Did You Know?
Facts and tidbits I have been sharing collecting as I work on my research for the book. The Did You Know snippets have been published across Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to bring awareness to women in the field and the project.
Julia Whitney became the Director of Interactive Design in 1994 at WGBH, the famed public television station in Boston.
Lauren Seltzer worked at Medior Interactive in 1993 and designed dozens of multimedia CD-ROM titles as well as the AOL 1.5 interface before the company was acquired by AOL.
In 2013 Karen Holtzblatt founded the Women in Tech Project
Terry Roberts was one of the user interface designers for the original graphical user interface, Xerox Star which went on to influence the UI of the Macintosh. She worked on the Xerox Start beginning in 1979.
Spanish educator, Angela Ruiz Robles invented the first multimedia book in 1949 using text, illustrations, film reels and other content presented under a sheet of magnifying glass. Her patents predate the ebook and multimedia by 30+ years. The concept was patented but the prototype was never produced.
In 1984, Sylvia Harris began her interactive design work, designing screens for VideoTex and Prodigy systems
Kristina Hooper Woolsey joined Apple in 1983 after the Atari Research Labs shut down.
In 1965 Mabel Addis created the Sumerian Game. She wrote the narrative and designed the interactions for the first text based interactive computer game for students.
Elizabeth Sanders joins Fitch in 1981 as the first psychologist hired in a design agency to lead research.
In 1987, Sue Booker moved to Apple to be the lead Interaction Designer on the skunkworks project that eventually became the Newton, Apple's original tablet.
Patricia Moore spends a year, starting in 1979, disguised as an elderly woman and travels around the United States and Canada. The project was done to help understand the experiences of the elderly in daily life.
The famed anthropologist Margaret Mead coined the contemporary term 'Semiotics' and it's use as a noun in 1962.
In 1985, Sue Booker joins IDTwo as their first interaction designer. While trained as an industrial designer, her work is focused on digital screen design (or interaction design) rather than physical objects.
Lisa Strausfeld wins Cooper Hewitt's National Design Award in 2010 in the category Interaction Design for her work on the interface for the One Laptop per Child computers. She was a finalist in 2009, the first year Interaction Design was a category.
Adele Goldberg and Robert Flegal coin the term “Pixel Art“ in 1982 to describe working with 8-bit, pixelated artwork.
In 1981, Kristina Hooper Woolsey became the director of the Atari Research Labs.
Judy Olson and Marilyn Tremaine begin teaching HCI classes in 1983 in the School of Business at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Their program laid the groundwork for the reinvention of the iSchool which graduated some of the best known information architects working in digital spaces.
Carole Bilson becomes President of the Design Management Institute in 2014, making her one of the most influential design leaders in the world.
In 1988, Mary Dieli establisehd the first two usability labs for Microsoft, bringing user testing to the Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 releases.
Jennifer Niederst wrote the book Designing for the Web in 1996. This was one of the earliest books on web design.
Auriea Harvey, a web designer and internet artist, won some of the first Webby Awards for Internet Art in both 1997 and 1998.
Darcy DiNucci coined the term Web 2.0 in 1999 but it took another 5 years or so before the web had the level of interactivity and robustness she was thinking about.
Carolina Cruz-Niera coinvented CAVE and CAVELibs, an immersive VR system. They premiered the system at SIGGRAPH in 1992. She has set up CAVE systems at multiple universities since then.
Carol Bilson joined Kodak in 1980 as a designer. She eventually ran multiple programs including the popular Picture Maker system program, bringing billions into the company. She also set up the1st African American community and a Women’s support community at the company.
Valerie Fenster was the lead interaction designer at CitiBank. She worked with Sylvia Harris and her team to design the first ADA compliant ATMs for CitiBank after the ADA passed in 1990.
Anita Brown created Black Geeks in 1996 to help bring technology to the Black community-- teaching HTML, web design and other internet skills.
Dr. Cynthia Waddell published one of the earliest web accessibility standards guides in 1995 for the City of San Jose's Office of Equality Assurance.
Ellen Nold ran some of the earliest usability tests at Apple for the Lisa in 1981. She set up their first usability labes in 1982.
Virginia Howlett led the interface design for Windows 3.0 after writing a letter to Bill Gates telling him the UI should be designed by real designers and not developers. She was a founding member of the interface design team in 1987.
Stephanie Rosenbaum founded Tec-Ed in 1967. The firm began conducting usability on documents and as the GUI emerged shifted to doing usability and design for user interfaces. They are one of the oldest user experience firms.
Caterina Fake cofounded, with Stewart Butterfield, flickr in 2004. The company was one of the leaders of the Web 2.0 revolution of the internet.
Jenifer Tidwell wrote Designing Interfaces in 2005. It was one of the earliest, most complete book of Interaction Design patterns published and is now in it's 3rd edition (2019).
Jane Fulton Suri, who brought ethnography and user driven research into IDEO, wrote Thoughtless Acts in 2005, bringing design research into the forefront of the UX design process.
Mariana Valenzuela and Carolina Sepulveda R. cofounded the +Mujeres en UX experience community in 2018. It was one of the first communities of women in UX across Latin America.
Eleanor Gibson (and Richard Walk) published some of the first studies looking at Affordances in Scientific American in 1960.
Aliza Sherman founded Webgrrls international during the early days of the web in 1995. The organization was one of the first to bring women together around technology and design.
Karen Santos founded UX Para Minas Pretas in 2019 as an online community for black female designers in Brazil.
Sharae Gibbs founded She Designs in 2016 as a platform to mentor, train and provide career development in UX for women of color.
Joy Mountford founded the Interaction Design Expo in the late 1980's. The expo worked with schools to bring IXD futures challenges to students to design and present. The expo ran for about 19 years.
Jane Shih founded the Taipei chapter of Ladies that UX in 2015. She also was the managing director of Girls in Tech from 2015-2019.
danah boyd founded the Data and Society Research Institute in 2013 , to study the implications of data and technology on broad social issues.
Antonia Anni founded and is curator of Platforms for Women in 2015, an organization that supports and promotes events for and by women in tech.
Amber Case wrote Calm Technology in 2015, advocating principles and patterns for non-intrusive design as the Internet of Things became a reality.
Liz Jackson founded the Disabled List in 2015, an advocacy collective that engages with disability as a critical design practice.
Dame Wendy Hall created an alternative hypertext system in 1988 called Microcosm. Unfortunately, the WWW protocol proposed by Berners-Lee won out.
In 2020, Mitzi Okou cofounded "Where Are All the Black Designers" as both a conference and online platform connecting and advocating for Black designers.
In 2019, Banwo Omobolanle founded the Geneza School of Design for residents of Lagos Africa. She also founded the Female Designer Movement in January 2018 to empower women through tech and design.
As early as 1992, Loretta Staples was pioneering UI design for silicon valley companies like Apple, Sony, HP and Getty.
In the late 1980's Sylvia Harris worked for Valerie Fenster, an interaction designer at CitiBank, and together they designed the bank's ATMs.
Better by design conference was founded by Madison-based user experience designers Jessica Jones, Kavitha Krishnan, and Phyllis Treige in 2016 and is supported by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Danielle Barnes became CEO of Women Talk Design in 2017. The organization provides training and resources for women and gender non-binary speakers.
From 2007 to 2013, Doreen Lorenzo was the President of frog Design, having moved up the ranks from 1997 when she came in to lead the firm's digital media division.
Janice Fraser founded LuxR in 2010, bringing lean design to startup companies
In 2017, Alisha Ramos founded and is CEO of Girls' Night In, a brand teaching community care as self-care.
53% of UX designers are female and 47% are male, according to the Adavait State of Women in Tech report. Only 11% of design leadership positions are held by women, according to a recent AIGA report.
From 1998 through 2021, SIGCHI has awarded 37 lifetime achievment awards. Of those, only 8 have been to women.
In the study "Ms. Categorized: Gender, notability, and inequality on Wikipedia" by Francesca Tripodi, she finds that Wikipedia contains more than 1.5 million biographies of notable writers, inventors and academics, but less than 19% of these are about women.
Vivianne Castillo created the organization HmntyCntrd to bring UX professionals together to learn how to be more human-centered in their work.
Liz Ogbu was the first scholar in residence at California College of the Arts in 2012 and in 2013 she joined the faculty at Stanford University.
Bonnie John opened the first user studies lab at Carnegie Mellon University in 1985, years before the first HCI classes.
Laura Klein and Kate Rutter have been hosting the podcast "What's Wrong with UX" since 2015.
Jenifer Tidwell created an Interaction Design Pattern library, modeled on Christopher Alexander and presented her work at PLoP in 1997. She later published this library of patterns as Designing Interfaces from O'Reilly Media in 2005. The 3rd edition was recently published in 2020.
Stacy Horn created ECHO, which was an east coast BBS community explicitly created to be the anti-WELL (the WELL was Berkeley based created by Stewart Brand with a west coast vibe). ECHO was started in 1990.
Bonnie John developed and taught the first course in HCI at Carnegie Mellon University in 1993.
Colleen Bushell joined the NCSA in 1986 to do graphic design and data visualization and she was the UI designer for the web browser Mosaic in 1992. Mosaic was the precursor to Netscape and was the first successful web browser.
Mary Gathithi Wangari cofounded the Nairobi Design Community in 2017.
Ari Melenciano became the founding Director of Afrotectopia in 2017.
Carolina Leslie coordinated the first Brazilian Information Architecture and User Experience conference in 2007.
Maya Draisin cofounded the Webby Awards in 1997.
Karen Holtzblatt invented the technique of Contextual Inquiry in 1998 as a user-centered design research method.
Dina El-Zanfaly cofounded & codirects the Fab Lab Egypt in 2012, which was the first communtiy maker space in northern Africa and the Arab world.
Indi Young pioneered the concept of Mental Model mapping in the user centered research process. She authored the first Rosenfeld Media book on the topic in 2008.
Janice (Ginny) Redish is known as the mother of usabilty. She created one of the first independent usability labs in the US in 1985 and she is the author of the best selling book User and Task Analysis for Interface Design.
Alexa Andrzejewski was the CEO of Foodspotting which was a foodie social experience. She founded the company in 2009 and it was eventually sold to OpenTable.
Irene Au was the first Interaction Designer hired at Yahoo! in 1998. She went on to hire interaction designers and user researchers, eventually building a team of over 200.
Janice Fraser is a founding partner of Seneca Ventures, a VC firm founded in 2019 and focused on women and BIPOC founders.
Gillian Crampton-Smith founded and the Interaction Design Programme at Iuav University of Venice from 2006-2014, after the closure of the Interaction Institute Ivrea.
Brenda Laurel cofounded the Game Developers Conference in 1988.
George Oates created The Commons project at flickr, which brought catalogs of images from the Library of Congress first and then other museums onto the service without copyright restrictions.
Sylvia Harris was Creative Director for the 2000 U.S. Census design. Harris used user-centered design processes and methods to design and test the materials created for the Census. Return rates increased for the first time in 30 years.
Jennifer Bove cofounded the Annual Interaction Awards, which are awarded each year at the annual IXDA Interaction conference in 2010, with the first awards given in 2012.
Janice Fraser was one of the founding partners (there were seven) of the UX firm Adaptive Path (founded in 2001), serving as it's first CEO and then on the firm's Board of Directors.
Mena Trott cofounded Six Apart, the parent company of Moveable Type the blogging platform, with her husband Ben in 2001. She was known as the mother of blogging at the time.
Brenda Laurel designed and led the graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design from 2001 - 2006.
Danielle Forward founded Natives Rising in 2017
to promote visibility of Native Americans and Indigineous people within tech and design.
Holly Liu cofounded the mobile gaming company Kabam in 2006. She was aslo lead designer of their flagship game Kingdoms of Camelot and its extension Battle for the North.
Rashmi Sinha cofounded the presentation sharing community tool SlideShare in 2006. It was later purchased by LinkedIn and integrated into that service.
Sylvia Harris cofounded the non-profit Public Policy Lab in 2011 in order to bring design and design processes to civic policy initiatives. She is considered a pioneer in the field of social impact design.
Maureen Macharia founded the UX and Product conference and community in Nariobi in 2019 in order to foster community for these emerging disciplines.
Goldie "Red" Burns was known as the Godmother of Silicon Alley (New York City's version of Silicon Valley) and she ran NYU's Interaction Telecommunications Program for 28 years. She mentored a couple of generations of talent through the program.
Joy Mountford began leading the Human Interface group at Apple Computer in 1986. She helped invent Quicktime video and the group was responsible for setting the user interface guidelines across all Apple products.
Dori Tunstall is the first black female dean of design and is currently Dean of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Ontario, Canada.
Gillian Crampton-Smith founded the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy. Funded by Olivetti, the Institute ran from 2001 - 2005 before shutting it's doors.
Brenda Laurel was the founding Chair of the Graduate Program in Design at the California College of the Arts in 2006. She was Chair until 2012.
Simona Maschi cofounded the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in 2007. She continues to serve as it's Director.
Liz Danzico cofounded the MFA Interaction Design program at the School of Visual Arts in 2008 and serves as Chair of the program.
Brenda Laurel created the first company specializing in video games for girls in 1996 after conducting years of gender & technology research.
Christina Wodtke, Erin Malone & Lisa Chan were founding members of the Asilomar Institute of Information Architecture in 2002, which became the IA Institute in 2005.
Muriel Cooper cofounded the Visual Language Workshop & was the first female tenured professor at the MIT Media Lab (which the VLW merged with in the 1980's).
Lisa deBettencourt, Lada Gorlenko and Carrie Ritch were founding members of the IXDA in 2005.
Zuli Segura created the Latinx Design Directory in 2020.
Ivy Mukherjee co-created the Indians Who Design directory in 2018.
Jules Forest created the Women Who Design directory in 2017.
Pabini Gabriel-Petit is the founding publisher of UX Matters online magazine (2005).
Elizabeth "Jake" Feinler led the team at SRI that created WhoIs and the DNS framework in the early 1970's.
Dana Chisnell cofounded the Center for Civic Design in 2013, with Whitney Quesenberry.
Whitney Quesenberry cofounded the Center for Civic Design in 2013, with Dana Chisnell.
Kat Vellos created the Bay Area Black Designers community in 2015.
Christina Wodtke was the founding publisher of Boxes and Arrows (2001), the first online journal for information architect and interaction design practitioners.
Terry Swack cofounded the AIGA Experience Design special interest group in 1997 and events ran until 2007.
Abby Covert invented World IA Day which launched in 2012.
Janice James was the first president of UPA in 1991 (Usability Professionals Association) which was later named UXPA (2012).
Kathy Hemenway was the first chair (president) of BayCHI in 1989- the Bay Area's local chapter of CHI (Computer Human Interaction).
Lorraine Borman was the first chair (president) of SIGCHI (The Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction) in 1982 which is part of the ACM - (Association for Computing Machinery).