v i s u a l
thinking tools

VizAbility(TM) is a multimedia product for building visual thinking skills. It is an environment to explore learning experiences in Seeing, Drawing, Diagramming, and Imagining, as well as excursions into the kinds of Environment and Culture that support these. The content of the work is drawn largely from the Stanford Visual Thinking course, and it was originally conceived as a companion to Bob McKim's book, Experiences in Visual Thinking. As a multimedia work it clearly stands on its own and makes a number of original contributions in this area.

It's partly about seeing
As one of three co-authors on the project, I collaborated on the inception and development of the work, focusing largely on content development for the Drawing Chapter. The screen for one of my favorites, "Square Faces," appears here. In this exercise we build an intuitive sense of when a cube looks like a cube by dragging one of the heavy vertical lines to the point where it looks right as the back edge of a perspective cube - a square face. An audible chime sounds when you hit the right spot. Drag the other verical bar to the right place and get another chime. Click new to try it with the cube at a different place in the big circle.

By practicing this simple game you can build a sense of visual judgment about what makes proper proportion in perspective sketching.

Try it!
To learn more about the CD, visit www.vizability.com. Here you can find Shockwave examples of two of the modules, Block Builder and Hidden Pictures. Try them out!

It won several awards
The package, which incudes the interactive CDROM with a bound text and blank sketchbook, has won several awards, including the Gold Medal for Higher Education Title in the New Media Invision Awards, presented at COMDEX'96. It was also the International Interactive Multimedia Grand Award Winner in the New York Festivals. It has been awarded distinction for interactive media design, notably from I.D. The International Design Magazine. and Communication Arts magazine. The latter was in the Information Design category in the Interactive Annual issue.

Who did this?
VizAbility was co-authored by Kristina Hooper Woolsey, Scott Kim and myself, and it was produced by Meta Design and a number of other talented people in San Francisco. It is published by Brooks/Cole Publishing and is available for both Mac and Windows. It is offered in several configurations, including a deluxe edition, with a handbook and blank sketch book, a student edition, and as stand-alone modules.The VizAbility site has price and ordering information.


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Screen images ©1995 PWS Publishing