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Multimedia:  Some Thoughts

Text—Some Vocabulary

Typeface—family of graphic characters

Style—attributes of the font (bold, italic)

Size—in points (1 point=1/72 of an inch)

Leading—line spacing (pronounced ledding—can be adjusted in paragraph menu)

Kerning—spacing between character pairs

Tracking—spacing between characters

Rasterize—when computer draws the letter representation on the screen using tiny square pixels or dots

Serif vs. Sans Serif

Types mechanical and historical properties

Sans—French for without

Serif fonts—body text

Sans serif fonts—headlines and bold statements

Serif—little decoration at the end of a letter stroke

T              Tahoma

T        Comic Sans MS

Computer Screen

Lengthy text document may require hundreds of lines.

Rule of Thumb: make you Web pages no longer than 1 ˝ to two screens of text.

Standard pages are 600 pixels—to get on one screen make your page 400 pixels high—no scrolling required.

Create separate link to complete document, ready for printing.

Tips for Text

Be legible

Use as few different faces as possible in the same work\

Adjust leading to create pleasing look (lines too tight are hard to read)

Vary size of font depending on importance of message

Adjust kerning especially in titles

Use colors of text and backgrounds to vary impact of text

Use anti-aliased text where want gentle look (blends the edges)

DropCaps and InitialCaps can accent work

Centered text blocks—beware the number of lines—keep to a minimum

For attention-grabbing results, try graphically altering and distorting the text (wrap around a sphere, bend into a wave, splash in rainbow colors, etc.)

Experiment with dropped shadows

Use White Space. Surround headlines and important points with white space

Check with others—learn to accept criticism

Make link phrases meaningful

Use text links to accent your page (watch colors and be consistent)

Use bold and emphasis be be careful that your links and bold text don’t look the same

For web, but vital text elements and menus in the top 320 pixels (only 10% of surfers scroll down a page)


Place on every page a main menu of links

Avoid using more than a few BACKS or RETURNS (frustrating to users and discourages exploration)

Be sure to label buttons when used for navigation

Portrait vs. Landscape

Note that while the printed page is portrait (taller than wide) the computer screen is landscape (wider than tall)

So…a page of print will NOT fit on a computer screen


Put text in a scrolling field

Put text into a single field or graphic image (textbox) and let the user move the whole window up or down

Break the text into fields that fit on a monitor sized page

Managing Fonts

Just because you have it does not mean all computers have it

Choose commonly installed fonts if you want your page to "look" the same in most machines

All platforms have "default" fonts that are substituted. Check out the look of your project with the default!

In the beginning of the web…

Sound files were sent in .au format

Internet Explorer will recognize .au, .wav, and MIDI sound files

Netscape allows .aiff, .mid, .wav, and .au formats

Streaming audio is provided by LiveAudio, RealAudio, etc. plug-ins

HTML tags for Sound

Automatically launch a background sound by using the <EMBED> tag

<EMBED SRC="musicfilename.mid" height=2 width=0 autostart=true>

This plays music as soon as the page opens

You can display a controller by specifying a specific height and width in the tag

<EMBED SRC="musicfilename.mid" height=50 width=200 autostart=false></embed>

This command lets the user control the music

Sound is…

Most sensuous element of multimedia

Music, sound effects, speech

How you use it can make or break your multimedia presentation

Good use enhances

Misuse can wreck your project

MIDI vs. MP3

MIDI files are compact and very small in comparison to Real Audio

MIDI embed and load quickly

MIDI data are easily edited

MIDI is data not actual sound so you can’t control the accuracy of the playback

Cannot playback spoken dialog easily

Digital Audio

Digitized sound is sampled sound (every x seconds a sound is taken and stored as digital information in bits and bytes) the more frequent the sampling the larger the file

File size vs. quality

The higher the sound quality the larger the file will be

Adding Sound

Decide what kind of sound is needed

Decide where the sound will fit in the project

Decide what kind of sound you want to use

Acquire the source materials (sounds)

Edit to fit your project

Text the sound and time them properly


Watch the size of the image vs. the time it takes to load it

Low Resolution load

To speed load make two files, compact black and white and full color image. Use Netscape's <lowsrc> attribute for the <img> tag to load the black and white picture first. Netscape then layers the color graphic over the black and white graphic.

Thumbnail—create a thumbnail image to minimize the load time but still provide the user with the full size graphic to see if desired.

File formats

While many different file formats for images exist, JPEG and GIF are the most common bitmap formats

All browsers display them


Catches the eye and makes things noticeable

Becomes trite if overused

Use carefully and sparingly


Carefully planned well executed video clips can make dramatic impact

Clip of a person giving a sound bite of a speech is much more effective than the text of the speech

Video use depends on the availability of the clip and the size of the file (.MPEG)

The Packaging

You have many options for designing the look and feel of your project

Reality is that people DO make quick judgments—about two seconds

Be sure that the first page or cover of your project is first class

Plain (clear fonts, not too many)

Simple (don’t worry about plastic covers)


Owning a copy of a work does not entitle you to reproduce the work

Using a painting, soundtrack, book excerpt must have permission

Rights have to be licensed

Do not include any images or voices of people unless you have their written consent to use it

What’s in My PowerPoint?

Clear straightforward table of contents (navigation map) for you project

Executive summary (brief description of what is in you project)

Target Audience (brief description of who your project is for and why)

Creative Strategy( description of the look and feel of your project)

Layout--How it is organized and how and what you used to create it

Cost—what things do you have to have to do this project

Detail the things that you are especially proud of and want to showcase in your project

Briefly note what you learned in the process of completing the project!


This page was updated on:  04/10/02