International co-production partially funding by the IMPACT 2 programme
of the European Union.
At the beginning of '90 multimedia was at down: the technical features
of computers were very poor (50 MHz CPU, 4 MB RAM, video memory 1 MB),
sound cards and CD-Rom players were optional and expensive devices (hundreds
of euros), there were not production standards, but on the whole it was
possible to start with the conceiving and implementation of multimedia
titles on CD-Rom, even if with many restrictions.
The main difficulties were anyway the small dimensions of single national
European markets - both for the different languages and the inadequate
diffusion of proper computers - and the newness of the media, which did
not allow any assessment about users interest and acceptance.
The project had several aims:
- to stimulate the birth of a multimedia products market;
- to enlarge the reference market, thanks to translations in the main
- to involve more categories of final users, tanks to the different
included programs and to the large amount of available information,
which allow different educative or entertainment paths;
- to allow subordinate ways of use, like aid for foreign languages
study, thanks to the different language versions included in the same
- to rationalise production and distribution costs, having just one
packaging for all Europe.
The study of interface and interactivity was indeed the main challenge,
for the following reasons:
- the poor hardware of user computers of that time restricted the artistic
- the same interface had to be immediately intelligible by different
users, both for age and customs (different countries);
- there were not accepted customs about the use of icons, navigation
paths and so on;
- the application had to run both as single user program and as museum
- the hypertext solution bore to the user the risk "to lose the
bearings", so the need to let user know all the time his/her position
in the application.
Many solutions were implemented and tested, using different
authoring systems, before choosing the final solution.
The project lasted 2 years altogether: 6 months for preliminary studies,
agreements on rights, market surveys and prototype implementation, 6 months
of valuation and finally about one year of final development. It can look
like a very long time according to today standards, but it must be remembered
that it was one of the first European multimedia productions.
Everything was developed co-ordinating the work of several teams in Denmark,
Italy, Germany and Spain, using English as working language. This project
was also one of the very first uses of Internet (to exchange files and
information by e-mail), when this technology was already in an absolute
pioneering phase and no one of the present Internet service provider was
CD-Rom plus colour user manual in 6 languages.
The interface and the interactivity model are still valid after many years,
confirming the effectiveness of the choosing solutions.
All technical aims had been achieved and in 1995 the title won the BIMA
Cross Categories Award.
The whole project was carried out with only 4 international plenary meetings
and with a fundamental use of electronic communication technologies, being
also one of the first successful cases of telecommuting.
The used material comes largely from the originals kept in the Hans Christian
Andersen Museum of Odense (DK), or it was purposely developed for this
The whole contents had been examined and validated by a group of H.C.
Andersen scholars and experts, assuring the accuracy of the given information.
Exenor private venture
Internet is a wide mine of information, mostly free. On other hand they
are, largely, poorly usable.
There are many reasons: information is displayed in inconsistent and unorganised
ways, there is no certainty of correctness of the given data, many web
sites favour the appearance satisfaction of web designers (e.g. all the
useless animation or the huge images which lengthen the loading time of
pages) instead of user usability.
Furthermore many sites of this kind use free servers which, in exchange,
flood the user with advertising pop-ups or other interstitial advertisements,
making browsing even unpleasant.
The reasons of this situation are various - starting enthusiasm which
vanishes and subsequent web site neglect, poor knowledge of media and
of its language, misuse of the graphical power offered by HTML authoring
programs - but the outcome is always the same: a huge amount of web sites
to see and throw away, before finding what are you looking for.
In the name itself - Infodomus in fact means "the hose of information"
- shows the aim of the initiative: to contribute to the diffusion of selected
and organised information in Internet, implementing and hosting thematic
informative web sites which arise, for pleasure, from the hobby, cultural
and public interests of many persons.
Infodomus furthermore acts as incubator, allowing to test the interest
of people about a topic, and then eventually developing it further making
a web site with its own domain name.
Each hosted web site is totally autonomous, with its specific features
and a customised graphic aspect, according the topic. All web sites are
supported technically and with creativity by Exenor.
First of all the basic requirements are weighed: interesting subject for
enough people, there is not yet a fine web site (both technically and
as contents) on the same subject, quality and quantity of material to
be published in Internet, right owner on the material.
Then there is the study of customised graphic aspect, content layout and
web site functions, and the development of it. Next there is the test,
which check both contents and functional aspects, before its publishing
The aim of last step is to let people know the new web site and see it.
To do that, the web site is pointed out to search engines, press, associations
which deal with the same topic and other complementary web sites.
The mini web-sites hosted by Infodomus have an amount of visits higher
than that of many dedicated web sites and in many cases are in or near
the top position in result pages of search engines.
Being without business or commercial aims, the included information are
complete and fair and give the essence of the explained subject.