For the purposes of these guidelines, the multimedia design process has been broken down into the following principal phases: planning, design, production and validation. This section provides information on each of these phases, breaking them down into a number of sub-tasks. Tasks are listed sequentially, in the order they would often be tackled in the actual development process. Depending on project requirements, the exact nature of tasks and the order in which they are carried out will vary between projects and according to team preferences.
For instance, not all projects will require support materials or packaging, or a destination-site study, and end-user models may be carried over between projects as long as the assumptions built into the model are explicit and may be reviewed and revised as a result of user-feedback generated in the course of product testing and validation. Equally, delays usually require creative project management decisions to bring tasks into parallel which might ideally be best completed in series.
Sufficient care and time should be given to ensuring that aims and objectives are clarified that the material and human resource requirements of the project have been identified, that roles and responsibilities are clear, that optimal procedures to realize project aims and objectives have been discussed and agreed and that difficulties are anticipated and allowed for. Good planning is essential to the successful outcome of any project.
Once the team is in place and the strategy for moving the project forward has been planned, designing the look and feel of the interactive program and writing the content can take place. The design process consist of Storyboarding, Interface design of the presentation or the animation, defining the captions, script for the slides and content, file conversion process, design for material and packaging of the final output.
Before the production a prototype is created. The Prototype is a working model of the program to test whether it will work or not before going into production. Photo shoots and video-photography for the required application is created for final production. Music, shooting, editing, voice-overs and process flow follow the storyboard created for the project. Finally, the editing and compiling is completed for the finished product.
Validation (or testing) is a painstaking procedure but an essential part of the total quality assurance process. It is the study of the effectiveness of design prototypes, acknowledging any weaknesses encountered. The purpose of validation is to check to see if the program meets its specified objectives. Realizing the objectives of the validation process requires clear testing procedures to be devised. In-house debugging is the testing of a program's functionality: do all the buttons and effects operate as intended without causing the system to crash? It will also cover performance testing under different hardware and operating system configurations.
Post Development Support and Maintenance
Built into any project should be any overhead to cover the post-development support and maintenance of deliverables. One should not underestimate the amount of time that can be consumed handling technical support queries on a product for which there is no longer a budget.