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Chapter 15. Multimedia Issues > What Is Multimedia?

What Is Multimedia?

As its name indicates, multimedia means using multiple kinds of media—text, graphics, animation, video, music, narration—to communicate. However, it’s more than that; after all, going to the movies can involve multiple media, but it’s not a multimedia experience. Multimedia implies interactivity as well. Audiences become users. They click things, roll over things, make choices, move things around, ask and answer questions. The focus is on the experience, and the experience is nonlinear, directed by the user.

Seen from this perspective, all web sites partake of multimedia to some extent. Even the simplest web page usually has at least a few pictures and some text; users click links to navigate through information structures. Presentation becomes nonlinear, user-directed. Normally, of course, when reference is made to multimedia, you think of something fancier than this, with more complex interactivity and a broader range of media elements. Just don’t forget that it’s not an either/or situation—“yes, I will use multimedia,” or “no, I will not.” It’s a continuum, involving how complex you want your interactivity to be, and how many different media types you want to use.


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