Thursday, October 22, 2009

EPJ_Multimedia Critique I

For Multimedia Critique I, I chose The Letter From Iwo Jima by Erik Olsen and Lizette Alvarez. The content of the project is poignant, which is effectively conveyed by multimedia.

The content of the project is appropriate for the multimedia. Voice over narrative, interviews, video clips, historical documents (including film clips), still images, and background sound are effectively interwoven for telling this poignant story. The integrity of this project is so high that the application of multimedia technology is a conscious choice.

Interactivity is fair enough. The buttons to forward or pause the project works just fine. A moving slide bar is easy to use, and it works. Interactivity is very minimal, but those functions are enough. An advertisement, which starts automatically before the project, is annoying, but that is inevitable. If there is a button to skip the ad, that would be better.

Navigation is simple and clear. There do not seem to be any confusing or unclear navigation buttons, bars, and titles.

Layout, color scheme and overall presentation do not interfere with the theme of the project. Middle gray background and white texts do not distract an audience.
Technically speaking, the project is built professionally. Vide clips, still images, and audio are shot or recorded with great care. Voice over narrative has a nice pacing, which makes it easy to follow the storyline. In addition, relevant video clips or still images correspond to the narrative. The content of interview is profound, which adds meaning to the whole story.

A typical length of multimedia project tends to be between 2 to 3 minutes. If a project exceeds this range, it is considered to be too long. In spite of its 8-minute length, The Letter from Iwo Jima never seems to be long enough. Nevertheless, I would change the length of the project. There are unnecessary parts that can be cut out without changing the content of the project.

An ethical concern is the use of a historical (or old) image that corresponds to the content of narrative. For example, voice over narrative describes Franklin W. Hobbs’s duty as setting up telecommunication. An old photograph of a soldier setting it up corresponds to that narrative. An audience may get an impression that the soldier in the photo is Franklin Hobbs back then.

Overall, this multimedia project is professionally created with a great storyline, video clips, still images, audio, and background sound.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

EPJ_Fall'09/Photographer's Web Site

I have selected Julia Fullerton-Batten's web site primarily because its functionality and design are what I envision as a template idea for my online portfolio.

For online professional portfolio, this site is functional. With a single intriguing photograph on the front page, the photographer not only shows her work style, but also draws one’s attention. The photograph is inviting. Having seen her entire work, this photograph epitomizes a theme in the photographer’s work.

Photographs under several work categories are effective enough to show her originality, creativity, and credibility. Photographs under PERSONAL convey a type of work she pursues. In addition, an overarching theme permeates the entire work. Photographs under PROJECT and COMMISSIONS exhibit her credibility as a professional photographer. These two categories are useful marketing tools. AWARDS, PRESS, and EXHIBITION represent recognition given to the photographer, which substantiates her credibility.

Although the site is functional, it is somewhat inefficient. A number of photographs, awards, press releases, and exhibitions are excessive. For example, category PERSONAL is subdivided into three sections, and nearly 120 images are exhibited under this category. I believe that the photographer can maintain the site’s integrity with a less number of photographs. A list of awards and press releases is more than necessary. Every one of them could be a major award or recognition; nevertheless, the photographer can single out prominent ones.

Simplicity in site design and layout works well. The site’s opening page contains an eye-catching image with a list of essential navigations. Personally, I don’t mind texts overlapping the image. I would make title (the photographer’s name) bigger and place it outside of the front image. In addition, I would make navigations a bit bigger. Dark (or middle) gray background works just fine.

Slide show is user-friendly. Each image gets uploaded fast and is big enough for viewing. The placement of the two arrows to flip images is reasonable, and the distance between next and back arrows is close enough. Placing page number between the arrows is effective. Up and down arrows to scroll thumbnails are user-friendly too. One click up or down goes to next group of photographs. I find this kind of scrolling easier to navigate thumbnails. Nevertheless, it should be unnecessary to click a thumbnail to view a larger image. I would add rollover. I personally don’t need auto-play for slide show, but adding such option could be useful for other viewers.

The list of navigations and the thumbnails are visible only when a pointer hovers a certain area. Thus a viewer is able to take a look through images on a clean background and navigate when necessary on a single page. This solution is better than creating another page (with clean background) for exhibiting images.

Except for excursiveness in a number of images as well as a list of awards, press releases, and exhibitions, the site is a functional and efficient online portfolio for exhibiting a type of work and skill set of a photographer. The site is simple in design and friendly in navigation, which prevents a viewer from being overwhelmed.