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Crafting Multimedia Text: Websites and Presentations / Edition 1

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Overview

Here is an excellent resource for those in Journalism, Business, Education, Multimedia writing, Communications, and Web design.

This unique, exciting book introduces “new media writing” strategies and techniques. Understand how to write and how to display content for websites, slide shows, and other visual presentations. Differentiate between viewers (who see words projected on a computer or projector screen) and readers (who read words on paper).

Introduction

Within the last ten years, the practice of presenting written information on a screen rather than on paper has grown dramatically. The essence of multimedia communications is its interactivity and the fact that you write in “layers” rather than a linear, traditional way. For those who may be “Trekkies,” I compare it to Mr. Spock’s three-dimensional chess game, which he liked to play on Star Trek. Unlike traditional chess, which is played on a flat, linear, one-dimensional surface, his Tri-D Chess is a three dimensional form of chess that requires its users to consider plays on a multi-dimensional platform. Not only must they consider the linear move in front of them, but they must also ponder the impact of those moves on separate, clear boards located above and below the main board.

Each piece impacts a number of levels. Players have to remain aware of how every piece on every level interrelates. This reminds me of the challenge of multimedia writing. Not only must you ponder the linear story you must write on the main level, but also you must consider upper levels and lower levels accessible by hyperlinks or mouse clicks. You have to think about how each word connects to words on screens not yet visible. It is a form of three-dimensional writing that we are only beginning to comprehend, much less master.

Each piece of information impacts a number of levels. Writers have to remain aware of how every level interrelates. The computer screen — through the development of websites and presentation software such as MS PowerPoint — is now used interchangeably with paper as an output device for information.

  • · What types of information are more suited for output to the computer screen vs. paper?
  • · How does reading information on paper compare with viewing written information on a computer screen (or projector screen)?
  • · Should information be presented in the same way for paper as for the computer screen?
  • · Are currently accepted multimedia emphasis techniques (such as moving text) enhancements or distractions?

Research into these areas is new, but certain conventions have emerged. This book will examine the current state-of-the-art implementation of multimedia writing. It will show differences between viewers (those who see information projected on a screen) and readers (those who read information on paper). - Barbara Moran

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130990020
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 7/12/2004
  • Series: NetEffect Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Moran spent 20 years in "mainstream news" (as editor of a city magazine and a weekly newspaper, on-air radio news reporter, and staff writer for San Diego Union and Atlanta Constitution). In 1989, she left traditional media to become part of the new Web-based media. She worked for two search engines as an online editor, and she has freelanced extensively online. She wrote The Internet Directory for Kids & Parents (IDG Books) and contributed a chapter on multimedia writing to English for Careers: Business, Professional, and Technical by Leila Smith (Prentice Hall). Founder/ editor of her own K-12 educational Website (www.specialspecies.com), Ms. Moran serves as a communications consultant and teaches Internet-, computer-, and communications-related subjects at the college level (at San Francisco State University and San Mateo Community College District). She has her B.A. in telecommunications from Kent State University and her master's in instructional technology from the School of Education at San Francisco State University. To contact her consulting service, email msbmoran@yahoo.com.

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Read an Excerpt

This book is the result of the Business Communications course I teach at Canada College in San Mateo County, California. Business Dean Linda Hayes and Professors Romelia Thiele and Carolyn Jung realized that business professionals need to write effective content for websites, slide presentations, and even e-mails. So in addition to teaching traditional methods of paper-based business writing, I was encouraged to build the multimedia writing component for business students.

The challenge was finding a supplemental book geared to multimedia writing. I couldn't. So I wrote this one.

Much of what I learned about multimedia writing was through working for two search engines and various Websites in the mid-1990s. I was especially fortunate to work for Christine Maxwell, now an Internet content consultant and Senior Partner at ISS, the Institute for Scientific Simulation in Monterey, California. She was a pioneer in adapting the best of print writing to the realities of multimedia.

Early on, it became obvious that writing for the computer screen was much different than writing for paper. There were no style guides for multimedia writers, so I began one.

I followed the early research of Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group (co-founded with Dr. Donald A. Norman, a former VP of Research at Apple Computer). Until 1998 Nielsen was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer and a man called "the guru of Web page usability" by The New York Times in 1998. His work is cited in this book.

The final elements came together through my association with the Department of Instructional Technology in the School of Education at San Francisco State University. Then Chair Eugene Michaels, Ph.D.; current Chair Kim Foreman, Ph.D.; Professor Peggy Benton, Ph.D.; and lecturer Mary Scott helped me integrate learning theory, technology, and design with all my notes about writing I had been taking since 1996. What I learned from them is integral to this book. Usability expert Lynn R. Raiser, whom I met at the Department of Instructional Technology, provided valuable assistance with the CD-ROM for this book.

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Table of Contents

1. What is Multimedia Writing?

2. Why Are Words Important?

3. Traditional Writing vs. Multimedia Writing.

4. Creating Your Content.

5. Make Your Words Work.

6. Writing With Style.

7. Words As Graphic Elements.

8. Formatting Text in a Multimedia Environment.

9. Special Considerations for Websites.

10. Special Considerations for Visual Presentations.

Appendix.

Great (Writer-Friendly) Software for Websites and Presentations.

Finding Help Along the Way.

Glossary.

Chapter Answers.

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Preface

This book is the result of the Business Communications course I teach at Canada College in San Mateo County, California. Business Dean Linda Hayes and Professors Romelia Thiele and Carolyn Jung realized that business professionals need to write effective content for websites, slide presentations, and even e-mails. So in addition to teaching traditional methods of paper-based business writing, I was encouraged to build the multimedia writing component for business students.

The challenge was finding a supplemental book geared to multimedia writing. I couldn't. So I wrote this one.

Much of what I learned about multimedia writing was through working for two search engines and various Websites in the mid-1990s. I was especially fortunate to work for Christine Maxwell, now an Internet content consultant and Senior Partner at ISS, the Institute for Scientific Simulation in Monterey, California. She was a pioneer in adapting the best of print writing to the realities of multimedia.

Early on, it became obvious that writing for the computer screen was much different than writing for paper. There were no style guides for multimedia writers, so I began one.

I followed the early research of Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group (co-founded with Dr. Donald A. Norman, a former VP of Research at Apple Computer). Until 1998 Nielsen was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer and a man called "the guru of Web page usability" by The New York Times in 1998. His work is cited in this book.

The final elements came together through my association with the Department of Instructional Technology in the School of Education at San Francisco State University. Then Chair Eugene Michaels, Ph.D.; current Chair Kim Foreman, Ph.D.; Professor Peggy Benton, Ph.D.; and lecturer Mary Scott helped me integrate learning theory, technology, and design with all my notes about writing I had been taking since 1996. What I learned from them is integral to this book. Usability expert Lynn R. Raiser, whom I met at the Department of Instructional Technology, provided valuable assistance with the CD-ROM for this book.

Read More Show Less

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2004

    Breaks new ground, plus it is easy to read and funny

    This book is very easy to read even if you aren't very knowledgeable about html coding or any of that web stuff. Any body who does PowerPoints should read it to keep their presentations from being boring.

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