Multimedia. What is it?

Audio Interview “Multimedia, Trust & Sticky Websites”

In this interview Ed & Phil explore the idea that interactivity can not only help nudge your website out of the bedroom and onto your morning dog walk, but it can help get us closer to a human experience that is not sitting on our bum in front of a computer screen.

Twenty years ago multimedia was a popular term. Google trends indicates that as a search term over a five year period, its popularity is on the decline (in both the US and Australia). Interestingly, the term has had a bit of an uptick in Britain over the past year. It’s a term often used by teachers when referring to the use of iPads, games and interactive electronic software in the classroom.

Multimedia is content that uses a combination of different content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, video and interactive content. Multimedia contrasts with media that use only rudimentary computer displays such as text-only or traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material.
– Wikipedia 2020


Possibly the best interactive game out there.

Elements of Multimedia

The most basic multimedia element is probably the “hyperlink”

In the early days links were called “hot-links” and web agencies would charge clients up to $40 or so for each one. I doubt they could get away with that now. Computers and probably the term multimedia itself has moved on. When one considers virtual and augmented reality, the term is rarely limited to ones own imagination.

Forms of interactivity:

At its most very basic, multimedia will often include audio and video. But there are other new elements we web developers now have access to . . .

multimedia image challenge
Google Captcha uses CAPTCHA as a way of differentiating spambots and people.

  • Math Quizzes
  • Games
  • Interactive stories
  • Multiple choice
  • simple answer math quizzes
  • Drag-n-Drop of elements
  • Gamification
  • Madlibs random story-writer game (popular with kids and schools)


Madlibs is like the party game where kids write a bit of story, fold the page over (leaving the last sentence visible) and handing it onto another author. What you end up with is a nonsensical but often funny story with many authors.

In Madlibs, you are presented with a form and a series of fields. Each field has a name; adjective, a noun, a person’s name, a verb etc. The code behind the form links the form to a story template (where those words are missing) and when you hit enter, you get a funny story.

Children learn grammar and elements of the English language as a side-effect. You could call Madlibs one of the earliest forms of digital gamification (learning while you play a game). Gamification turns real life experiences such as exercising into games.


Simulators such as Microsoft’s newest Flight Simulator are actually used when teaching pilots how to fly and navigate aeroplanes.

Engaging the User

The idea is to engage the user in an activity. Preferably an activity which will help them remember how to do something in the real world. Like drive a car.

Capturing the user’s attention using fun and multiple ways of interacting with the computer leads to a good user experience.


The User Experience (UX)

Sitting on your arse with a screen in front of you is what most people like me experience. We need to get beyond that. Multimedia – plus all the ways we can gamify life through virtual and augmented reality (e.g. Pokemon Go) are also ways that we can elicit a level of trust.


Trust is what happens between two people

Without trust, there is no sale.

What is a Website?

Your website, like your business is an aspect of you. If I don’t trust you, I’m not likely to buy anything from you. If I trust your website because it is engaging and seems to be built for and care about me, then I might buy a little thing and come back later for a big thing.

Your website is the fulcrum of your online presence. You need to drive traffic to your website to make a sale or generate a lead. It’s your physical presence on the web. It’s basically YOU!

Multimedia helps bring out trust in the user. If you are selling a physical product (but you are not actually there) engaging your potential customer in as many ways possible is not a not-too-shabby way of approximating your human presence. Try to provide all the information someone might get if there was a person there.

The Lemonade Stand

& Your About Us Page

Lemonade stands usually have a live vendor selling plastic cups filled with delicious, home-made lemonade. But how successful would the lemonade stand be if you replaced people with an honesty box?

One could go on to argue that not having an About Us page on your website is akin to not putting a photo of yourself up on a dating website. You might get a call, but it’s doubtful.

People like to know who they are giving their money to. The Real Estate Industry knows this. The person sells you the house.

Is Your Website Sticky?

In a world of three seconds and they’re gone, how can you keep people on your web page longer?

On average your web page someone might have stay or read (or if you’ve been listening experience) it for 2 minutes. Put a sound or video up there and the average stay might go up 30 seconds. Incorporating multimedia elements into your page means that users will stay around longer. A person can even cast your video to their Home TV (using Google Chrome) or save your podcast to their media player or phone for listening at a later date (say during a bike ride (something I do).

People are slowly but surely taking media off your website and bringing it into the real world. This could be an ebook, a game, a podcast or embedded Youtube video.

Think beyond the corner computer desktop set-up. Whatever you give users, make it count. And give them something to remember you by.

Useful Stuff

Coursera: Free 1hr Tutorial
Creating a Lean-back Experience
Pretty amazing stuff – incorporating live satellite images into a music video for the band “Arcade Fire”