As most people are aware, mass media can be used as a vehicle for both social change AND for maintaining the status quo. Mass media is any method of communication that reaches large groups of people quickly and effectively, thus many means of communication can be considered “mass media”. Television, radio, print media (magazines, newspapers, journals, pamphlets, flyers, books, letters, etc.), the world wide web, email, chat rooms, advertising, marketing, publicity, photography, documentaries, video, – even theatre, movies, songs, dance, art, storytelling, and so on can all be categorized as media that can be used as a medium for social change. The central criteria is that any of these mediums can be used to get messages out to thousands, even millions of people.
One of the key distinctions of mass media is that it can affect people's perceptions of social norms. The media play a significant role in forming and influencing people's attitudes and behaviour. Media has a central role in mediating information and forming public opinion. The media casts an eye on events that few people directly experience and renders remote happenings observable and meaningful.
We follow general rules of thumb for planning media campaigns and producing multimedia for health, education, and accurate information. We follow recommended steps to attain media coverage standards:
People can learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone. In a nutshell, what you want to achieve by getting your message up in the media is to:
Multimedia user interfaces combine different media such as text, graphics, sound, and video to present information. We also follow the tenets of general effective multimedia design, including:
- set an agenda
- get people thinking
- stimulate debate & interest
- soften the ground
- provoke interest
- put decision makers 'on notice'
- SIMPLICITY - Although gaining attention is an important part of any communication act, it is important to try to keep your message as simple as possible
- CONSISTENCY - inconsistencies force people to spend extra time trying to figure out how to navigate, or where to find the answers to questions they have - it increases cognitive overhead
- CLARITY - Pare the message down to the absolute essentials the learner needs to know. Avoid jargon and overly-scholarly language, unless appropriate to your audience.
- BALANCE - is the ability to arrange all the elements so that no one part is overpowering. Formal balance is symmetrical, with the items on one side of the screen being similar in shape, size and color to the items on the other side of the screen. Formal balance is usually much easier to design. Informal balance is usually asymmetrical, with several smaller items on one side being balanced by a large item on the other side, or smaller items being placed further away from the center of the screen than larger items. For instance, one darker item may need to be balanced by several lighter items.
- HARMONY AND UNITY - is the blending of elements to create a more pleasing and integrated appearance. To create harmony and unity, you must design a project using consistency and repetition.
- EMPHASIS - is the ability to attract attention and make an element stand out. If you want to grab the viewer's attention and keep them at your web site, then an intriguing or flashy image on the first page will do the trick.
- MOVEMENT - is the way the viewer's eye is guided through a piece of art or a method of sensing action. In a web page movement helps guide the viewer from the top to the bottom of a page or from one page to another.
- RHYTHM - is the repetition of elements that helps add balance and harmony to the whole. If a web page has repeated colors and layouts, repeated content links, backgrounds, and icons, then it has rhythm and consistency
- CONTRAST AND VARIETY - is the added interest by making changes in the elements. For instance a project may have predominantly warm colors, but then have a cool colored title to grab attention. Or a screen may be arranged in vertical bars interrupted by one horizontal bold band of text. Graphics with different shapes and sizes have more variety and interest then graphics in rectangular shapes. On the other hand rectangular shapes have a formal and organized appeal.
Research about animations or motion in instructional materials states:
- animation (motion) can lead to positive learning effects if it is a critical attribute of the concept(s) being presented
- animation (motion) can increase learning of a complex procedural task
- motion or action used primarily to enhance the realism of the presentation does not appear to have a significant effect on learning
Appropriate uses for animation include:
- Showing continuity in transitions - When something has two or more states, then changes between states will be much easier for users to understand if the transitions are animated instead of being instantaneous - ie proving the Pythagorean theorem by animating the movement of various squares and triangles as they move around to demonstrate that two areas are the same size
- Indicating dimensionality in transitions - animated arrows pointing left and right can indicate movement forward and back, zooming boxes can indicate one screen was enlarged from another
- Illustrating change over time - showing population change by fading from one density map to the next over time
- Multiplexing the display - showing more than one piece of information in the same location - ie, buttons which change color when the mouse rolls over them, help labels which appear when the cursor is on top, menus which pull down when you hold the mouse down
- Enriching graphical representations - animated icons can give a better understanding of the function of the icon - ie. an eraser icon which erases pixels to explain its function. Moving images focus attention. A study by Reeves and Nass using an EEG to measure brain waves showed that attention increased every time motion appeared on the screen.
We can attend to all of your multimedia design needs. Multimedia is one of the best ways to attract attention, get a message across, and augment learning. Common tasks accomplished by multimedia include:
- Overviews of Topics and Announcements
- Introduction of a Topic or Educational Subject
- Augmentation of Text Learning Materials
- Advertising a Product or Service
- Self-Directed Learning
- E-health applications
- Discharge Planning Content
- Health Care Professional Education and Workshops
- Exams and Test Reviews
- Research Presentations
- Technology Demonstrations
- Equipment and Procedure Review
- Technique Reviews and Demonstrations
A variety of Multimedia software can be used to create your Project including Adobe Flash, Captivate 3, and Photoshop, Swish Max, Microsoft Powerpoint and Windows Movie Maker, Digital Slide Shows, CamStudio, Terragen, and RealProducer.
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