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Making it digital

3. Testing and debugging - throughout a project there are different phases of testing relating to both development activities and specific releases of the software. Typically releases will come in alpha, beta, gold candidate and gold master forms. However there may also be pre-alpha and beta releases.

4. Publication - when a digital media product is published (online or offline) with any accompanying printed matter this may appear to be the end of the product development cycle.

In fact publication marks the start of a cycle of post-publication support and maintenance.

Across all of this there are specialist digital media knowledge, experience and skills required.

Just to give one example, when designing screens for interactive digital media, consideration has to be taken of the fact that this differs from design for printed media. In fact usability guru Jakob Nielsen has gone so far as saying that:

‘Anything that is a great print design is likely to be a lousy web design.’

This may seem rather controversial but what he is referring to is the fact that:

‘Print design is based on letting the eyes walk over the information, selectively looking at information objects and using spatial juxtaposition to make page elements enhance and explain each other.’

whereas

‘Screen/interactive design functions by letting the hands move the information (by dragging objects, scrolling, clicking etc.). Information relationships are expressed temporally as part of an interaction and user movement.’

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