Animated characters have been a popular research theme, but the respective desktop applications have not been well-received by end-users. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of an animated character for presenting information and navigating music videos within an interactive television (ITV) application. Information was displayed over music video clips with two alternative user interfaces: 1) semi-transparent information overlays, 2) an animated character. For this purpose, the differences between ITV and desktop computing motivated the adaptation of the traditional usability evaluation techniques. The evaluation revealed that users reported higher affective quality with the animated character user interface. Although the success of animated characters in desktop productivity applications has been limited, there is growing evidence that animated characters might be viable in a domestic environment for leisure activities, such as interactive TV.
Firefox and WebKit browsers are currently the only browsers that support CSS animation, but we’ll take a look at how we can easily make these ads also function in other browsers (which I’ll affectionately refer to as 18th century browsers). However, don’t expect perfect support for all browsers (specifically IE 7 and lower) when experimenting with modern CSS techniques.
For most end-users, the debate over Flash is largely a debate about web video. Yes, Flash is used in other ways — for web-based games and ever-decreasingly in website design — but thanks in large part to YouTube, Flash is most commonly associated with web video. Web video is overwhelmingly encoded in H.264. Not only is the H.264 codec the default encoding setting for practically every video service online, it is also by and large the default codec for raw video from digital video cameras.
Lanyi discusses technologies for authoring and viewing hybrid CD-ROMs. He defines hybrid CD-ROMs as standard CD-ROMs that integrate updates users periodically download from the Web. This combination of storage space and timeliness, Lanyi argues, makes hybrid CD-ROMs an effective means of delivering documentation to users.
Hybrid CD technology, which allows publishing documents on CD-ROM and placing updates on a Web/FTP server, is the solution of choice for the delivery of time-critical, large technical documents requiring frequent updates.
Screen recordings are a valuable tool for enhancing training, tutorials, manuals and websites. Companies use this technique to produce streaming and downloadable content. The recording tools are readily available and affordable. In this article, we explore some techniques, tips and tricks for recording sound, mouse movement and happenings from your screen to an AVI file. We will talk in both general terms and use specific examples. The examples pertain to HyperCam, a downloadable screen recording application from Hyperionics Technology. Like most screen recording applications, HyperCam captures the action from your Windows screen -- including cursor movements and sound -- and saves it to an AVI movie file.
This article focuses on Apple’s latest release, QuickTime 5, both from a user’s and developer’s perspective. I'll also describe the tools you'll need, the creative possibilities, and how to best deliver a project to your intended audience.
The chi-web and sig-ia mailing lists are two email based discussion groups on the topics of web usability, design and human computer interaction (the later with a heavier emphasis on information architecture). To subscribe to chi-web, read the info page or to get a better flavor for what happens there, use its full searchable archive. Alternatively, you can join sigia-l from here or view the sigia-l archive . Using the archives for each mailing list, I've compiled a list of the summary postings from useful threads, and a few personally selected favorite postings. Please note: my list below is not an exhaustive list of summary postings. I just picked the ones I found most salient and valuable for reference. Also, these summaries are collections of contributing posts: they are a mixture of opinions and commentary, with some references to reports, usability data, websites or books.
Use of online video has grown faster than the use of accessibility in online video. Though bandwidth costs for video files can still be high compared to ordinary text-and-graphics Web pages, it is nonetheless easy to digitize video and post it online. It's easier to broadcast your video to the world via the Internet than it is to get the same video on television. Online multimedia are a useful and valid new medium of communication - for most people.
I get to see and play with a lot of really cool AIR applications (even when they’re still being developed). Every now and then I come across an app that totally ignores any best practices or usability rules. AIR provides developers with a lot of features that could potentially annoy users if not used wisely. I thought it was a good idea to write this article. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these features, I just want you to think about them before you add them to your application.
I think podcasting is powerful because it gives us the opportunity to reach people in ways we cannot with blogs and websites. Don't get me wrong, blogs and sites have their place. But let's face it, people have information overload! It's often a choice between reading your blog and the 15 other things they need to read. But with podcasts, people tell me that they listen via their iPods while in the gym. They burn them to CD and listen in their car during their commute. They listen on their computer with a headset or speakers.
The HTML5 VIDEO element is already supported by most modern browsers, and even IE has support announced for version 9. There are many advantages of having video embedded natively in the browser (covered in the article Introduction to HTML5 video by Bruce Lawson), so many developers are trying to use it as soon as possible. There are a couple of barriers to this that remain, most notably the problem of which codecs are supported in each browser, with a disagreement between Opera/Firefox and IE/Safari. That might not be a problem for much longer though, with Google recently releasing the VP8 codec, and the WebM project coming into existence. Opera, Firefox, Chrome and IE9 all have support in final builds, developer builds, or at least support announced for this format, and Flash will be able to play VP8. This means that we will soon be able to create a single version of the video that will play in the VIDEO element in most browsers, and the Flash Player in those that don't support WebM natively.
There are two methods for adding captions in QuickTime. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. The first allows you to maintain a single file, making the captioned video easier to distribute. The second approach allows you to easily deliver a captioned and non-captioned version of your movie, but requires an understanding of SMIL (it's not too hard).
RealPlayer uses SMIL to combine media content with a RealText (.rt) file. The .rt file contains the captions themselves and information about how and when they should appear. The SMIL file is really just a pointer file. It contains information about where and how your captions and media content should display.
Windows Media Player adds captions using Microsoft's Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI). SAMI, like SMIL, which is used by Quicktime and RealPlayer, is an XML-based text language. A SAMI file contains the captions and definitions for how and when the captions should display.
Multimedia cases allow novices and experts to explore issues and practice in instructional design. During the course of study in instructional design, often only a few design projects can be completed. Case studies serve as a valuable supplement, providing students with opportunities to experience and respond to complex practice issues in a variety of professional settings. In the process, students reflect on relevant theories and techniques as they attempt to understand a real problem, develop a response, and consider the potential consequences. Once each year, we sponsor a case event, and invite universities across the country to advance a team. Teams analyze the case, while experts pose probling questions, evaluate case responses, and contribute their own perspectives on the cases.
Time constraints prevented our team from rewriting our user's guide for online use. Early user testing and off-the-shelf electronic tools were key elements that ensured our success in enhancing usability to cancel the deadening effect of data dumping. We added menus and graphical navigation aids for user convenience. Interleaf provided automatic hypertext links and support throughout the project. We included an installation-and-reference guide to inform new-to-online users how to install and use the our product.
The ability to build interactions that support, enable, and improve communication is a valuable skill for help developers, Web-site designers, multimedia content developers, information-rich user interface designers-anyone who designs and develops information to be used online. This paper presents the basics of interaction design for information products and describes some basic underlying human factors and user-interface design principles.