Katherine Isbister

I am a Human Computer Interaction and Games researcher who creates and studies digital games and other playful computer-supported experiences. My focus is emotion and social connection--understanding the impact of design choices on these qualities, and getting better at building and evaluating technology that supports and enhances social and emotional experience. My lab group's work has been cited in Wired, Scientific American, and NPR, among other venues.

I'm currently a full professor in the Department of Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I direct the Center for Computational Experience. Until June 2015, I was an associate professor jointly appointed between the Computer Science department at New York University’s School of Engineering in Brooklyn, and the NYU Game Center, and I was the founding Research Director of the Game Innovation Lab at NYU's School of Engineering.

After completing a Ph.D. at Stanford University, where I studied Communication as well as Human-Computer Interaction, I worked in research labs in Japan, Sweden, Denmark, and the U.S., and in software start-ups and design consultancies (past clients include Microsoft, Paramount, BMW, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and others), in addition to being a research professor. Along the way, I've written several books: Better Game Characters by Design, Game Usability, and most recently, How Games Move Us. In 1999 I was selected as one of MIT Technology Review's TR100 Young Innovators most likely to shape the future of technology, and have been busy ever since(!)