Digital authoring is less of a niche pastime these days.

People are happy to spend their free time putting together their own Web sites, DVDs menus and multimedia discs.

However, with the exception of DVD and slideshow interfaces, multimedia authoring tends to require a fair amount of programming ability.

One for beginners

Mediator 9 enables users with little or zero coding experience to get the same results as a seasoned programmer. With its drag-and-drop creation method you can go from concept to creation in minutes. Everything is pretty straightforward and it even incorporates an Office 2007-style ribbon GUI, which makes everything that much quicker to achieve.

Adding events to buttons such as clicks and application execution is incredibly easy - just drag in the user action and then the interface action on top. Mediator 9 also supports flash media and export types, not to mention instant in-application previews so you don't have to break off halfway through to check your progress.

On top of all that it also comes bundled with thousands of illustrations, templates and preconfigured content, and even hosts some impressive-looking 3D transitions for you to make use of.

Corporate software

On the downside, there can be inconsistencies between the preview and finished product, which isn't ideal, so some manual checking is required. Furthermore, the price is rather steep for the average user: at £300 it's hardly a bargain.

With the extremely simple user interface and project creation method it would easily lend itself to a consumer market that it's currently missing due to its weighty price tag.

Given that, from a corporate standpoint this is an excellent buy, should a company with no programming knowledge require such a service. However, consumers should think about alternative solutions before shelling out.