A multimedia interface presents information and receives user commands and data for a computer system. The multimedia interface operates in parallel with another application software module, such as an expert system. To add multimedia features to the application software module, the module is modified so as to generate multimedia commands at the same time as it displays text on a text monitor. The multimedia commands, which are held in a queue, provide additional information in the form of video images and generated speech corresponding to the displayed text. In addition, the multimedia commands are split into at least two sets: one set which is dispatched to the user substantially immediately after displaying the corresponding text, and one set which is dispatched upon request by the user. In the preferred embodiment, the multimedia interface presents information to the user through text, graphics, video, sound, speech production, and printed output. User inputs are made through a keyboard and voice recognition. In one preferred embodiment two data processing units are used: one for an expert system module and one for a video output processing module. Each module includes its own flat VGA display. The video module includes a digital video controller which enables it to display drawings, photographs, still and animated graphics, video stills, full-motion video and motion video with graphic overlays. An optional satellite station facilitates use of the system in environments where it is inconvenient or impossible to bring the complete system.