Grindstone Island

Introduction to interactive design and multimedia publishing
July 15 - 21, 2001

Main Lodge






Xavier Perrot, Instructor at the Sorbonne and the Ecole du Louvre

Sophie Krikorian, scénariste au service des expositions du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle


This workshop, which is being offered for both French and English speakers by bilingual instructors, will outline what is at stake when designing a multimedia project, with focus on content, graphic design and interactivity. An assessment and criticism of selected titles (on-line/off- line/stand alone applications) will help participants understand what can be considered as "best practice" and "worse traps" in multimedia development. Specific exercises and case studies will be given to master the main concepts behind interactive design, multimedia project management and electronic publishing. Attendees may bring in their own projects for group evaluation and/or specific advice from the instructors. At the end of the seminar three groups of participants will compete to draft the best "Grindstone's treasure hunt website" design.

Target audience

This workshop is aimed at professionals who may find themselves in charge of multimedia design or project management of interactive productions, but who may not have mastered all the required skills (content editing, graphic design, technology assessment). The seminar can also be viewed as a think-tank for people already in charge of real projects.

Learning objectives

Participants will learn:
  • the most important principles of "on-screen" graphics and text dynamic layout
  • the main concepts to design and present an interactive project
  • the basic tools to manage a multimedia production
  • the specific criteria for the critique and analysis of on-line/off- line products.

Suggested readings/activities for registrants prior to workshop

BARTHES (Roland) - Le texte et l'image - Edition Paris Musées - 1986

DENIS (Michel) - Image et Cognition - Puf - Psychologie d'aujourd'hui - 1994

KAHN (Paul), LENK (Krzysztof) - Mapping Web Sites - Rotovision

KAPLAN (Daniel) - Les médias électroniques - Dunod - 1993

LIVINGSTON (Alan) - Dictionnaire du graphisme - Thames & Hudson - 1998

SIEGEL (David) - Secrets des sites WEB qui réussissent. Gestion de projet sur le World Wide Web, traduit de l'américain par Gabriel Otman (titre original : "Secrets of Successful Web Sites"). - Paris : Simon & Schuster Macmillan (France), 1997. - 288 pp.

SIEGEL (David) - Créer des sites web spectaculaires, traduit de l'américain par Gabriel Otman (titre original : "Creating Killer Web Sites, second edition"). - Paris : Simon & Schuster Macmillan (France), 1998. - 306 pp.

Course Outline

Session 1
Digital Interactive Multimedia Production Tools

This lecture will present the main results of a 1995 international study, and its subsequent comprehensive model proposal for multimedia production. This model points out the key points of multimedia design and management methods. Students will be asked to comment this model, in light of their owen experience/no-experience, while introducing themself. The instructors will point out what has changed and what remains essential in the last years.
Session 2
Interactive Design Evaluation

The instructors will explain the basic techniques and criterion for analyzing the design of interactive pieces. A selection of titles will be benchmarked, compared and presented by groups of students.
Session 3
Graphic design and Information system structure

Instructors will introduce concepts and techniques for designing the graphical aspects of an interactive piece (website, cd-rom, kiosk). Various modes of presenting information and navigation structures will be shown. Small groups of students will work on a set of samples, and present it to the whole class. Instructors will comment and advise on these presentations.
Session 4
Cases studies from a set of French ethnographic CD-ROMs

A 2001 "Ecole du Louvre" student did an interesting analysis of the "multimedia speech" of a set of ethnography CD-ROMs. Her work and conclusions will be presented and discussed by the instructors. Students will be asked to perform the same kind of analysis on submitted corpus of websites and CD-ROMs.

Session 5
Grindstone Treasure Hunt [GTH] Brainstorming Session

Three teams of students will be formed to compete for the best "Grindstone Treasure Hunt" website design. Common specifications and design rules will be provided and explained to the students. Instructors will suggest deliverable formats, and help team members through a first brainstorming session.

Session 6
Typology and critique of Museums websites

Instructors will introduce a typology of museum websites. Main criteria for design evaluation will be confirmed. Groups of students will analyze selected websites according to these criteria and typology. A public presentation of the students' critiques of the websites will be the starting point of a debate.

Session 7
Design exercise / Part 1

Students will be assigned an "exercise case" or use "their own suggested case" of multimedia project. Instructors will help them to draft the basic editorial intention statement, the information system structure, the graphic design principles, the production planning and a cost estimate.

Session 8
Grindstone Treasure Hunt [GTH] Design Session

Instructors will give the criteria that the "Jury" will apply to the GTH proposals. Competing teams will be asked to select reference models on the Internet in various domains: graphic design, interactivity modes... and possibly business models (!). Instructors will help teams choose the best from these reference models to document their design files. Students will perform the "Session 7" design exercises to their "Grindstone Treasure Hunt" projects.

Session 9
Design exercise / Part 2

Instructors will help students groups to complete their draft design documents. Each group will give a presentation of their proposals, to be discussed with the whole class and the instructors.

Session 10
Grindstone Treasure Hunt Website Contest

Students will complete their design proposal and benefit from a last instructor consultancy. Projects will then be presented to a formal Jury composed of: a) the instructors b) any living creature present on the Island that agrees to take part in our crazy game!
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