Enhancing your Message
I am a strong believer that multimedia enhances your message at it engages your readers to your overall message. According to Smith (2013) “One way to instantly improve your blog content is to include different types of media. Not only will this make your posts more visually appealing and interesting, but it also brings on-page SEO benefits that will help your content rank in the SERPS” (Smith, 2013). If I am viewing a news story online I get more engaged if I am able to view visual content such as a pictures, video and audio to enhance my understanding of the article. If text is only present on a website it is not as visually appealing to me compared to that of a websites full of multimedia tools. According to Smith (2013) “People unfortunately do judge a book by its cover, so it is vitally important that you add other content in your articles to grab your readers’ attention” (Smith, 2013). When keeping multimedia tools in mind however you have to be able to balance your text with your multimedia so you are not distracting your readers from your overall message.
Using Multimedia for Effectiveness
I personally think that multimedia can be effective as long as you are using it in moderation and thinking about how your media is going to be interpreted by your readers. If there is too much auditory and audio-visual presentations on a blog or website it may hinder the cognitive understanding of the content. In the article Multimedia Effects on Processing and Perception of Online News: A study of Picture, Audio and Video Downloads (2000) sixty undergraduate students were evaluated on their perception of news content on sites that contained text, text with pictures, audio, pictures with audio and multimedia video. In the conclusion of the study Sundar (2000) states,
“In summary, results of this study suggest that audio and video downloads on news sites tend to hinder memory for news stories but enhance memory for advertisements on the site. Furthermore, it appears that the interplay of audio and picture can have significant effects on users’ perception of the site and it’s content. The addition of pictures [however], in general, serves to exaggerate the negative evaluations caused by the presence of audio downloads” (Sundar, 2000).
After reading this article it was interesting to find that audio and video can sometimes be distracting to your audience. Pictures and text however may enhance the visual appeal and understanding of your message. In order to maintain effectiveness on a website or a blog it’s important to make sure your media adds to the message of your content and further generates the understanding of your message. A simple rule of thumb when using multimedia tools is to not go “media happy” on your website and clog your content with unnecessary media. Choose media that aligns with the effectiveness of your message.
When thinking about the effectiveness of a website or blog you also need to think about visual and hearing impairments. Not everyone may be able to view a lot of text and pictures on a website or blog. According to Smith (2013) “Recording audio posts can also make your content more accessible. People with visual impairments would really appreciate it if you made it easy for them to listen to your content” (Smith, 2013). All in all in order to make an effective website writers need to consider their audience, they need to make sure their multimedia tools align with their messages and visual/audio impairments are considered when using multimedia tools.
Multimedia Tool Effectiveness
In order to see how multimedia may affect the effectiveness of a website or blog I decided to find three different multimedia tools that could either enhance or hinder the effectiveness of a blog or website.
The first tool I decided to try against media effectiveness is YouTube. YouTube is a website that allows for users to post videos on different content such as live tutorials, bands, funny videos etc. Below is a video made by ForkNPlate.com that shows a user how to make an omelet (ForkNPlate, 2013).
This video could be beneficial for someone looking to use YouTube to explain a process or tutorial by mixing audio and visual content with text. You want to make sure the video will enhance your story or blog post. In the article Add Value to Your Website, Miranda (2006) states, “In any case, it is important to be sure the added content somehow provides information that can’t be presented in any other way and that the material is compatible with a variety of browsers and platforms” (Miranda, 2006). The only thing that the writer would want to keep in mind is not to include too many video and audio clips that could be distracting to the reader, which in turn could ruin the effectiveness of the blog.
Podcasts allow for bloggers and web users to recreate reoccurring broadcasts of recorded interviews, narrations or radio-style talk shows. An example of a popular podcast is TED Radio Hour Show that allows for speakers to share their information on inventions, approaches to old problems, and new ways to think and create (TED Radio Hour, 2015). Podcasts may be beneficial towards media effectiveness if a writer wants to provide proof of evidence of an interview or if they have regular talk shows. They could also use it for those who have audio impairments. Podcasts can be created through Audacity and Garage band with a computer and microphone. By having users “subscribe” to a monthly or even weekly broadcasts this could increase the followers of your blog. I believe Podcasts can create media effectiveness but writers need to be wary not to bombard their reader with too much information in long Podcast segments so readers do not lose interest.
PowerPoint presentations can be beneficial for someone looking to describe a process, if they want to share multiple pictures or present bullet points on a selected topic. According to Smith (2013) “Many people create PowerPoint presentations when they wants to explain things in a visual way. Why not turn your presentation into a slide show and let people flick through it at their own pace” (Smith, 2013). This could help with media effectiveness with explaining complex presentations so the reader is able to understand main points of a discussion. I saw this as a great tool for media effectiveness. Below is a PowerPoint I created last semester on the role of communication and technology.
What I have gathered through using multimedia tools is that they can be effective; as long as the writer is paying attention to their overall message of their blog, making sure their media isn’t too much and it aligns with the understanding of their content.
How to make an Omelet. (2013, November 11). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A0LEVimr44BVwvoAJCcnnIlQ;_ylc=X1MDMTM1MTE5NTY4NwRfcgMyBGZyA3locy1tb3ppbGxhLTAwMgRncHJpZANFNV9XMmJ3Z1NZbXJITlVXczhTa21BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMyBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzMx
Miranda, J. (2006). Add Value to Your Website. American Music Teacher, 56(2), 64-65.
Smith, M. (2013, March 28). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-your-site
Sundar, S. (2000). Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, audio and video downloads. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Pg. 480. Retrieved June 17th, 2015 from http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf
TED Radio Hour. (2015). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://www.podcasts.com/npr_ted_radio_hour_podcast