In the past decade, the use of interactive modules and multimedia presentations has gained popularity, and subsequently brought with it numerous questions regarding its significance. Specifically, how do users consume information differently depending on presentation method?
I first suggest a universal definition of the terms “multimedia” and “interactivity” by analyzing its previous usage across the fields of academia, journalism, advertising, and marketing.
I then detail a small-scale qualitative study that gauged short-term user retention rates and satisfaction levels of six passive and six interactive multimedia presentations on “Gen Y” users (born 1980-1992). Data from the study, while not conclusive, suggest that users retain ever so slightly more information when viewing passive multimedia, but consider their experience as more enjoyable when viewing interactive multimedia. The preliminary findings from this study lay the foundation for further, larger-scale quantitative research to more comprehensively determine impacts on the end user dependent upon multimedia format.