8-2: Multimedia Tools

Multimedia Tool Box
Image source: Peter Demko

Adding multimedia elements to a presentation – especially a website – can transform a message into a more dynamic, engaging and entertaining form of communication. While this statement may be true in many cases, S. Shyam Sundar (2000), in his study, cautions those deploying multimedia elements on their websites to be cognizant of the type and quality of any multimedia they add – especially if these additions are downloadable. Sundar warns that because audiences are able to download video and audio for later consumption, they will likely be “scrutinized” for quality (pg. 495). Nevertheless, the results of Sundar’s study strongly indicate that the effectiveness of added multimedia elements varies based on the type of content being supplemented as well as the type of multimedia.

One way in which multimedia can benefit a presentation is by extending its reach. Audiences interpret different forms of information in different ways. By adding multimedia elements, you are adding another vehicle through which your content is distributed. Augmenting a presentation with multimedia elements provides an additional medium by which a message can be communicated. For example, Matt Smith, author of the article Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site (2013), extends the reach of his message by embedding the audio podcast of his article. While Smith uses the example of a someone who is too busy to read through a website, he also discusses the importance of adding multimedia – specifically audio – for increasing accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Image source: https://peoplewithcatheads.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/3.gif?w=660

A poll question that tallies and shares user’s responses is a great form of multimedia that fosters audience participation and interaction.

Multimedia elements such as an embedded Twitter feed is a good way to integrate the messages other are sending through social media. Incorporating social media elements is also a great way to add fresh content to a site without the extra work of updating content manually.

Multimedia should never be added arbitrarily. As Smith (2013) notes, the goal to to provide the highest quality content – content that is valuable to audiences. Adding random, distracting, or offensive multimedia elements provides audiences zero benefit, and can severly detract from ta site’s legitimacy and reputation.

Smith, M. (2013, May 28). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved from http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-your-site

Sundar, S. S. (2000). Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, audio, and video downloads. Retrieved fromhttp://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf