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Defining Multimedia

Multimedia is the use of a computer to present and combine text, graphics, audio, and video with links and tools that let the user navigate, interact, create, and communicate. This definition contains four components essential to multimedia. First, there must be a computer to coordinate what you see and hear, and to interact with. Second, there must be links that connect the information. Third, there must be navigational tools that let you traverse the web of connected information. Finally, because multimedia is not a spectator sport, there must be ways for you to gather, process, and communicate your own information and ideas. If one of these components is missing, you do not have multimedia. For example, if you have no computer to provide interactivity, you have mixed media, not multimedia. If there are no links to provide a sense of structure and dimension, you have a bookshelf, not multimedia. If there are no navigational tools to let you decide the course of action, you have a movie, not multimedia. If you cannot create and contribute your own ideas, you have a television, not multimedia.

An important goal of this course is to enable you to become a creator, not just a consumer, of multimedia on the Internet. In this multimedia section of the Web Design portal, therefore, I will be putting resources requested by students who are working to design multimedia components to incorporate into their Web pages.

Who Needs Multimedia?

Ask yourself a few historical questions:

Now ask: