As broadband has become increasingly common, more and more websites are starting to utilise multimedia content. For web surfers things like streaming video, music and animation can make for a far more exciting and entertaining experience, but for web designers and web developers it can raise a few headaches as well!

 

Multimedia websites can be exciting but problematic

The big problem with multimedia content is bandwidth; the amount of data that has to travel down the phone line to the web surfer. So someone with a really fast broadband connection can watch web video at broadcast quality, whilst someone on a weak broadband line or dial up service is just going to get a blank screen, “please wait, page loading…” message or stuttery video with garbled sound.

It’s the classic website problem of end users having a wide variety of web browsing systems, so you have to create something that works for everyone you want on your website. For many commercial businesses, video and music is unnecessary; tradesmen could offer a blog with video clips of how to perform basic jobs, but they’ll be putting themselves out of work doing it!

Websites that can use multimedia footage tend to be more specialist; like a graphic designer, film production company, professional photographer or even major corporations who want their latest TV advert playing. All these businesses have special skills to help them come up with really high quality multimedia, and contacts who can get them good quality music and video, so any small business wanting to use multimedia in their website design has to bear the competition in mind, and whether their home camcorder footage is really up to the standard web surfers are used to.

 

The right use of multimedia on small business websites

A time when multimedia can be perfect for tradesmen and small businesses is when you offer a photo gallery, news or portfolio section using a free online service like www.youtube.com  to compress and stream the video at a range of quality standards so that everyone gets to see a smooth running picture and clear sound.

Builders could shoot timelapses (very easy with modern camcorders and even a cheap film editing package) of big builds, many companies experience appearances on local news shows and home improvement projects they can show copies of and anyone can create moving picture slideshows of still photos by using services like www.photobucket.com; a professional web designer can put together custom ones for you without the Photobucket branding!

 

Make the right choice for your business

Online multimedia is a question of careful planning and asking yourself what’s really necessary; many people surfing for small business services will only glance through a few pages of the website to pick out key facts, so is it really worth slowing down their surfing experience with loading video clips or annoying background music? Choose wisely!