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What is a Hypermedia?

By Derek Schauland
Updated May 16, 2024
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Hypermedia is a term that has been around since the 1940's. It refers to information linked together in an easily accessible way. The Internet thrives on hypermedia and allows videos to be linked to graphic buttons or text and other content found to be accessible simply with a mouse click. Hypermedia is more a method for accessing available information, which is the end result.

An example of hypermedia is hypertext links. When an Internet user enters a search term in Google or Yahoo and clicks the search button to find results, the information is presented as hypertext links with a bit of text describing the link. This helps the web surfer decide if these links are relevant to them and if they are worth viewing. If the first link is something that would be useful based on the blurb provided, clicking on the hypermedia — in this case a hypertext link — will take the web surfer to relevant information regarding their search.

While the prominent hypermedia type is still hypertext links, the use of audio and video to present, share and distribute information is on the rise with services like YouTube® and pod casting. The display of a hypertext link to provide access to other hypermedia can be a very useful way to make this information available.

As the Internet becomes larger and more services are made available, like RSS feeds and twittering, the use of hypermedia will become even more widespread. Most Internet users are probably aware of the links that they click to go where they need to be and find the information they need, but many probably do not give these links a second thought. When someone is learning to navigate the Internet or other new technology, the use of visual aids like videos or hyper text links will be a point of focus to help them learn. Once the media catches on and hypermedia becomes part of the everyday computing and Internet experience for the users, their use becomes second nature. It is just easier to enter a term such as "movies playing, mytown USA" in Google or Yahoo and click the hypertext link to the list of movies at the closest theater, than to call them to get a list of movies.

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