Newcastle product group Octo has turned its hand to creating electronic ‘interiors’ for its first multimedia project. The user-interface of the CD-ROM to help train financial advisers features six ‘virtual rooms’ which contain information on personal finance. A complementary floppy disc logs the user’s progress through the system, allowing trainers to assess trainees’ abilities.

The Personal Financial Planning CD-ROM is the brainchild of Knowledge = Power, a London start-up run by former Midland Bank marketing director Kevin Gavaghan, Tim Gibson, previously with BT’s interaction department, and ex-BZW man Tim De Vere Green. It is the first of several training packages planned by the company, initially for the financial sector, but eventually for other industries.

The idea of inviting users into a round building was a given, says Octo’s Paul Siodmok. But Octo has ‘furnished’ the reception area, classroom, library, communications, games and examination rooms, creating the look and a user-friendly interface using Alias software.

The CD-ROM runs only on a PC with a Windows 95 operating system – something few financial sector businesses currently have. But Siodmok says that many potential customers, such as Midland Bank, are upgrading their systems and will be able to use the disc when it is launched in two or three months’ time.

Octo put together a multidisciplinary team for the job, including postgraduate student Andrea Cooper, who is studying interactive design at the University of Northumbria.

Programming was carried out in Director by Tria Associates.

Design: Octo

Client: Knowledge = Power

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