Connect with Top User Experience (UX) Design Professors on Twitter
These top user experience (UX) design professors are active leaders in user design and experience education who have produced major research, taught educational programs, and authored publications on foundational industry information, such as how design might enhance society and technology companies can structure their products to support ethics.
A number of these professors study the intersection of gender bias and racism with user design and experience, while others specialize in areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, feminism, music, and humanistic intelligence. Several are leaders at their respective schools, and some participate in industry conferences, journals, publications, podcasts, or in other activities advancing the research and application of UX/UI design in academic and real-world environments. All are involved and engaged on Twitter.
Margaret Burnett is currently a distinguished professor of computer science at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University. Her research interests comprise the intersection of programming languages, human-computer interaction, and software engineering: namely, in visual programming languages and in how programming language and software engineering research can be applied to support end-user programming. She has a long history of research in these issues and others relating to human issues of programming.
Burnett is also the principal architect of Forms/3 and the FAR visual programming languages and, together with Gregg Rothermel, of the WYSIWYT testing methodology for end-user programmers. She was the founding project director of the EUSES Consortium, a multi-institution collaboration among Oregon State University and Carnegie Mellon, City University London, Drexel University, Pennsylvania State, Saturday Academy, University of Nebraska, University of Washington, University of Cambridge (UK), and IBM to help end-users shape effective software.
Burnett was a recipient of IBM's International Faculty Award (2007, 2008). She was also recently honored with Oregon State University's Excellence in Graduate Mentoring Award (2010), OSU College of Engineering’s Research Award (2009), OSU College of Engineering’s Research Collaboration Award (2005), and OSU’s Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor Award (2000). She is a past recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Young Investigator Award (1994).
She has served on program committees for numerous ACM and IEEE conferences, including the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing, the ACM Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, the ACM Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, and the ACM Conference on Functional Programming Languages. She also served on the steering committee for the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing and the ACM Conference on Software Visualization. She is a senior member of IEEE and a fellow of ACM.
Bill Buxton is an interaction designer and researcher. He is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and an associate professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Computer Science, and a visiting professor at the Knowledge Media Design Institute.
During the fall of 2004, he was a lecturer in the Department of Industrial Design at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and during the spring of 2005, he was a visiting scientist at Microsoft Research, Cambridge. Prior to his current work, he was principal of his own Toronto-based boutique design and consulting firm, Buxton Design.
Notably, Bill is one of the pioneers in computer music and has played an important role in the development of computer-based tools for film, industrial design, graphics, and animation.
From 1994 until December 2002, he was chief scientist of Alias|Wavefront, and from 1995, its parent company SGI Inc. In 2001, the Hollywood Reporter named him one of the 10 most influential innovators in Hollywood. In 2002, Time Magazine named him one of the top five designers in Canada, and he was elected to the ACM's CHI Academy.
Jodi Forlizzi is the Geschke Director and a professor of human-computer interaction in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. She is responsible for establishing design research as a legitimate form of research in HCI that is distinct from (but equally as important as) scientific and human science research. For the past 20 years, Jodi has advocated for design research in all forms, mentoring peers, colleagues, and students in its structure and execution.
Forlizzi’s current research interests include creating educational games that are engaging and effective, designing robots, and promoting other technology services that use AI and ML to adapt to people’s needs, as well as designing for healthcare. She is a member of the ACM CHI Academy and has been honored by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for excellence in HRI design research. Forlizzi has consulted with Disney and General Motors to create innovative product-service systems.
She is also the co-founder and CIO of Pratter, a consumer advocacy company related to medical cost and transparency for money-saving that offers three custom software-based saving platforms.
Steven Mann is a tenured professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and a full visiting professor at Stanford University.
Steve Mann has been recognized as “the father of wearable computing” (IEEE ISSCC 2000) and “the father of wearable augmented reality (AR)” for his invention of “Digital Eye Glass” (EyeTap) and mediated reality (predecessor of AR). He also invented the Chirplet Transform, Comparametric Equations, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging (U.S. Pat. 5828793).
Together with Marvin Minsky, “the father of AI (Artificial Intelligence)”, and Ray Kurzweil, Mann created the new discipline of HI (Humanistic Intelligence). Mann and his students co-founded numerous companies with a worth in excess of $1 billion. He also created the world’s first course on “inventrepreneurship” (invention and entrepreneurship).
Mann has authored more than 200 publications, books, and patents, and his work and inventions have been shown at the Smithsonian Institute, the National Museum of American History, The Science Museum, MoMA, Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and Triennale di Milano.
Mann holds degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD in media arts and sciences) and McMaster University, where he was also inducted into the McMaster University Alumni Hall of Fame, Alumni Gallery, in 2004, in recognition of his career as an inventor and teacher.
Karen McGrane is a professor of design management at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is a content strategist and website accessibility advocate, known for her book Content Strategy for Mobile.
McGrane’s design philosophy is "every company is a technology company" and "every business is in the user experience business." McGrane was an early proponent of designing web content for mobile devices and is a frequent keynote speaker at technology conferences. She was the co-executive producer, with Jared Spool, of the UX Advantage Conference and cohost of the UX Advantage podcast. She also co-hosted the Responsive Web Design podcast from 2014 to 2018 with Ethan Marcotte.
Beyond her teaching work, McGrane has led UX design projects for many major media companies, including Condé Nast, Disney, and Citibank; and with her company Bond Art + Science, she was the design lead on the New York Times 2006 redesign.
Prior to that, she was vice president and national lead for user experience at Razorfish, where she was their first information architect hire in 1998. More recently, in 2020 she co-founded the consultancy Autogram with Ethan Marcotte and Jeff Eaton.
Don Norman is the director of and a professor at The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Norman is one of the world’s best-known UX designers and is the person who coined the term “user experience.”
He is co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a former vice president of Apple. His current work interests are focusing upon Design for Good, how design might enhance society, and helping technology companies structure their product lines and business.
Norman’s major emphasis is design strategy: how designers and design thinking can help drive both incremental and radical innovation within the company. He believes that designers need to be better educated, learning about history, politics, economics, business, the social and behavioral sciences, business, and of course, technology. Norman also believes UX needs a code of ethics and designers positioned at the highest levels of organizations so they can enforce the ethics.
Norman's formal education is in electrical engineering and psychology. He has also served as a faculty member at Harvard, Northwestern, and KAIST (South Korea). Additionally, he has published many books and articles contributing to foundational knowledge of the UX industry that are still relevant today.