"Human abilities should be amplified, not impeded, by using computers" -- Mark T. Maybury In an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of various screen interfaces utilized in interactive multimedia, an interactive thesis project was prepared to conduct tests. Walt Disney anima tion was chosen for the theme. The project was duplicated so that there were three identical copies - each representing different styles of interface navigation, button feedback, and "Help" systems. The multimedia projects were displayed on neighboring computers simul taneously so that a person could move directly from one to another with ease and no disrup tions. Each person was given an evaluation sheet for each multimedia project and completed them one at a time. The sheets were then tallied and analyzed for signs of favoritism toward any style in particular. "Multimedia interfaces are computer interfaces that communicate with users using multiple media (e.g., language, graphics, animation, video, non-speech audio), sometimes using multiple modes together such as written text together with spoken language" (Maybury, 1993). The three styles of interface navigation that the author tested are as follows; a rectangular navigation palette containing all necessary buttons, a navigation bar on the bottom right containing general navigation buttons with the more specific buttons next to their representative areas on the monitor, and last, an interface with all of the buttons scattered across the monitor. For button feedback, visual feedback (highlighting a button) was tested against verbal feed back (a "click"). One interface had no button feedback at all. One "Help" system was created as a diagram, one animated, and one that was text only. Interfaces are critical in determining the success and/or failure of any piece of multimedia on the market today. The main goal of most multimedia projects is to present information of some kind. Many of the CD-ROMs on the market today have vastly different interfaces even for the most basic of commands. This adds to the consumer's confusion as to how to navigate through a project to find the desired information. This project yielded some surprising results, for instance, one class, when verbally surveyed after testing and evaluating the multimedia projects, gave responses that were equally divided into thirds when asked which interface navigation method they preferred. This was as sur prising to the author as it was to them who each clearly thought that their method was the best (and proceeded to try and tell each other so rather loudly). Another interesting result found was that males preferred the verbal button feedback ("click") and the females preferred the visual button feedback (highlighting the button). In some cases, the males did not notice the visual feedback until it was discussed at the end of class. The results of this project provided some much needed interface design statistics and com ments which will enable designers to better understand consumer preferences and make appropriate changes to any future projects.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Interactive computer systems--Design; Interactive multimedia--Design; User interfaces (Computer systems)--Design
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Holod, Tara Ann, "An Investigation into the design and effectiveness of interactive multimedia interfaces" (1994). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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