VizAbility [TM]: Interactive multimedia for visual thinking

Gayle Curtis, Scott Kim, and Kristina Hooper Woolsey

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 16, 1996


VizAbility is an interactive multimedia package designed to help you discover your natural visual abilities. With VizAbility you can explore and improve your visual skills, develop problem solving abilities, and learn to think, imagine, and communicate in new ways.

The primary goals of the VizAbility package are:

Through movies and interviews you can observe people who are part of this culture, listen to their ideas and explore their workspaces. Through puzzles, exercises and tutorial elements you can hone your skills in seeing, drawing, diagramming, and imagining. The product includes both a CD-ROM and a book, and is intended to be used in engineering, art and creativity courses, as well as by individuals at home. It is based in part on material from the Stanford Visual Thinking course, ME101.

In this talk the authors will discuss the genesis and realization of this interactive multimedia product. Topics include: how classroom exercises were adapted to the computer medium, innovative uses of video in multimedia, and how visual skills can be taught through games.


Kristina Hooper Woolsey is a Distinguished Scientist at Apple Computer, Inc., where she has combined her expertise in psychology and interface design to produce a number of multimedia products and to research educationally significant media-rich communications.

Scott Kim is a multimedia designer and puzzle designer. He has published a number of books and software titles, writes a monthly puzzle column for NewMedia Magazine, and currently works as a game designer at Rocket Science Games.

Gayle Curtis is a product design engineer and Lecturer at Stanford University who has taught the Visual Thinking course and related workshops. He is currently teaching CS247a, a studio course in HCI design.


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