2013 Conference Uncategorized

Applying Progressive Enhancements to Multimedia Content


Nikki Massaro Kauffman, Interface Designer, Penn State World Campus,  and Heather Dawson, Instructional Designer, Penn State World Campus presented MCS#8 Applying Progressive Enhancements to Multimedia Content to describe how they approach the myriad requests for video production. Their presentation was focused on online course content, but their approach works for any project where text, images and video pieces may intersect.

So, what is progressive enhancement? It builds content for the least capable device available.  What do people want us to do? Create everything for the latest and greatest gadget, but then it has to be degraded to work on the lowest common denominator.


Instead, focus on creating great HTML code that will work for everyone. Same for video. Most people ask for non-accessible and difficult to process videos (ie, voice over powerpoint, long lectures, tiny graphics) that are not helpful for user. Instead consider progressive media:

Text > Text and Images > Video

This process of focusing on the text first allows students to get the information that they need. Video should only be “moving” in that it can trigger an emotion or response.

Reasons to avoid making videos:

  1. Content is low impact or has a short shelf life don’t make video. Screen shots better where tech changes often
  2. Guest speaker at the live event. This is like sending a photo of the cake at the party. Unless you can edit this properly don’t do it.
  3. Don’t show a lecture verbatim. Too passive outside the hall. Chunk it with interactive things or don’t do at all.

The average student reads 250-350 words per minutes. The average person speak at 150-175 words per minute. If no captions to scan you can really frustrate the audience. Plus text is searchable, it can get behind fire walls, it can be printed and it boosts SEO.  Final thought: Video is labor intensive. Text is sexy, it is the most accessible and portable.

Photo Credit: <a href=””>Jesper Rønn-Jensen</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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