Sep 9th 2017

Introduction to Interactive Media

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Starting with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the key to a successful process. All projects should define a primary objective, audience, and strategy. Project plans for interactive media should take into consideration the complex relationship between the producer and the audience, where the end user may shape the overall experience as much as or more than the author. Marketers use Customer Relationship Management to shape and nurture these relationships. For games, interactive fiction, and other experiences, there may not be a "customer" but the audience can be guided with the same techniques. CRM can involve business and marketing plans, writing for the web, search engine optimization, social media, and analytics analysis.

User Experience (UX) Design

The audience uses an interactive media project. Their chances of success depends on the design of the experience. Once initial goals are set, every design choice should be made with the audience in mind. This is called user-centered design, and the process of creating it is called User Experience (UX) Design. With good UX, users are more likely to complete their tasks, and will do them faster. Creating a good user experience involves every step of the design and development process. Career UX designers, however, focus more on design concepts than execution. They conduct usability tests to evaluate existing projects and verify accessibility for disabled users. They may also build information architecture and create wireframes and prototypes for interaction design, or work closely with those who do.

Information Architecture (IA)

Information Architecture (IA) organizes content to make it easily findable by users. This process starts with a content inventory, and is usually followed by sorting cards to help with organization. The resulting content structure can be tested, and organizational schemas defined to create multiple paths for information searches.

Interaction Design (IxD)

Interaction Design (IxD) determines how users will interact with an interface. One step involves mapping the information architecture to a menu system that users can navigation. Buttons, search boxes, breadcrumbs, and other functional elements are selected. Layouts, word choices, and icons are also chosen and documented in rough wireframe diagrams. When complete, IxD allows for a detailed description of exactly how people will interact with the interface.

Graphical User Interface (GUI)

User Interface (UI) Design usually refers to the entire process of designing an interface with good UX. Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design refers specfically to the step of visualizing the exact look and feel. After IxD is complete, GUI designers apply styles - including color, typography, and layout - to the interface. Deliverables include mockups which are images that could look like screen captures of the finished project, and often prototypes which can be used to test basic interactions in the project.

HTML5 and CSS

Developers build the design. Content is marked up using the HTML5 language, and the graphical styles are applied using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

JavaScript and the DOM

Basic navigation is accomplished using HTML5 markup. More complex applications require a scripting language like JavaScript (JS). JavaScript programmers should know the basics of computer science, including data structures and procedural programming techniques. JavaScript code can be used to manipulate the Document Object Model (DOM) of a web page, which allows content, markup, and styles to be altered in response to user interactions. This code can be complex and time consuming to write. Programmers use code libraries to save time. For years, JQuery was commonly used to simplify DOM programming. There are still many free JQuery plugins for features like image carousels and photo light boxes. They are still a viable option for novice programmers to beging working with JavaScript.