Saturday, 29 May 2010

Visual perspectives and their impact on iMedia projects

This week we were introduced to a new visual perspective from a client who is a jeweller. In the past we have worked with clients to produce iMedia projects across such diverse areas as digital TV switchover and fashion. But here, the need for close-up, clear images of the jewellery actually showed up blemishes of the hand-worked metals. We didn't notice these as we were concentrating on photographing detailed, well-lit images. The client was easy-going and just said that she’d never realised the blemishes were there despite working under lights and using strong lenses to produce the pieces. Actually, she also decided that they were good because they demonstrated the pieces were hand-crafted, so although we said we could Photoshop them out (ah, yes, what did we ever do without it?), she decided against this to remain true to the image.

It got me thinking however about how often in the past a lot of controversy in projects has been caused by clashes in visual perspective where the differences between how the client views things and how we view the same things were not so evident and appeared subjective. I wondered what the latest theory was on visual literacy and embarked on some research.

Did you realise we've been part of a massive revolution where visual overtakes textual intelligence as technologies such as the Internet, video games, CDs, DVDs and social networks become the communicative media of choice? There remains a gulf between how visual literacy is measured/rated in people and how their intelligence in text environments is measured. Our educational measures lag behind and don't even fit the emerging capabilities and skills used in electronic media. Well, I’m not surprised!

All this leads to how we understand and value other perspectives. Do we stick to what we know and feel happy with, and therefore insist we are right, or do we hold back, wonder if there is another valid perspective, and compromise? Maybe there is more to the saying the client is always right than we realise!

For those who want to drill deeper into this massive field of visual literacy, here are a few current online refs. Enjoy the ride.

Theories of Visual Perception: Problems and Perspectives by Professor Alan Johnson of University College London - bit outdated but academic historical text-based overview of visual literacy theories to the end of last century.

A Perspective on 3D Visual Illusions in Scientific American - makes you think about visual images in a new way, with pertinent illustrations.

Digital Technologies and performative pedagogies: Repositioning the visual by Kathryn Grushka and Debra Donnelly of Newcastle University in Australia - pretty heavily academic but has meaning for us iMedia lot.

Is technology producing a decline in critical thinking and analysis? from PhysOrg - a bit of the alternative point of view about what visuals do and don’t do for us.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Your UK iMedia salary in these uncertain times

Do you think your skills are undervalued? Have you morphed your role in your company through experience without anyone noticing? What do you think you are worth?

Now and again it's a valuable exercise to try and understand how your salary fits with the average for your role. It may be reassuring but it can be a shock that may prompt you to think about moving, or educating the right people in your company by getting them to take a look. Mind you, a surprising number of you (three-quarters) would forego a salary rise for a supportive and interesting work environment apparently. Would this include you? See the paragraph under 4 in 10 media players unaffected by recession at

There is the age-old problem of what you call yourself since we've griped for years about the lack of role definitions in iMedia, and this means that it is hard to compare like with like. Do you actually have a job title that makes sense?

Still, it's good to get an overview and one of the best matches we've found is at

They also allow you to look at related charts according to experience, employer type and location which are useful since these do affect figures, of course. Don't worry if you're a contractor as they offer a chart for you too.

Times are probably going to get harder before they stabilise again so you may need to factor that in to your thinking as well. Let’s hope the great majority of you are pleasantly surprised.

Have fun.

Monday, 17 May 2010

RACI Chart and iMedia Project Management

Firstly, a quick apology for being 'off-air' for the past week. We inadvertently fell foul of Google's robotic anti-spam mechanism on Blogger and were 'disabled' as a result. Getting this reviewed by a human being turned out to be a process of which Kafka would be proud but reviewed it was and here we are again.

It's been a while since we looked at the specifics of filling out a RACI Chart (Responsible, Accountable, Consult and Inform) although I had to revise the concept for an enquiry about our Stakeholder Management training course last week. We suggest that this tool can really help project managers at the beginning of a project once you've a strong idea of what the project is about and who's involved i.e. you've done your stakeholder analysis both internal and external.

Often the project manager's role is a dumping ground for the responsibilities and accountabilities of other management. So if you've ever suffered in that dreaded lonely field where the fingers point at you and you are thinking. '... but that had nothing to do with me!', then maybe a RACI Chart can help. Essentially, it defines roles and responsibilities in a clear unambiguous way. Ah! Yes, the catch is getting all of you to agree on the role definitions!! So if you get the definitions of the roles very clear in your mind, you will lead others to realise precisely what their role is for a particular stage in the project.

Paul Ritchie does a nice job in finding definitions of Accountability and Responsibility in the Crossderry blog 26th April - his simplified definitions certainly impress me!
  • Responsible = Those who do the work in question
  • Accountable = The one who signs off on the work that Responsible provides
And, if you want to understand more about drafting a RACI Matrix, Ginny Edwards in, Constructing a RACI Matrix will give you plenty of tips. I know she seems to cover variations on the RACI Matrix but not nearly as well as Wapedia – be sure to scroll to uncover the alternatives.

These alternatives may help you if your way of working and assignment of roles in your organisation differs from the usual suspects (RACI). It's nice to have someone else's confirmation that organisations differ and your organisation may be so locked into its ways that they won't shift and would rather stick with one or two names for comfort. Yeah! Been there, done that!