UNIT 13:Multimedia design and authoring

Unit 13:Multimedia Design and Authoring

Unit code:H/601/0467

QCF Level 4:BTEC Higher National

Credit value:15

Unit aim

To help learners understand design processes including planning, iteration and prototyping, in the context of building a multimedia product.

Unit abstract

The interactive multimedia industry is one of the fastest moving sectors in the world. Those hoping to make a career in this sector will need to be able to produce high quality products. Creativity and imagination are key attributes of successful media designers, but learners must also acquire a firm grasp of the principles of interactive media design as well as good planning skills.

In this unit, learners will find out about the disciplines necessary to create a professional multimedia product. They will need to devise a design specification and build a prototype product. They will subsequently refine the product, further developing their initial ideas through an iterative process of development.

In completing this unit, learners will gain an understanding of how multimedia software applications can be used effectively as tools in a disciplined and structured design process aimed at producing a commercially usable prototype.

The unit will also teach learners how to focus on the needs of end users, to study who is likely to use the product they produce, and how to tailor what they are making to the user’s needs.

Summary of learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

1     Understand the use of existing multimedia products

2     Know the importance of design discipline

3     Be able to apply design disciplines to a multimedia production

4     Be able to present a refined multimedia product prototype.

Unit content

1     Understand the use of existing multimedia products

Research: sources eg literature, publications, journals, electronic data, observation, questionnaire, interview, surveys

Products: types eg websites, interactive videos, DVDs, games, advertisements

2     Know the importance of design discipline

Sensitivity: cultural and contextual eg political, sexual, ethnic, minority groups, religious, cognitive and physical special needs, disabilities, discrimination awareness

Human Computer Interaction (HCI): testing eg formative, summative, quantitative, qualitative;

User needs: requirements eg content, existing systems, environmental issues, location, social context, tasks constraints of a system, delivery platform; input, output devices

3     Be able to apply design disciplines to a multimedia production

Task analysis: observations eg task being performed, difficulties encountered, hesitations, question user expectations, question user requirements and opinions, visual perception, attention span, dexterity, memory constraints

Prototype systems: user-centred design eg storyboards, flow diagrams, scripts, musical scores; structure map; design standards and guidelines; copyright laws

Develop: improvements eg amend, edit, rearrange, replace

Audio-visual: types eg sound samples, animation, video, interactive elements

Design: layout eg quantity of information presented, grouping and prioritising of information, highlighting techniques, standardisation of screen display; features eg text, use of typography, graphics, screen metaphors, navigation systems, video, guides or agents, animation, visual feedback; accessibility eg prioritising, drawing attention, use of colour, language, dynamics of screen design, innovation, creativity; intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, feedback and playback

Checking multimedia outcomes: considerations eg completeness, accuracy, layout, formatting, animation, sound, sequence; review against requirements

Editing multimedia outcomes: customisations eg size, crop and position, proportion, colour schemes, font schemes, border styles, use layout guides; existing styles and schemes for font (typeface), size, orientation, colour, alignment

Resolving problems: sound eg sound-noise ratio, volume, clarity, accessibility, codec support; images eg levels, contrast, file size, proportions, placement, unwanted content; text eg clarity, spelling, grammar, structure

4     Be able to present a refined multimedia product prototype

Originate: source materials eg copyright licensing laws, scanned material, digital photography, digital video; cultural sensitivity, political propriety

Presentation: considerations; eg file size, format; constraints eg bandwidth, compression techniques; stand-alone applications eg screen-based, point of sale, educational, entertainment, information kiosk; CD-ROM pressing techniques; world wide web publishing

Audience: evaluate eg target users, computer users, non-computer literate users.

Other considerations: cross-platform file compatibility eg Macintosh file formats, Windows file formats; cross-platform performance eg file size, file economy, file quality, file compression techniques; browser eg browser friendly palettes, frames (Java), browser compatibility; assessing eg evaluating, checking, requirements, usability, accuracy

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit a learner will:

Assessment criteria for pass

The learner can:


Understand the use of existing multimedia products

1.1 critically review examples of high and low quality multimedia products

1.2 discuss what makes a good quality multimedia product


Know the importance of design discipline

2.1 explain how the design process can be applied to a multimedia product

2.2 plan an iterative design process


Be able to apply design disciplines to a multimedia production

3.1 use an appropriate combination of resources and techniques to achieve multimedia outcomes

3.2 check multimedia outcomes meet needs

3.3 analyse own use of design discipline


Be able to present a refined multimedia product prototype

4.1 produce a working multimedia product prototype

4.2 present working multimedia product prototype to a multimedia professional

4.3 evaluate the prototype.


Links to National Occupational Standards, other BTEC units, other BTEC qualifications and other relevant units and qualifications

The learning outcomes associated with this unit are closely linked with:

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Unit 43: Multimedia Design

Unit 11: Digital Media in Art and Design

Unit 37: Digital Image Creation and Development

Unit 12: 2D, 3D, and Time-based Digital Applications

Unit 38: 3D Computer Modelling and Animation

Unit 15: Website Management

This unit has links to the Level 4 and Level 5 National Occupational Standards for IT and Telecoms Professionals, particularly the areas of competence of:

•     Human Computer Interaction/Interface (HCI) Design.

Essential requirements

Learners will need access to computer hardware with appropriate accessories such as scanners and printers, and to appropriate software such as Director, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Adobe PhotoShop/Image Ready etc.



Andrews P Adobe PhotoShop Elements (Adobe, 2009) ISBN 0321660323

Boyle T Design for Multimedia Learning (Prentice Hall, 1996) ISBN 0132422158

Chapman Dr N and Chapman J Digital Multimedia (John Wiley & Sons; 2009) ISBN 0470512164

Coupland K Web Works Navigation (Rockport Publishers, 2000) ISBN 1564966623

Kalbach J Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience (O'Reilly Media, 2007) ISBN 0596528108

Gatter M Software Essentials for Graphic Designers: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, QuarkXPress, Dreamweaver, Flash and Acrobat (Laurence King, 2006) ISBN 1856694992

Kerman P Sams Teach Yourself Macromedia Flash MX in 24 Hours (Sams, 2003) ISBN 0672325942

Maciuba-Koppel D The Web Writer’s Guide (Focal Press, 2003) ISBN 0240804813

Sengstack J Sams Teach Yourself Adobe Premiere in 24 hours (Sams, 2004) ISBN 0672326078




Employer engagement and vocational contexts

Within this unit there are opportunities for tutors to support learners with their understanding of the range of hardware and software currently used as industrial standard. Many of these applications and hardware are now accessible to learners. Providing learners with access to relevant software manufacturers’ manuals and other textbooks, the internet, and a range of examples of current multimedia practice should be encouraged.

This unit provides learners with the opportunity to gain knowledge of the styles and conventions of vocational areas such as graphic design, photography, post-production and production management.

Learners will have the opportunity to gain a fundamental knowledge of the creative technical and production practices such as understanding target audiences, copyright law, content production, graphic design, photography, typography, videography and moving image. This unit also presents opportunities for learners to understand wider vocational skills such as communication and planning and organisational skills.

Learners should be encouraged to learn and understand the importance of these principles in context with the work of professional practitioners across the creative arts vocational areas. This unit provides scope for learners to be engaged in ‘real life’ project briefs.