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Thread: Multimedia Design fundamentals

  1. #1
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Multimedia Design fundamentals

    People are talking about these more and more, saying how important they are, yet design fundamentals are not absolutes and depend on personal opinion. Or do they?

    Would anyone like to post some of the fundamental design rules they follow in this thread (if you can explain them that simply)?

    I think there's a big difference between those you've been taught and those you've learnt yourself and you'll be surprised at how different other people's are.
    We're all in it together

  2. #2
    Senior Member pellepiano's Avatar
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    I think there are fundamental design rules but you dont have to be ruled by them to make something that looks good.

    We all have a lot of fundamental rules inside us ( even if we dont think we have ) If there was not rules, we would accept the quality of all designs as equal. And a personal opinion is always shaped by something.

    And there are rules that somehow goes without saying. I you draw a a card with the text love and a heart , the heart is most likely to have the color of red, and you probably wouldnt draw the heart in the shape of a human heart but as the symbol we are accustomed to.

    All elements of design has their own microcosmos, as color theory, typography and so on. There are countless numbers of books on each. ( just reading the stories about the the great guys who made some of the famous typefaces we use today are great reading ).

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  3. #3
    Under the influence bvgroote's Avatar
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    main fundamentals rely on first and foremost
    -usability
    -colour theory
    -layout
    -typography
    -general look and feel

  4. #4
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    Great post pellepiano. I just expected people to post specific rules, like:

    Never use more than three different fonts on a site
    Thumbnails all need to be the exact same size
    Text needs to be large enough - don't make people squint!
    Navigation should make every section accessible from every section
    Colour schemes narrow - never know what others are on their screen

    - some of the rules I go by.
    We're all in it together

  5. #5
    An Inconvenient Serving Size hurricaneone's Avatar
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    8x6 for general purpose Flash sites? Or actually, 794x430.

    Is that a good one?
    Stand by for emergency synapse rerouting

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    Great post topic "Design Fundamentals"!!!

    When you talk about design principles and fundamentals, it is weird to hear it discussed along the lines of navigation and other web fundamentals. I learned about design principles and theories before the web actually incorporated design and functionality... I still get annoyed by people who don't understand design as it pertains to messages and communication and learn a piece of software instead and think that they are designers.
    • Line
    • Tone
    • Color (or Colour)
    • typography (dont use every font you own)
    • Balance (both implied and actual)

      These are absolutley critical ones but personal web principals also include:
    • don't make a 'contact' button open my email program
    • give me a skip intro button
    • let me shut off your annoying drumb samba in the background
    • don't left justify your 640x480 site and leave all the white space on the right
    • leave the navigation on EVERY page so I don't have to go home each time
    • make links to outside URL's open a new window if you want me to continue to look at your site
    • speed up your frame rate, it's killing me how slow people animate
    • test your site on a mac too, we are 4% of all users out there
    • don't ever ever ever use netscape navigator


    -steve

  7. #7
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    When you talk about design principles and fundamentals, it is weird to hear it discussed along the lines of navigation and other web fundamentals.
    True, which was why pellepiano's post was good. In this thread we could philosophise about multimedia aesthetics or just post tips; either is useful. It's the loftier design theories that really interest me, although I don't think I've ever heard any! :-) Post them if you can.

    8x6 for general purpose Flash sites? Or actually, 794x430.
    I use 400x750 - beware of idiots with large font settings or extra browser toolbars. And in a popup 550x780 is my limit. & Chromeless windows aren't "worth it".

    don't ever ever ever use netscape navigator
    Isn't a design principle, is it. Netscape users deserve to be catered for (to some extent) as do Mac users. Both deserve some sympathy, it must be awful for them.

    IMO: screw people who use 640x480. And target="_blank" is often the best target.
    We're all in it together

  8. #8
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    don't ever ever ever use netscape navigator
    Isn't a design principle, is it. Netscape users deserve to be catered for (to some extent) as do Mac users. Both deserve some sympathy, it must be awful for them.
    I don't see why using Netscape or IE, mac or windows should be such a big issue anymore. Both NS & IE in v.6+ are WC3 DOM-compliant browsers. Gone I think are the days when people should be coding specific versions for specific browsers, unless you want your site to be legacy-compatible.

    Which brings me to my b*tch list (that's what I call "multimedia standards"):

    - Don't bore me with chromeless windows, it'a a tired hack and only works in certain browsers anyways.

    - If you can't build W3C-compliant sites, learn how. The dot com days are over. You don't have time or budget to code six sites for six different browsers. So code for one. The v.6+ W3C DOM-compliant browsers are here to stay. And you can make it legacy-compliant as well. Read Designining with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman.

    - and don't use IFRAME or some IE specific markup tags, you're only showing how ignorant you are of catering to a wider audience and building W3C DOM-compliant websites. First of all they're most likely depreciated code, and second there are many of us that do use Netscape. Or Opera. Or Safari.

    - As for skip intros, don't even start. I don't even want to see a "skip intro" button, or you're site is already on my sh*t list. We're past the dot-hype days where clients needed to forecefeed a concept done in spinning type to a cheezy sondtrack before you even get to see anything you're looking for on a site, because they thought it was cool and didn't know what the hell they were asking for anyways. A skip intro is about as user friendly as having to unlock your home bathroom every time you want to use it. If you have a message to give me, put it on your home page along with the site navigation, so I can click to the part of the site that interests me right away. Even better, don't show me anything, sell me on why I should click on your 'intro': call it an interactive demo, or a corporate presentation. Then I'm intrigued.

    - Ask before you show. If you don't know that your audience is automatically going to your site to see that specific animation sequence or messaging, give them the option.

    - And for gawds sake learn basic photoshop skills, even if all you're doing is a flash site. Too many flash sites done by 'experienced' designers look like they're from the tinker-toy school of design: fat lines, slow animation, gratuitous gradations. Put as much thought into the layout, colour, composition, pixel by pixel, as you would with an html site or a bitmap design.

    - If you're going to have 3D flash animations, for heaven's sake don't do another spinning logo. Okay, we know you can use Swift3D, big deal. Unless there's an overwhelming need for a spinning logo, which to this date I have not seen one site that does.

    - Which brings me to my next point: every element on the page, whether static, animated or interactive, must contribute in some way towards the overall design aesthetic. Don't do anything just because you want to see if you can do it and find somewhere to fit it in, just because. Key words here are "finesse" and "purpose". Yes, even in a grunge/deconstructivistic style.

    - Frames are not evil. You just have to know how and when to use them. Most don't. And you can get around the bookmarking issue with some creative javascript, so the myth of not being able to bookmark internal frame site pages is just that.


    Okay so they're not all about multimedia, I just lumped 'em all in there, hope y'all don't mind.
    Joseph Balderson, Flex & Flash Platform Developer :: blog
    Author, Professional Flex 3 :: Staff Writer, Community MX

  9. #9
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    • use plenty of alpha and colour tints in flash work. it may increase your movie by a few k but is worth it in the long run. How many flash movies have a solid blue background that hurts the eyes.
    • If I visit www.yoursite.com, thats what I want to see. i don't want to sit through 30 seconds of crap swift logos spinning about slowly whilst some Drum and Bass loops continously in my ears.
    • consistency. If the navigation on one page is at the top, thats where it stays across site.
    • I don't want to see the date splashed everywhere, I am on a computer, I have a clock.
    • Its all very well having little javascript things which ask me my name when I visit the site and say 'hello Bruce' when I return but I don't want them everywhere. take them away and destroy them.
    • having six links which go to pages saying 'coming soon' is a waste of my time, I will never visit the site again/ take the links of if theres no content.
    • Latest news - 01/06/1999.... need I say more? refresh your site, its old and crap.
    • white text on a black background doesn't make for easy reading. If your site, contains information, a light background with darker text is needed.
    • mess with the mouse pointer and I will kill you.
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  10. #10
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    W3 = WC

    The W3 consortium's rules are mostly common sense and make a site work well but it's not worth obeying all their rules.
    If you insert the HTML to load Flash or Shockwave content using Dreamweaver MX, it fails the W3 tests and there's nothing you can do about it. It's not Macromedia's fault, it's W3's. (W3 just wish all sites were as boring as their's, and hate Flash, but that's another story.)
    Consider this: of the best sites you've seen, how many pass the W3 test? And out of the 100 most visited sites on the Net, 100 fail the W3 validator. Try them and see: http://validator.w3.org/

    Iframe is not IE-specific. NS4 can't understand it, but it is obsolete.

    If user has any brains, the pop up windows are refused and javascript is turned off. What they dont see, doesnt exist.
    Ba1l5, go and learn the basic rules of grammar.

    Moving this on to where I thought it would go anyway:
    "every element on the page, whether static, animated or interactive, must contribute in some way towards the overall design aesthetic. Don't do anything just because you want to see if you can do it and find somewhere to fit it in, just because. Key words here are "finesse" and "purpose". Yes, even in a grunge/deconstructivistic style"

    That's an important point. Even good sites are full of graphics which do nothing and are there for pointless decoration, e.g. vertical lines that tween left and right, or vice-versa.
    Should everything on screen serve some purpose?
    We're all in it together

  11. #11
    Senior Member pellepiano's Avatar
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    Everything you put in a website already has a purpose ( however dubious it may be ), otherwise you would not have put it there. The perception of it is out of your control though.

    -Pelle Piano
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    man there are some angry techies here...

    Should everything on screen serve some purpose?
    Absolutely, the beauty of that is though, the user doesnt always need to know or understand the purpose... just like a painting, why did Picasso use the colors he did or place things on the canvas where he did, etc...
    one answer...
    Artistic Licensing
    As artists, or designers as we like to be called, we can do what we feel the pallet (or screen) needs in order to carry the message to the end user. Unfortunately, we aren't always successful.

    Personally, I hate the 'overly high-tech' feel sites like I accidentally logged into the CIA server or something and there is little nonsense text flashing in the corners making me think I need to click on them or something... to me there is no purpose, to the designer maybe it serves a powerful purpose.

  13. #13
    Moderator RazoRmedia's Avatar
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    Originally posted by tonypa
    If you didnt understand what I was trying to say, I can explain it to you again. All you have to do, is ask

    What is Ba1l5? My grammar doesnt know that word.
    i think he was trying to say 'balls' as in the genitalia variety.

    phantomflanflinger, play nice now.
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  14. #14
    Harry Tuttle phantomflanflinger's Avatar
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    little nonsense text flashing in the corners
    Yes that's precisely the kind of thing you see all over the place - useless things put there to make the site look "high-tech". Rapidly changing numbers, "scanners" etc..

    Most people surfing the Net don't know what JavaScript is, let alone how to turn it off. Yet I believe these people still have brains; they just aren't nerds.
    We're all in it together

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by josephb

    - and don't use IFRAME or some IE specific markup tags, you're only showing how ignorant you are of catering to a wider audience and building W3C DOM-compliant websites.[/B]
    Have you got a wider audience than 90% in mind? Of course you have to pay attention to other browsers out there - even AOL which gave me a recent headache over dynamically loading jpgs. But if 90% of your audience is using IE I think that colored scrollbars are fine. Judging by the number of them you run into out there I'd say 90% of the sites today are not W3C compliant. And what's wrong with IFRAMEs anyway?

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