Casual Multimedia: The use of imagery in everyday activities

Kristina Hooper Woolsey, Apple Computer Multimedia Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 20, 1993


Over the last five years the Apple Multimedia Lab has designed a range multimedia prototypes, products and tools, primarily in HyperCard. Many of our considerations have derived fundamentally from a content point of view or a technology experimentation perspective or a market development perspective. Others have been centrally interface issues, as we have addressed again and again such questions as:

(1) How do people enter the system? How do you establish just what this thing is?

(2) How do you create a coherent-feeling environment? Do you provide easy access to a range of materials "from one spot", or do you provide a structured environment in which users "can move around"?

(3) What extent of user control do you provide which is easily accessible? How do you store materials for reconstruction? What kinds of "bookmarking" tools are required? Is a title without any tools non-interactive?

(4) What kinds of interaction are there beyond "click and view"?

We have addressed these issues again and again in different contexts, and have solved them in many different ways.

This talk will address this general class of issues, and try to provide some interesting discussion based on the direct experiences we have had in addressing them. For we have found no one way to solve these issues best, but instead have developed a basic design language in which to consider them, again and again and again!


Kristina Hooper Woolsey, director of the Apple Computer Multimedia Lab, was trained as a cognitive scientist. Over the past twenty years she has extended this perspective into the development of image-based technologies in learning.

Dr. Woolsey received her Ph.D. in cognitive science from the University of California at San Diego and her B.A. in cognitive psychology from Stanford University. In addition, she was the recipient of a post-doctoral fellowship in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.

Prior to joining Apple Computer, Dr. Woolsey was a faculty member at the University of California at Santa Cruz and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then worked at Atari's Research Lab in Sunnyvale, California, where she was promoted to Director of Research and Development.

Dr. Woolsey joined Apple Computer in 1985, and co-founded the Multimedia Lab in 1987. As a member of the Advanced Technology Group, she applies her multimedia production experience to research on the casual use of multimedia in our daily lives. In 1992, she was named one of Apple's Distinguished Scientists, a small group that offers its expertise throughout the company.

She is co-editor with Sueann Ambron of two books on multimedia: Interactive Multimedia: Visions of Multimedia for Developers, Educators & Information Providers and Learning with Interactive Multimedia: Developing and Using Multimedia Tools in Education (Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press, 1988 and 1990). She has been lead designer or executive producer of a number of recent multimedia titles, including Life Story (Wings for Learning, 1992), The Visual Almanac. (Optical Data, 1990), Interactive NOVA: Animal Pathfinders (Scholastic, 1991), and GTV: A Geographic Perspective on American History (Optical Data, 1991).


Titles and abstracts for all years are available by year and by speaker.

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ