Designing Interactions

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Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel is interviewed in Chapter 5 – Play. Bing Gordon and Will Wright talk about designing interactive video and computer games, and Brendan Boyle describes the development of Fib Finder, an example of a game with two versions, one for girls and the other for boys.

Brenda has been dubbed a “digital diva,” a reputation that she has earned by living in the world of theater at the same time as the world of computers, showing designers and engineers how to think about the people that use their products and how to use enactment to inform design. Her first book, Computers as Theater, was published in 1991. She has worked as a game designer, producer, and researcher for companies including Atari, Activision, and Apple. In 1990 she cofounded Telepresence Research to develop virtual reality and remote presence technology and applications. Brenda was one of the first people to join Interval Research in Palo Alto, where she examined gender and technology, leading to her helping to found the spin-off Purple Moon, a company that developed interactive media for girls, where she served as VP of design. When the dotcom boom turned to bust, Purple Moon was snatched up by Mattel.

Brenda talks about designing games for girls, based on her extensive studies at Interval Research and her experience as the founder of Purple Moon.

Brenda is in her studio at the Art Center College of Design. Photo Author