Thursday, 23 June 2011

Types of Interactive Media Projects

With the increase in platform availability from web, mobile, and iTV, and the widening of use from business to social media, the range and type of interactive media projects has increased dramatically over the last few years.

This places an added burden on developers since the type of project together with its intended audience shapes the relevant content and interactivity (interface). The platforms dictate their own interface limitations on top of the concept of relevance as well. So, the mix of decisions has escalated, the work with the client to define the scope of the project has splintered, the need for a strong project management hand in the developers has increased.

We had problems enough to define the type of interactive projects in a business context a few years ago. In the end we took a project management stance looking at the context in which they succeeded and what clients had found going wrong. This included things such as the objectives of the business changing from the agreed objectives during the lifetime of the project so that although the project was completed according to the original scope, time and budget, it didn't then meet with the changed business/market direction. We highlighted other dilemmas where the developers knew more about the interactive market needs than the clients, but the clients didn't listen and then the ultimate project was found by them not to work in the market as they wanted. Finally, we admitted that sometimes projects don't succeed because the users find them too problematic to use. This might occur because the clients dictated the interactive interface without understanding or trialling use, or that the developers didn't stress this as an absolute so that their design didn't function as it should.

We went on to define the type of project an interactive company does according to where their time was spent. This fell under the categories: client, bread and butter, investment projects, Maintenance projects, quick fix, R and D, Good will, Pitches/tenders. (See Chapter 1 of Managing Interactive Media: Project management for Web and Digital Media.)

How one categorises the type of project depends on many factors. Although our concept remains good in principle, it needs expanding perhaps. But where you spend your time and effort might still work for you as a company.

The only other place we can hope to see a definition of project types might lie in the categories of awards put forward by the interactive associations. Take a quick look at these because each awards group defines them very differently and/or concentrate on particular aspects of development. It's fascinating – well we think so. Maybe it'll encourage you to enter some of your projects for awards. Many categories are still open for 2011. Good luck.
  • BIMA (British Interactive Media Association)
  • IMA (Interactive Media Awards)
  • IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group)
  • Europrix

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