How Multimedia Can Improve Website Usability

This post was written by Internet Marketing John on October 8, 2009
Posted Under: Website Usability

How multimedia can improve website usability, has been a subject of debate for internet marketers for quite some time.

Normally when we speak about graphics being used on the Internet, we are primarily speaking about multimedia.

As the name implies, multimedia combines graphics, sound, text, and animation to convey an idea or instruct the reader on a topic.

The content of the web site normally determines what multimedia features will be used.

Generally, multimedia supports the content of a web site, and aids in specific instruction to the viewer.

Multimedia can improve website usability when used in a positive way.

Recent research shows that animated images can assist with the transfer of learning, however, it can also become a barrier to learning, and recall when overused.

Here are some guidelines as to how multimedia can improve website usability

  • Don’t overuse multimedia in your web pages.
  • Overuse of graphics can cause excessively long download times.  This causes impatient viewers like myself to scurry from the web page.
  • Be judicious in your use of multimedia on your web pages.
  • Using graphics with text-redundant data assists in the learning process.
    Using multimedia graphics with content that is not redundant, neither helps or hinders the learning process.
  • Be consistent with your use of multimedia graphic designs on your web pages.

Haphazard graphic designs turn off readers, cause confusion, com across as non professional, and generally are not a good idea.

If you mark up your web pages so that text is downloaded before the graphics, users will know beforehand if the information they were looking for is available.

The fact that they will save time waiting for the graphics to load, if they don’t need the information, will certainly not go unappreciated.

  • Make your multimedia pages load from top to bottom.

This is especially important with photo or video web sites.

This allows the web page to completely load, as the reader begins scrolling down form the top of the page.

When incorporating content with graphics, keep the content first so your multimedia graphics have time to load below.

The NEED for SPEED affects all of us! Web pages should download super fast, in order to keep readers on your website.

Some ways to achieve this are shown here.

  • Keep your image resolution low.
  • Keep the size of your graphics to a minimum.
  • Combine images to minimize the number of server connections. The more connections, the slower the download.
  • Keep animations to a minimum
  • Keep the colors used in your images to a minimum

Multimedia can improve website usability when used judiciously, and also when keeping the above suggestions in mind.

Here Are Some Cool Webmaster Tools That Will Keep Your Visitors Coming Back.

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