HAS INTERACTIVE MEDIA BECOME MORE ABOUT STRUCTURE THAN SURFACE? Knowledge is power ... the more you understand about this fast changing industry before you apply for courses or for a job, the greater your chance of moving in a positive direction. Interactive media is a tough industry to be involved in. Momentary glamour and excitement has to be earn’t through weeks of agonising production. It is an industry in which your passion has to drive you through the hard work and sleepless nights for the enormous personal satisfaction. It is diﬁcult to diﬁne interactive media as everything is moving so fast in this area it is foolish to try. This new media is distinguished from traditional media by the addition of interactivity. The ability for the user or viewer to make coices about the way they consume information and view media. Interactivity is the marriage of computer and telecommunications technology. The process is radicaly altering and the nature and scope of the media we are used to. This new inustry is creating many career opportunities for individuals with a diversity of skills.
One of the biggest problems facing people wishing to enter the industry is how, and what is the best route. What do employers want to see from new employees, how does the industry work day to day? Neil Aberdeen, head of TUI Interactive, with experience at the lead of the ﬁeld has given an insight into the industry, and his personal opinions on the current state and future of interactive media design. People have always been interested in working ‘In the media’, and the growth of relevant courses has hugley increased the number of hopefuls who approach employers for work each year . The advice and knowledge of the industry from consulated insiders will help any prospective employee with a serious interest about establishing a career. Experienced technicians, programme /ﬁlm makers are ﬁnding interesting and well paid work in this new media. Newcomers are discovering that TV companies are merging with internet providers, and ﬁlm makers may use computers rather than cameras. The world had changed forever.
Employees > Division of Labour
The 2000 Bubble Effect
The key to a successful team is for the creative and technical individuals to work together to understand the needs and constraints of each other in order to develop a converged product. Teams are made up of several positions, such as senior and junior designers and even science graduates can become good technical employees.
In the interactive media field the year 2000 is known as the heart of the bubble. Companies were so eager to produce as much work as possible they would hire anybody down the street just so they could meet the production demand. There was no way they could loose money. This buble has since died down, but it is thought this may be coming back.
Corporate Environment > Company Structures
Employees > Education
There are absolutely no rules in the interactive media market. Employees come from a range of academic and experienced backgrounds. Most people are educated to at least degree level although many just have vocational qualifications. The general consensus is that individuals have more broad based qualifications and an interest in more than technology.
Put simply there are two different types, you can have a company with lots of employees to produce vast quantities of work quickly. Alternatively you can have a small design team that allows the client to communicate with the employees creating the designs, not just the heads of the companies.
The Future > Competition EMPLOYEES
More and more people are becoming aware of design and the software and equipment is becoming more readily available to them, this allows more people to work from home and be more flexible, creating a more competitive industry.
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How difﬁcult was it to ﬁnd your ﬁrst job after graduating?
The Future > Growth Areas The prospect of digital TV creates new interactive opportunities for designers and customers alike. Client applications will allow fellow employees within one company to talk to each other through such programs as instant messengers.
Technology > Digital TV In 2008 analogue TV will be turned off and there will only be digital TV. The BBC and the government have a single vision for a digital nation. Soon there will be no more scheduling and this will certainly change the face of interactive TV.
Technology > Gaming The games market is still in dominance by boys and young men. UK game companies are seen as centers of excellence both in terms of technical quality and in sales. Interactivity will allow consumers to play alongside or against real people via the TV or the computer, creating new media experiences.
Clients > User testing
This is essential when on a budget; real users illuminate whole parts of the design the creative team do not notice.
Interactive Media Design
In a good year anyone down the street could be hired by anybody because there is no way you could loose money. My brother works for a company, he hates them. He wants to get sacked but they wont. They want to hire more people not sack people. What do you look for in new employees?
It is thought in the industry; that interactive media design companies are on the wane because they cannot see a way for more integrated design. Corporate companies would like brochures so why not just do a brochure?
Creative people, whose design style is well structured. I’ve employed some designers who were just autistic, it made it more enjoyable having such creative people. But the current lot are a paranoid bunch, strange, very strange. Well not all of them but some of them! What is the favourate job you have worked on? I think because of my personality I just remember the ones I hated. Which job was the worst to work on?
Design > Structure vs Design There is often a struggle to find a balance between designs that functions coherently but sill has something cutting edge and creative about it. Sometimes it is just not feasible to have features that are so original, they just wont allow the design to work.
Clients don’t always go for the cheapest option, they want a professional product and they always seem more than willing to pay for that.
Halifax, I was bored with them. They were difﬁcult, troublesome and from Yorkshire. But a word of advice, even if you dislike the client, don’t tell them to fuck off, it makes bad business sense. How do you go about ﬁnding clients? It’s all word of mouth. We’ve never done any advertising. Do you ﬁnd the industry competitive?
Companies can advertise thought many different forms, such as the web, business cards and exhibitions. Companies can sign up to advertising agencies to help find them work, but this does not guarantee work. Clients > Winning Clients > Word of Mouth A lot of work is gained through the reputation of the company through out the different areas of the industry. Companies and clients can work with each other for a long time meaning advertising is not needed. Clients > Winning Clients > Pitching Once a company gets hold of a brief from a client they will create a pitch to show to the client. This can take a lot of time and money, because you are competing against other companies you are never guaranteed to be successful.
What sort of qualiﬁcations and skills does the industry look for in new employees?
The Future > Integrated Design
Clients > Expectations
Clients > Winning Clients > Advertising
I didn’t ever plan to get a job, after university I spent 5 years getting drunk and practicing Libertarian politics. My fantasy was never to get a job, it was only my wife who forced me to work, I still resent her for that.
It is competitive and I have recently discovered it is intensely corrupt. Recently we have been forced to share one of our clients, because one guy was screwing their account manager! Disgusting. Would you ever expand the business?
It is thought now that innovation is over because it is now very dull compared to what it was. Innovation can still be interesting in terms of the content but there are now very hard fought over rules on what is a good website and what is a useful website.
Design > Meeting Clients Needs
As with all design fields you create many ideas, some of which some of which are tried and trusted and some are original, It is well known in the field that the client will always choose your least favourite design, but if the clients likes it its there final decision.
I have limited ambitions, I don’t understand anything about the business, and I don’t have the bottle to do it. I’m bored with the industry, Innovation is over, and work is very dull. Do you enjoy your job? The short answer is no, I ﬁnd it tedious and boring. I am fed up with new technology, and most of all website, all clients want these days is a website with a ﬂash bloody intro.