Computers as Theatre

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A book by Brenda Laurel review: "When Brenda Laurel first wrote this book in the early '80s, it may have seemed a bit far-fetched to most computer users: "What? How can my interaction with a computer have anything to do with theatre? I'm typing!" But with the emergence of WebTV, VRML, and the dawning of real online interactivity where our interface with the computer and others is not the keyboard, but instead our imagination and the suspension of disbelief it requires, Laurel's ideas are finally coming of age. Snotty digerati might sniff that this is an old book, but I would argue that it is a book that has finally come of age".

"A lucid and provocative study of the art/craft/business of optimal interfaces... takes a highly original look at our imperfect relationships with our machines, then points the way to improving things. Fun, and of real importance". -- William Gibson

"The idea that is perhaps most central to this book is that if you design the action involved in a user interface, the design of all other objects in the domain will follow. To support this, Laurel reconciles the seemingly disparate and relates user interface design with producing a play in theater. For example, the way she brings in the Freytag triangle works very well.

This said, I wish I wish that we would see a book from Laurel (or from one of her other usability guru companions) that treats with more recent issues-- particularly the Internet. I think she's one of the smartest people out there in the field, and I try to read what she's written, but I'm getting tired of reading about Habitat, Guides, and the Holodek on Star Trek. That's not the fault of the book, given that it came out pre-Internet hype, but it did inflect the reading experience with some weariness"

Computers at Theatre on