Making Multimedia Work For Developers

Adrian Mallon, Senior Research Fellow in Multimedia, ISC

Developing multimedia is one of the major growth areas of the last five years but making it work for us remains a considerable challenge. Occupying as it does an area of strategic importance in the convergence of computing, publishing, television and the video-games industry, we are aware of multimedia's potential but still lack powerful examples of it in action. There are, of course, many scattered examples of how multimedia is being applied to good effect in business and industry, in education and training, but these are not sufficiently well-known. Developers still must expend considerable time and energy explaining what the medium can offer, illustrating how the medium has been used to solve people's problems in real-world contexts before going on to recommend how it might be applied to new problems. One of the most persuasive arguments is the ability to say, "Well, here's how I use it myself!", but for those of us involved in developing multimedia applications, to what extent can it be said that we have adopted the technology to solve our own day-to-day development problems? Here are some of the ways that I've adopted multimedia to make like easier for me as an interactive designer, project manager and consultant, mostly for the purposes of visualisation and inter-disciplinary team-working in program planning and development.

There are, of course, others ways in which the medium can be applied and other ends to which it can be put within the development process. These just happen to be personally tried-and-tested examples, some of them perhaps quite innovative, others more mundane. But they do add to the argument that multimedia does work, and can work, for us.