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Benedict Nguyen Kurup EHRD 475 – 599

Multimedia Artifact Critique: Home Depot and AECT Multimedia artifacts are a crucial and integral part of reaching out to an audience of learners and ensuring the quality of information learnt in addition to their ability to learn it in the first place! In the organization I visited in person; Home Depot, they seem to have it down to a tee, using various artifacts to create a self-directed learning experience that is enriching, satisfying and creative! Perhaps one of my favorite sections in Home Depot is the paint supply area. This is due to the immense selection of colors, hues and products they carry. One would think that a large amount of items and products would overencumber the average consumer, or one who knows not about how to paint nor anything related, but Home Depot has managed to teach it’s customers how to teach themselves and inform themselves enough to be confident in purchasing a product. There are at least 5 to 6 different installations in the paint supply area; a kiosk or two, interactive touch screens and product demonstrations and even panels of otherwise obscure definitions such as gloss, semi enamel and so forth. The first one that struck my attention was very simple; it was a set of light bulbs over a small painted wall. The three different switches served to explain to the customer that lighting affects what color is shown off of a painted surface. If you stripped away the informational panel next to it, you could learn without explanation the purpose of this kiosk

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and realize that you must take your home lighting into thought during a painting project. This was well thought out and consumers that used it, spent a few minutes playing with the display and seemed to like how informative it was. Another item provided was a touchscreen computer. When activated, it gave the user very gorgeous pictures of different rooms painted with different styles and various colors. The richness of media definitely came through and through its many menus and options (which were very conducive and helpful,) it taught customers how to paint lavishly, but in a good way! It gave basic color combinations that seemed to “fit” together, in addition to this, it output many videos that gave an even larger “oomph” and this particular station was very well used. On all of these, the text and font used were succinct enough to capture the attention of children but informative enough for an adult to confidently make a purchase or decision. I did not recognize the specific fonts used, but they were a fine balance of functionality and form; in essence it did not lean too much toward Comic Sans nor a Console font. All in all, the experience I had just in that one segment of the store, as well as the other customers, was very nice. Information was useful, tangible and easy to grasp, and the artifacts used were spot on in how they taught and trained consumers. Unfortunately, the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) website, did not fair as well. On the homepage of the site, a rapidly changing banner is the most apparent and visual aspect. It is very informative, but perhaps too much so, as the automatically switching banner goes much too fast for me to read; and I was an English major. The banners themselves are somewhat gaudy, as they are clustered and crammed with different flashy images and type fonts. This comes at a disadvantage to those with more sleek and modern interfaces, but is still useable. All the links open to new pages; ones that aren’t housed in the AECT site themselves, this makes it kind of awkward for users as it forces them to outside

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pages, instead of a more appropriate “frame site� where the new website and significance is explained then linked. As it entails, each new site has an entirely different feel, look and navigation to it, causing a confusion when jumping from the AECT homepage to the links on the banners. Even more odd is how some of the banners link directly to PDF files, without warning to users who may not have PDF reading capabilities, nor again, providing a sort of frame site, serving as a proxy to the document. While the navigational layout of the site is useful, the pages within the navigational menus, such as Forums, Documents and so on, differ greatly, and are not uniform. This website does have a good amount of media for the audience of adults, but needs more refinement in structure, as the current structure is not very favorable for it’s media. A possible fixing up of the images themselves and consistency would also help. In the end, for AECT, they are on the right path for using multimedia artifacts in a positive and helpful way, but they definitely have a distance to go before perfection.

Ind Project 9