Creating Shockwave Web Pages

9 August 2009 |

A good roller coaster moves fast, goes high, and has lots of unexpected twists and hills. After a while, all the rides seem to be the same because they can't get bigger or faster or higher for safety reasons. What did the roller coaster creators do to distinguish the latest and greatest "Bloody Devil III" from the boring old "Fire Bomber"? They couldn't do much more with motion, so they added flashing lights and dark tunnels. Then they added music and screaming sound effects. Then they added water guns to spray the riders. Soon globs of blue slime ooze from the hand rails. The roller coasters affect the riders' senses through movement, but also through sight, sound, and touch.

Amusement parks aren't the only place where this has happened. Students don't write many papers anymore; they do presentations. Though writing still has a very important place in education, it can be limiting to certain people. By adding pictures, a whole new spectrum is added for individuals who learn better by seeing rather than reading. Presenting the information orally benefits those people who learn through listening. Adding tangibleobjects, sounds, video, diagrams, interaction, and other elements ensures that the presentation reaches every possible audience with the greatest impact.

This is true in business. Meetings may have overhead projectors, slides, video, computers, physical objects, and so on. By reaching more than one sense (sight, sound, touch, and so on), the presenter is sure that he or she is most effectively reaching the audience and holding its attention.

Of course, the driving force behind many of these enhancements is theadvancement of technology-more options available to more people for less money. The point here is that technology has expanded our communication and experiences to reach more than one sense simultaneously. Instead of choosing to read, listen, or see, we have the option of doing all three at once. The buzzword referring to this is "multimedia."

Multimedia in the computer sense most often refers to the development of the CD-ROM. A "multimedia computer" will have a CD-ROM player, sound card and speakers, and a color video display. The CD-ROMs often containaudio, video, pictures, text, and other elements that can be experienced.However, the computer has taken multimedia further than television or other presentation devices. It has made a very powerful addition: interactivity. By making software interactive, the user can make choices that affect the presentation. Instead of waiting through a series of videos, pictures, or text, the user can choose what to view. He or she can make decisions that affect how the information is presented. The multimedia viewer enters a completely dif-ferent world that they control and experience...

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