In the past, content was produced primarily via text. Though additional elements have been added, text remains vital to multimedia applications. This is because text is still an effective way to communicate. In multimedia, text is used as headlines, subtitles, and captions. In addition to supplying content, text is used to give directions and communicate information, text-based menus and buttons help guide users through the multimedia application, and electronic books, magazines, and reference materials still rely on text to inform and educate. Text doesn't have to be boring. Emphasis can be added by varying the font style, size, or color. Special effects and drop shadows that give the feeling of three dimensions can be added using tools like Microsoft WordArt. In fact, three dimensional, animated text can also be created using modeling and animation programs. There really are no limits because text can be treated like any other graphic element. Text can also serve as a link that allows the user to expand the existing text and learn more about a topic. Hypertext is text that allows you nonlinear access to information. In other words, hypertext links automatically transport you to related information without requiring you to get to that information by following a set path. These links are similar to a cross-reference. By clicking on a hot word or link, you have access to information on the topics you are most interested in exploring. Hypertext gives you immediate access to an entire macrocosm of related and connected information. Once you have used hypertext and had a wealth of information at your fingertips, reverting back to linear text can be quite dull. Therefore, in addition to standard text, hypertext also plays a significant role in multimedia applications.
Designing With Text When designing with text, there are several key terms with which you should be familiar. First, you should be aware that there are different types of fonts. TrueType fonts are fairly consistent from computer screen to computer screen and from printer to printer. TrueType fonts come with the application software. Print fonts are fonts that are specific to the printer or printers connected to the compute Because the type of printer connected to computers significantly differs, print fonts may not be available from one computer to another. Screen fonts depend on the monitor and may not appear the same from one computer to another. Other terms you should be familiar with are serif and sans serif. Serif for have feet or tails. Sans serif fonts do not have feet Because our eyes have become accustomed to reading serif fonts and using the little feet to track, you should use serif fonts for larger bodies of texts. Sans serif fonts should be used for headings, titles, and callouts because they are more likely to draw attention. Because much of our text in multimedia applications is quite short, sans serif fonts are used quite extensively in multimedia applications. The last two terms have to do with spacing. Kerning is the term used to identify the amount of space between characters. Leading is the amount of space between lines of text. Kerning and leading are dependent upon the font size the use of the text, and both are important in making text readable.
Text Guidelines From a design perspective, when you use text in multimedia applications, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Convert text to bitmapped graphics to ensure that the fonts you wish to appear in the project will look the same on the user's monitor
- Align headings and bodies of text at the left to make it easier for readers to follow.
- Use text colors that provide a strong contrast against the background.
- Use serif fonts for large bodies of text and sans serif fonts for titles, headings, and callouts.
- Keep blocks of text shorter than 60 characters.
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