All about Media Flow Steps

The Media-Flow editor controls the order and timing of media shown to each viewer.

This page will explain more about the concepts behind the editor.

Media-Flow Steps

Each viewer starts at a “start step” and moves from step to step until an “end step” is reached.

You can imaging the steps as defining a diagram like this:

Finite state machine describing flow between steps S1 to S4
Finite state machine describing flow between steps S1 to S4

We start at step S1, and then we move to S2. From S2 we can go back to S2 or to step S4. From S4 we can go to S3. And from S3 we can go to either S1 or S4.

Notice that the steps can form a loop – that’s OK, we can handle that too. This replicates complex user interfaces where you may return to the same page multiple times.

In the diagram above, S1 is a “start step” because we can enter it from nowhere.

S4 is given a double outline to indicate it is an “end step”, meaning it can end the session.

The arrows in the diagram indicate the possible next steps.

Media Items

In EyesDecide, each step is associated with exactly 1 media item. When a step is reached, the viewer will see the associated media item. When the viewer moves to another step, the media item will be replaced with the media of the new step.

You can use the same media item in many steps.  Think of the media items as a “pool” of media to use at various places in the viewing experience.

Media Flow Editor

So what does this diagram look like in EyesDecide? We present you with some buttons – validate, add step and preview – and a session timer. Below these controls, we list all the steps with their associated media items:

Media flow editor. Here we have a single start step. The viewer will be taken to one of two page variants as the 2nd step.
Media flow editor. Here we have a single start step. The viewer will be taken to one of two page variants as the 2nd step.

Session Timer

Since the viewer may go around in circles viewing the same page repeatedly, we need to guarantee some end to the session. We also need to make sure they don’t spend TOO much time on it. The session timer achieves these objectives. If nothing else ends a viewing session session, it will end when the session timer elapses.

Steps list

The Media Flow editor displays all your steps. They are not displayed in order, except that the “start steps” are all displayed at the top.

Each step has different properties that define how it reacts to user clicks. A timer is also started when the viewer arrives at each step. The steps list summarizes the interaction events of each step.

Randomization

If there are multiple “next step” options for start steps, or a timer, click or hotspot event, we randomly choose which one each viewer sees. This means we are randomly choosing the next step from the lists you provide for each event.

This means that you may need to repeat preview of your study several times to explore all the paths. For complex studies with loops it may be impossible to explore all the paths through a study.

Varying the interaction for a Media Item

If you want different hotspots or next-step behaviour for the same media item at different times during viewing, you can add the same media item to different steps and customize the interaction behaviour.

If you want the same behaviour every time a media item is shown, just link back to the same step.

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