Multimedia is content that uses a combination of different types of content such as text, audio, images, animations, video and interactive content. Multimedia contrasts with media that make use of the information provided by the user.

Multimedia can be viewed and played, displayed, but also accessed by information content processing devices, such as computerized and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia devices are electronic media devices. Multimedia is distinguished from mixed media in fine art ; for example, by audio it has a broader scope. In the early years of multimedia the term “rich media” was synonymous with interactive multimedia , and ” hypermedia ” was an application of multimedia.


The term multimedia Was coined by singer and artist Bob Goldstein (later ‘ Bobb Goldsteinn ‘) to Promote the July 1966 opening of his “Lightworks Has the urchin” show at Southampton , Long Island. citation needed ] [1] Goldstein was named to an American artist named Dick Higgins, who had a new approach to art-making called “intermedia”. [2]

On August 10, 1966, Richard Albarino of Variety borrowed the terminology, reporting: “Brainchild of songs-comic Bob (‘ Washington Square ‘) Goldstein, the ‘Lightworks’ is the latest multi-media music-cum-visuals to debut as a disco fare. ” [3] Two years later, in 1968, the term “multimedia” was re-appropriated to describe the work of a political consultant, David Sawyer, the husband of Iris Sawyer-one of Goldstein’s producers at L’Oursin.

Multimedia (multi-image) setup for the 1988 Ford New Car Announcement Show, August 1987, Detroit, MI

In the intervening forty years, the word has taken on different meanings. In the late 1970s, the term refers to the presentation of multi-projector slide shows timed to an audio track. However, by the 1990s ‘multimedia’ took on its current meaning.

In the 1993 first edition of Multimedia: Making It Work , Tay Vaughan declared “Multimedia is any combination of text, graphic art, sound, animation, and video that is delivered by computer.When you allow the user – the viewer of the project – to control what and when to thesis Elements are Delivered, it is interactive multimedia . When you Provide a structure of linked Elements qui through the user can navigate, interactive multimedia Becomes hypermedia . ” [4]

The German language society Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache recognized the word’s meaning and ubiquitousness in the 1990s by awarding it the title of German ‘Word of the Year’ in 1995. [5] The Institute summed up its rationale by stating “[Multimedia] has become a word in the wonderful new media world “. [6]

In common use, multimedia refers to an electronically delivered combination of media including video, still images, audio, and text in such a way that can be accessed interactively. Much of the content on the web today. Some computers which were marketed in the 1990s were called “multimedia” computers because they incorporated a CD-ROM drive, which allowed for the delivery of several hundred megabytes of video, picture, and audio data. That is also a boost in the production of educational multimedia CD-ROMs .

The term “video”, if not used exclusively to describe motion photography, is ambiguous in multimedia terminology. Video is often used to describe the format, delivery format, or presentation format instead of ” footage “ which is used to distinguish motion photography from ” animated “ of rendered motion imagery. Multiple forms of information are often not considered. Likewise, single forms of information with non-interactive audio methods are often called multimedia, perhaps to distinguish static media fromactive media. In the fine arts , for example, Leda Luss Luyken ‘s ModulArt introduces two key elements of musical composition and film into the world of painting: a variation of a theme and movement of and within a picture, making ModulArt an interactive multimedia form of art. Performing Arts May aussi be regarded multimedia Considering That performers and props are multiple forms of Both happy and media.

Major characteristics

Multimedia presentations can be viewed by person on stage , projected , transmitted , or played locally with a media player . A broadcast may be a live or recorded multimedia presentation. Broadcasts and recordings can be analog or digital electronic media technology. Digital online multimedia can be downloaded or streamed . Streaming multimedia may be live or on-demand.

Multimedia games and simulations may be used in a physical environment, with multiple users in an online network , or locally with an offline computer, game system , or simulator .

The various formats of technology or digital multimedia may be intended to enhance the user experience, for example to make it easier and faster to convey information. Gold in entertainment or art, to transcend everyday experience.

A lasershow is a live multimedia performance.

Enhanced levels of interactivity are made possible by combining multiple forms of media content. Online multimedia is a growing object-oriented and data-driven, enabling applications with collaborative end-user innovation and personalization on multiple forms of content over time. Examples of these images (pictures) and title (text) user-updated, to simulations whose co-efficients, events, illustrations, animations or videos are modifiable, allowing the multimedia “experience” to be altered without reprogramming. In addition to see and hearing, haptic technologyallow virtual objects to be felt. Emerging technology involving illusions of taste and smell can also enhance the multimedia experience.


Multimedia may be broadly divided into linear and non-linear categories:

  • Active happy Linear progressed Often Without Any navigational control for the viewer Such As a theater presentation ;
  • Non-linear uses interactivity to control progress as with a video game or self-paced computer-based training . Hypermedia is an example of non-linear content.

Multimedia presentations can be live or recorded :

  • A recorded presentation may allow interactivity via a navigation system ;
  • A live multimedia presentation may allow interactivity via an interaction with the presenter or performer.

Usage / application

A presentation using Powerpoint . Corporate presentations can combine all forms of media content.
Virtual reality uses multimedia content. Applications and delivery platforms of multimedia are virtually limitless.
VVO Multimedia Terminal in Dresden WTC (Germany)

Multimedia finds its application in various areas including, but not limited to, advertisements , art , education , entertainment , engineering , medicine , mathematics , business , scientific research and spatial temporal applications . Several examples are as follows:

Creative industries

Creative industries use multimedia for a variety of Purposes ranging from fine arts, to entertainment, to commercial art, to journalism , to media and software services Provided for’any of the below listed industries. An individual multimedia designer can cover the spectrum throughout their career. Request for their skills from technical, to analytical, to creative.

Commercial uses

Much of the old and new media used by commercial artists and graphic designers is multimedia. Exciting presentations are used to grab and keep attention in advertising . Business to business, and interoffice communications are often developed by creative services firms for advanced multimedia presentations beyond simple slide shows to sell ideas or liven up training. Commercial multimedia developers may be hired to design services and services as well as nonprofit services .

Entertainment and fine arts

Multimedia is heavily used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animations (VFX, 3D animation, etc.). Multimedia games are a popular program and are available as CD-ROMs or online. Some video games also use multimedia features. Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of just by passive receivers of information are called interactive multimedia . In the arts there are multimedia artists , whose minds are able to blend techniques using different media that in some way incorporates interaction with the viewer. One of the most relevant Peter Greenawaywho is melding cinema with opera and all sorts of digital media. Another approach to the creation of multimedia that can be displayed in a traditional fine arts arena, such as an art gallery . Although multimedia display material may be volatile, the survivability of the content is as strong as any traditional media. Digital recording material may be just as durable and infinitely reproducible with perfect copies every time.


In education , multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations, text about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is the combination of education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.

Learning theory in the past decade has expanded dramatically because of the introduction of multimedia. Several lines of research have evolved, eg cognitive load and multimedia learning .

From multimedia learning (MML) theory, David Roberts has developed a large group of reading and writing techniques. Power point). [7] The method has been applied and evaluated in 9 disciplines. In each experiment, students’ engagement and active learning is about 66% greater, than with the same material being delivered using bullet points, text and speech, corroborating a range of theories presented by multimedia learning scholars like Sweller and Mayer. [8]The idea of ​​media convergence is also becoming a major factor in education, particularly higher education. Defined as separate technologies, such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video conferencing, and media convergence, which is rapidly changing the curriculum in universities all over the world.


Newspaper companies are trying to embrace the new phenomenon by implementing its practices in their work. While some have been slow to come around, other major newspapers like the New York Times , the USA Today and the Washington Post are setting the precedent for the positioning of the globalized world.

News reporting is not limited to traditional media outlets. Freelance journalists can make use of different media to produce multimedia pieces for their news stories. It engages global audiences and tells stories with technology, which develops new communication techniques for both media producers and consumers. The Common Language Project, later renamed to the Seattle Globalist , is an example of this type of multimedia journalism production.

Multimedia reporters who are mobile are usually referred to as mojos , from mo bile jo urnalist.


Software engineers can use multimedia in computer simulations for anything from entertainment to training such as military or industrial training. Multimedia for software interfaces are often done as a collaboration between creative professionals and software engineers.

Mathematical and scientific research

In mathematical and scientific research , multimedia is mainly used for modeling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance. Representative researches can be found in journals such as the Journal of Multimedia .


In medicine , doctors can get trained by a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria develop technologies to prevent it. Multimedia applications such as virtual surgeries also help doctors to get practical training.

Associations and conferences

In Europe, the reference organization for the multimedia industry is the European Multimedia Associations Convention (EMMAC).

Scholarly conferences about multimedia include:

  • ACM Multimedia
  • IEEE International Conference on Multimedia & Expo (ICME)

See also

  • Artmedia
  • Multi-Image
  • Multimedia Messaging Service
  • Multimedia search
  • New literacies
  • New media art
  • Non-linear media
  • Postliterate society
  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Web documentary


  1. Jump up^ Badii, Atta; Fuschi, David; Khan, Ali; Adetoye, Adedayo (2009-11-09). “Accessibility-by-Design: A Framework for Personalized Delivery-Context-Aware Media Content Re-purposing” . HCI and Usability for e-Inclusion . Reading Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg: 209-226. doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-642-10308-7_14 . ISBN  9783642103070 .
  2. Jump up^ Matthew Zuras (June 3, 2010), Tech Art History, Part , Switched
  3. Jump up^ Richard Albarino, “Goldstein’s LightWorks at Southhampton,”Variety, August 10, 1966. Vol. 213, No. 12.
  4. Jump up^ Vaughan, Tay, 1993, Multimedia: Making It Work (first edition,ISBN 0-07-881869-9), Osborne / McGraw-Hill, Berkeley, pg. 3.
  5. Jump up^ Ein Jahr, ein (Un-) Wort! (in German)Spiegel Online
  6. Jump up^ Variety, January 1-7, 1996.
  7. Jump up^ TEDx Talks (2016-12-13), Visual feasts of the mind: how do we learn?David Roberts | TEDxLoughboroughU , retrieved 2017-05-17
  8. Jump up^ “David Roberts | Loughborough University –” . . Retrieved 2017-01-18 .