particularly useful if the viewer is doing research and needs additional resources quickly.

Photo Gallery

I will be having a photo gallery because I've collected many photos from the Long Reef/Collaroy excursion. National Geographic's collection of photos are obviously much more extensive than mine, however I will also concentrate on how the photos are presented to users.
Different collections are actually displayed using different things. Some are links to new pages while others use flash. Since I am using flash, I will concentrate on one of their flash galleries here.
The above gallery is effective because the photos are large and clear. They also use smaller images as previews with a simpler navigation so that users can click and see more detail. This way, photos don't clutter the area and users can view only the photos which they wish to. This may be how I will present my excursion photos.
The text captions at the bottom are short and succinct, only giving details of where, what is happening and/or a sentence for an interesting related fact. This allows users to understand what the images are showing effectively without the text dominating the photo.
Because they use flash, as opposed to new web pages for every picture, the images are able to load faster and transition is smoother, making it much more comfortable to use.