Exenor S.r.l. Milano - Italia
 
   

Case studies

MMHCA

Client
International co-production partially funding by the IMPACT 2 programme of the European Union.

Background
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.

Aim
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 European languages;
  • 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 CD-Rom;
  • to rationalise production and distribution costs, having just one packaging for all Europe.

Creativity
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 choices;
  • 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 kiosk;
  • 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.

Implementation
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 in business.

Used Media
CD-Rom plus colour user manual in 6 languages.

Outcomes
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.

Information Value
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 title.
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.

Infodomus

Client
Exenor private venture

Background
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.

Aim
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.

Creativity
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.

Implementation
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 in Infodomus.
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.

Outcomes
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.

Information Value
Being without business or commercial aims, the included information are complete and fair and give the essence of the explained subject.

 

 

 

University of Milan-Bicocca
Infodomus
Radio
Flyer
Domustech
Centro Nazionale Studi Manzoniani
University of Milan
University of Milan - Department of Biology
Società Italiana Fisiologia Vegetale
MMHCA
Favole Vive
Le Scienze
Publitalia '80
Avenir
Netsystem