First Advisor

Michael A. Driscoll

Term of Graduation

Summer 1996

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical Engineering




Interactive multimedia, Multimedia systems, System design



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 111 pages)


Multimedia technology enables direct manipulation of multiple media such as text, image, audio, and video, all integrated into one entity - the multimedia document. Interactive multimedia documents integrate text, images and continuous media such as audio and video, treat them as objects to be presented for a certain duration, and allow users to interact with the presentation. Authoring and presenting interactive multimedia documents imposes new requirements on document representation. We designed the interactive timeline model (ITM) for authoring and presenting interactive multimedia documents. We implemented the model and created a playback tool using the scripting language Tcl.

ITM uses an enhanced timeline model for representing interactive multimedia scenarios. ITM is a layered model that supports the creation of the logical, temporal, and presentation structures of a multimedia document and emphasizes the separation of content from its structure. The storage layer provides interfaces for creation and storage of media objects like text, images, scripts, choices, and audio. Choice is a media object that allows users to interact with the presentation. A script object causes Tcl code to be executed. The composition layer specifies the logical structure and provides interfaces to compose a multimedia document. The presentation layer specifies the temporal and spatial structure of the document and describes the user interface for the playback tool. The run-time layer specifies the interfaces to start and control the flow of the presentation, describes the possible interactions between a user and the presentation at run-time, and specifies the actions to be taken when interaction takes place.

ITM allows users to configure the playback tool according to their needs. It provides authors with a mechanism to create new interfaces and register them with the playback tool. To evaluate the design decisions of ITM and verify its usability, we conducted usability tests on the model. We asked a representative sample of end users (both authors and viewers) to perform realistic tasks using the model. ITM is a powerful model to create and present interactive learning materials and dynamic presentations.


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