In general computing, descriptive of any computer program that solicits user participation, allowing the user to make decisions about what the program actually does. See Interactive Processing.
In multimedia, the term interactive refers to any presentation or production that allows the user to directly affect the course of a narrative. In conventional media such as movies, television, and video, the narrative unfolds in a linear manner, from start to finish. In interactive multimedia, there are branching points, at which the user is prompted for a direction to take. In this manner, information can be accessed in any order and—theoretically—the presentation will be coherent regardless of what route the user takes.
The term interactive is also used to refer to a developing technology known as interactive television, a two-way cable television network that allows the viewer to influence the presentation of the programming. See Interactive Television.