Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Human Computer Interaction Program
Terry Winograd started his academic career in Artificial Intelligence, programming computers to interact with people as though they were other people. After a long and winding path through sometimes abstruse regions of philosophy, he realized that the more fundamental goal is to create computer interactions that support and enhance human experience. This led him into the world of human-computer interaction, leading to his development of the HCI program in the computer science department. The program has produced hundreds of graduates, many of whom have gone on to play major roles in interaction design, and some of whom have even come back to teach with us in the d.school.
Along the way he authored or co-authored several books that explore the underlying theories and concepts that provide a basis for design. These include Understanding Computers and Cognition (with Fernando Flores), Usability: Turning Technologies into Tools (with Paul Adler), and Bringing Design to Software. He was a founder of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, which has provided a vehicle for social and political activity in the interest of having computer technologies serve the public. The common thread through all this work is the point of view that technology needs to be understood and invented from a starting point of how it affects people’s life and experience. As one CPSR bumper sticker said: “Technology is driving the future, the steering is up to us.”
For the last ten years, Terry has collaborated with David Kelley in teaching a course that has become a prototype for the d.school way of teaching. “Interdisciplinary Interaction Design” has been an opportunity for us to explore the fun (and challenges) of guiding projects that cross the boundaries between design and computing. The close to 200 students who have taken that course have showed us how creative and productive student teams can be.
For an engineering guy, Terry is surprisingly domestic, having equally and actively co-parented two wonderful daughters and enjoying the mundane pleasures of cooking and even grocery shopping (especially at the local farmers’ markets). The pleasures of family life have given him a balance, which may even have helped in seeing the softer face of the techno-world and the importance of design. We hope to nurture that spirit in the culture we create in the d.school.