Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel is Chair of the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. She has worked in the area of human-computer interaction for over twenty-five years, for companies including Atari, Activision, Epyx, Apple, and Interval Research. She was the co-founder of Purple Moon, a trans-media company devoted to girls, creating products based on her research on the differences between boys and girls in terms of play preferences and attitudes toward computers. She is the editor of The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (1990, Addison-Wesley), author of Computers as Theatre (1991, 1993, Addison-Wesley), and author of a book about social values and business entitled Utopian Entrepreneur (2001, M.I.T. Press). Her next book, an edited volume entitled Design Research: Applied Explorations of People, Cultures, and Contexts, will be published in early 2004.

Dr. Laurel holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. in theatre from the Ohio State University. She serves on the Boards of Cheskin (a research and design firm), the Comparative Media Studies Program at M.I.T., and the Communication Research Institute of Australia. Active interests include hiking, environmental protection, neo-Gaian spiritual practice, storytelling, childrens' media, snorkeling and boogie-boarding - the canonical Northern California stuff. She makes a weekly commute to Pasadena and lives the rest of the time in the Santa Cruz mountains with her family, several bobcats, mountain lions, deer, rattlesnakes, hawks, poison oak, and some very big trees.

Presentation description
Design research in action: The Backstory Project
The Backstory Project was conceived and executed by the class of 2004 of the graduate Media Design program at Art Center College of Design. After exploring the intersections between news and personal voice, the students designed and prototyped a distributed system for collecting, retrieving, archiving and sharing personal stories. Design educator Brenda Laurel will review the research and analysis that supported the design and will provide examples of the prototype system in action with teenagers.
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