Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Multimedia on Web Pages
Multimedia refers to animation, video, audio and interactive games. In the beginning, the Internet was strictly text based, but now the Web is a rich combination of text and multimedia.
New website creators assume that their website should be flashy and full of multimedia but that is not always the best direction to go in. Filling up a page with multimedia can make your page seem exciting and interesting but it can also make it feel cluttered and give a longer than average load time. Also, if your site is catering to an older demographic, the animation and games may simply be too much for them to handle.
A website that has effectively placed videos, animation and games is more engaging to the average Internet surfer. A short attention span may cause users of your website to balk at reading large chunks of text. If the information is conveyed as a short video that plays automatically using the latest streaming technology, your audience may be enticed into staying on the site longer. For example, a site like Facebook that began as primarily a text- and picture-based utility expanded largely in its audience base after adding more multimedia like interactive games and a more attractive video interface.
If you are trying to convey information about a product you're selling or a cause that you're pitching, multimedia can be extremely helpful. For instance, if you are a musician selling a music CD, you can use the multimedia of music sample MP3 files and music videos to entice listeners to buy the full product. Imagine trying to sell your CD without your audience getting to hear a sample of your work and simply reading about your music. This capacity for multimedia can allow your brand to spread and to create a larger fan base for yourself.
The simplest website to load is one that is primarily composed of text and small pictures. When you begin to place other larger items on the site like videos, the site may take longer to load. While many Internet users have extremely fast connections, there are some users that still use dial-up or have a very basic digital connection. In addition, some website users believe that every aspect of their page should involve multimedia. If you put enough videos and animation on a page, even the speediest Internet connection would require some time to load everything up. If you want the fastest website load-up possible, multimedia is not the best option for your site. Also, older users tend to have a slower connection and can be overwhelmed by excessive videos and animation. Sites catering to an older demographic should use more text and fewer videos.
Quality and Bandwidth
Even if you post a high-quality video or animation online, this does not mean that your website audience will be able to see that version. The bandwidth allocated to your site can be limited by many factors, including server issues or large amounts of traffic. This will lower the quality of your video, especially if the file size is large as it would be in something of HD quality. Quality can also be limited if your web viewers do not have the latest plug-ins for programs like Flash and QuickTime. Additionally, if your large videos are viewed more times than expected, you may have to pay extra hosting costs since you only have a limited amount of bandwidth per month. If you expect to have a large amount of traffic but do not wish to spend a lot of money on hosting, large multimedia files should be extremely limited.