Text on new job profiles arising in the media field, produced in 2002 for the magazine the muse apprentice guild
text alexandra reill | vienna 2002
production kanonmedia | vienna 2002
publisher august highland / the muse apprentice guild | new york city | us | 10/2002
MMD ON THE JOB
The expertise required for a multimedia development team can be split into four broad categories:
(1) business / administrative,
(2) instructional / artistic,
(3) programming / technical,
A clear definition of the new job profiles required might be helpful:
(1) Project lead / manager: Without a principal understanding of the conceptional as well as technical aspects of a multimedia production, the project manager cannot play his traditional role of being head of all organizational and financial matters. He has to take all final decisions concerning client relationship, contract interpretation and negotiation, project scheduling, as well as team leadership.
Marketing representative: A good marketing expert is indispensable for effective acquiring, sponsoring, and fundraising.
Instructional designer: In all matters of concept creation and structural content, the instructional designer is responsible for directing the systematic and technical course of project developers, graphic artists, and other team members. He controls all related work processes. If the multimedia team produces an instructional piece, he is responsible for the effectivity of the program. The specification of instructional strategies as well as the evaluation and development of assigned multimedia modules using specific authoring tools selected for the project belong to the important tasks of an instructional designer. Creativity plays an important role, but technical experience necessary for effective implementation has become a major feature for the designer.
(2) Art director: The term art director stems from the field of Public Relations. The art director evaluates and ensures that visual material is produced in consistency with the creative concept agreed upon. Questions of purpose, style and tone of the application are concerned. He always watches closely the creative process and reacts immediately to changes occurring during the phase of production.
Screen designer / graphic artist: The term screen designer defines in most of the cases a traditional graphic designer who has complemented his creative design skills with technical knowledge of authoring tools, graphic – related software and object – oriented programming languages used to design visual material, screen layouts, animations, in smaller productions even sounds and video. If the multimedia production includes complex design issues, the efficiency of his work can depend on the material produced by photographers, video specialists, and sound engineers. In smaller teams, the instructional designer is the screen designer.
Quality assurance specialist: “No products should leave the multimedia development organization without significant input from these guardians of quality. The quality assurance specialists should be involved early in the project so as to enable the sharing of design issues and potential areas of concern. It is sound business practice to proactively include individuals who can look for potential inconsistencies among developers and questionable instructional approaches, as well as pounce on the ‘Typo’ that no one else has found.”
mary f. and j. alan whiteside
Software engineer / programmer: Not every multimedia production needs a software engineer or even a technician, especially if an authoring systems specialist is member of the team. Nevertheless, maintaining the mmd – system as well as troubleshooting in case of technical hard – or software problems might be a work – intensive task which only a programmer might be able to fulfil.
(4) SME / reviewer : Subject matter experts are often employees of the client company. SMEs not only supply the development team with useful information on content – related subjects, they also can give enormous insight into the special needs and wishes of the target audience. They can represent a helpful guidance about effective presentational strategies.
Photographer: A photographer might play a crucial role in the multimedia production as – at the time being – the majority of visual applications is based on photo material.
Audio / video specialist: If the multimedia product shall include sophisticated audio and / or video parts, the necessary material is usually produced by film / video production companies and / or sound engineering studios. In certain cases, music needs to be composed by musicians. A professional video shooting team can have numerous members: project manager, director, author, actor / s, speaker / s, camera team, location and props manager, costume and makeup designer, sound / video editor, etc…
Client’s marketing expert: Before a product finally leaves the development team, it should be thoroughly tested. Although much of the testing is done by the team members themselves / including quality assurance specialists /, the new product should undergo a pilot – test in regard to entry – level skills, knowledge and emotional reaction of the target audience. Usually market researchers and / or the client’s organization complete this process of analysis. Corporate culture is often really different from entity to entity. An efficient development team always takes into consideration the culture of the client’s organization as well as the disposition of the target audience. Many companies have a very specific set of technical terms or stylistic conventions which the multimedia project should reflect.
An efficient multimedia product should be the result of a distinct concept implementation through the creative input of all expertise necessary. *
* Contents and all citations were found in: Mary F. and J. Alan Whiteside: The Ultimate Multimedia Handbook, edited by Jessica Keyes, McGraw-Hill 1997.
MMD ON THE JOB published in
— the muse apprentice guild / nyc / us / 02