The Design Lab

We are a newly established organization located on the University of California, San Diego campus.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and Making: TOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

The Design Lab is located within the California Institute of Telecommunication and Information Technology, which gives us freedom to move seamlessly across all the departments, schools, and divisions of the university. Our advisory board includes people from Management, Engineering, Visual Arts, Theater, and the Social Sciences.

Sign up here to receive news about the Lab and our events.

To contact the Design Lab directly, please email, or call 858-822-1343.

The Design Lab is currently searching for a Teaching Assistant Professor!

Think. Observe. Make

This is an exciting time for the field of design. The technologies that the research communities have worked on for the past 25 years have leapt off the pages of academic journals and into the daily lives of billions. What used to be our imagination is now our reality. These have enabled an extremely wide range of innovation in multiple arenas: healthcare and medicine, business, social interaction, entertainment.

But technology only enables: a practical application requires more than the underlying technology. If we build things for people, then knowledge of both people and technology is required. If we are to make them pleasurable, then the creativity and craft skills of artists and traditionally trained industrial and graphic designers are required. If they are to be understandable, then social scientists are required, including experts in writing and exposition. If they are to thrive in the world of business, then schools of management are required. Design aspires to combine these very different vertical threads of knowledge. Design is an all encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts.

Our goal is to create an exciting, vibrant design community that pervades the campus, cutting across disciplines, developing cross-campus projects, combining practice with theory, and making UC San Diego a world leader in design theory and integrative programs.

We propose a novel mix of practice and theory, of Thinking, Observing, and Making: TOM. We want to produce major works that advance the state of knowledge and leave a lasting heritage. Let TOM define our approach. Thinking and Making, but always for the benefit of people, hence the importance of Observing. The goal of design is to produce products, services, and systems. It is the science and practice of making.

Designer in Residence

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In January 2016, The Design Lab launched its Designer in Residence program focused on matching design and innovation executives and practitioners with students, faculty, and researchers.  The focus: to tackle real-world challenges through human-centered design.

We are thrilled to announce Andrea Anderson, SAP Vice President for Design Thinking, as our inaugural Designer in Residence.

Andrea is collaborating with Associate Director Michèle Morris and a student team to empower students to become design-minded intrapreneurs, ready for purposeful careers.

Andrea also co-designed an online learning experience “ Software Design for Non-Designers”  with UC San Diego Design Lab Co-Director and Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Computer Science & Engineering Scott Klemmer that so far has been attended by over 10,000 participants.

Andrea started with SAP in 1997, working as an Instructor and Consultant in the Financial Accounting, Controlling and Project Systems modules. She then took on the responsibility for America’s Product Management team for SAP Financials with focus on Enterprise Performance Management, GRC, and electronic billing.

In 2004, she joined the SAP Design Services team tasked to lead the organizational transformation of SAP towards a design-led development company. She managed and coached several innovation projects applying a “Design Thinking” approach in topics such as analytics, user-interaction patterns, and social media. In 2010, she joined the SAP Cloud organization, driving product and go-to-market strategy for Finance OnDemand, with focus on Travel OnDemand.

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Andrea Anderson 

As part of SAP’s Global Design and User Experience team, she now focuses on leading, coaching and teaching teams to create delightful user experiences for business users. Her teams delivered applications such as SAP RealSpend, and FIORI Approval/Request, and Strategic Business Management solutions, as well as public eLearning experience for Design Thinking and Design Doing.

Before joining SAP, she worked for a subsidiary of the Mead Corporation as a Credit Manager, and later Business Systems & Applications Manager.


Michèle Morris
Associate Director, DesignLab
o: 858-822-0128

Think. Observe. Make.

Stay Connected to The Design Lab


Phone: 858-822-1343

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Want to know what’s going on at the Design Lab?
Check this page for all of our upcoming events or sign up here to receive announcements for our Design@Large talks and other public events.

We love to interact with people, so all of our public events we’re hosting or attending will be listed here. We hope to see you at one of them!

Upcoming Events

Our friends at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design invites you to attend their first lecture of the season featuring world-renowned architect, Billie Tsien, on October 19th from 6:30-7:30pm at Spreckels Theatre.


Billie Tsien will be discussing how user experience effects how we design.

Due to extreme popularity this lecture has been moved off campus to Spreckels Theatre and it is asked that all attendees RSVP. Community and press are invited to attend this free lecture.

To find out more and to RSVP click here.

We are very excited to announce that The Design Lab at UC San Diego’s Co-Director, Scott Klemmer will be speaking at TEDxSanDiego!

TEDxSanDiego 2016 will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Copley Symphony Hall. This year’s theme will be ‘The Age of Magic.’


The Rady School of Management presents:


On Tuesday, October 25th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm, the Rady School of Management will be putting on presentations featuring:

  • representatives from Kickstarter reveal the best practices that will help you successfully crowd fund
  • find out what it takes to be successful from local startups who have lived it
  • ask your questions and get a better understanding of what crowdfunding entails

This event is open to all students, faculty, and staff of the UC San Diego community and will be held in Beyster Auditorium (Wells Fargo Hall 1W102) at the Rady School of Management.

Please RSVP here!

Recent Events & News

September 21, 2016

Axure RP: The Making Of 

Many of you have used it. But how many of you know it’s maker is right here in San Diego? This month members of the Axure RP team gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how one of the preeminent UX prototyping tools is made!

Axure’s product team put on a presentation of the ins and outs of Axure RP’s software development life cycle from Axure RP 7 through to the current release—Axure RP 8—and into the future as we plan our Axure RP 8.X major update.

Food and soft drinks courtesy of Axure and The Creative Group.

September 9, 2016

Future Domestic Robots: Design Fiction and the Home of the Future 

Bruce Sterling (cyberpunk visionary, futurist, and design theorist) and Jasmina Tesanovic (writer, activist, and filmmaker) came and discussed two recent projects of speculative design.

This event was put on by our friends at the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination.

Jasmina Tesanovic talked about Casa Jasmina, a mix of lab, gallery space, and B&B in Turin, Italy, that aims to integrate traditional Italian skills in furniture and interior design with emergent skills in Italian open-source electronics as applied to “the internet of Things in the Home.”

Bruce Sterling discussed about the upcoming installation for the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, which he and Jasmina have been in residence at the Clarke Center to incubate.

August 25, 2016

Expose UX

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Expose UX was an event will hosted by The Design Lab and Expose UX at The Sanford Consortium.

Expose UX is the web TV show where startups compete for prizes while getting feedback from user experience (UX) experts. It’s Shark Tank for UX design. Here we learned from experts’ advice and how to improve on one’s own product!

August 1, 2016


Design Disruptors is a full-length documentary featuring design leaders and product designers from 15+ industry-toppling companies — valued at more than $1 trillion dollars combined.

This event was presented to you by rethinkCAFÉ, InVision, AIGA San Diego, and yours truly, The Design Lab at UC San Diego in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District.

July 27, 2016

Summer Teacher Workshop: Design Thinking 


This event, hosted by STEAM Insight, helped explore ways to blend the Common Core standards with the Deeper Learning Skills kids need today. The Design Thinking Process allows students to practice content skills while growing their collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity skills.

July 26, 2016


Cog Sci Professor, Steven Dow, recently gave a talk at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab!

July 21, 2016

Wie sag ich’s ihm: Selbstfahrende Autos wollen verstanden werden

During the Automated Vehicles Symposium, The Design Lab at UC San Diego’s Automation research has been featured on the popular German tech news site, heise online!

Check out the article here (the site is in German but can be translate via Google Translate; the video is in English!).

June 28, 2016

‘Collaboratory’ brings UCSD downtown


The Design Lab joins the Downtown partnership, UC San Diego Extension, and local innovators for the new Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation!

Check out the article in The San Diego Union-Tribune here to learn more about it!

June 24, 2016

The 12 Most Important People in Design Right Now


We are pleased to share that San Diego Magazine’s HATCH has featured Don Norman and some of our amazing collaborators/partners as part of “The 12 Most Important People in Design Right Now”!

Click here to check out the article and read about what they’re working on in San Diego now!

June 20, 2016

UC San Diego Aims To Become A Leader In Using Design To Solve Problems

Check out this 9 minute audio clip from KPBS Midday Edition featuring Don Norman and his thoughts on turning San Diego into a hub for “design thinking.”

June 16, 2016


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Design Forward was a design summit in which civic leaders, industry innovators and designers came together to explore the potential and power of human-centered design in driving San Diego’s economic growth and global identity. The day-long event demonstrated design as a critical component of San Diego’s innovation strategy.

June 15, 2016

Summit unites designers, industry


The Design Lab and collaborators are working to make San Diego a hub of design innovation, starting with Design Forward, a summit for designers held at the Broadway Pier in San Diego.

Check out the article on this event by The San Diego Union-Tribune here!

Also, feel free to go through the official Design Forward website to learn more about the event!

Check out our archive of past events here


Sign up here to receive announcements for our Design@Large talks and other public events at the Design Lab.

Design@Large Speakers for Fall 2016: 
Talks will be on Wednesdays in CSE 1202

September 28
Cognitive Systems: Designing Interactions that Think With Us
Haakon Faste

October 5
The Design Space of Tools for Learning Programming at Scale
Philip Guo

October 12
Microproductivity: Getting Big Things Done with Little Microtasks 
Jaime Teevan
Microsoft Research

October 19
Digital Civis and New Forms of Data-Based Participation
Chris Le Dantec
Georgia Tech

October 26
Julian McAuley, UCSD

November 2
Mickey McManus, AutoDesk

November 9
Greg Horowitt, UCSD

November 16
Anita Woolley, Carnegie Mellon

November 22 (Tuesday this week)
Kate Starbird, U Washington

November 30
Adrien Treuille, Google Research

Spring 2016 – Previous Speakers:

March 30th
Printing Flexible Electronics
Tina Ng
UC San Diego

April 6th
Monumental Activations
Justin Manor

April 13th
The Future Is Dead. Long Live the Future: A Mad Art Journey Through Some Unmovieish Movie-Making Machines
Amy Alexander
UC San Diego

April 20th
Understanding and Reducing the User Burdens in Applications for Health and Families
Julie Kientz
University of Washington

April 27th
Program and Be Programmed
Leah Buechley

May 4th
Rethinking Software Design
Daniel Jackson

May 13th
TRANSFORM: Beyond Pixels, Towards Radical Atoms
Hiroshi Ishii

May 18th
Engineers for Exploration
Ryan Kastner
UC San Diego

May 25th
Project PREMONITION: A Cyber-Physical System for Disease Surveillance
Ethan Jackson

June 1st
Socially Acceptable AI-based City Driving
Maarten Sierhuis

To check out our archive of speakers from previous years, click the photo below! 


Calls for Faculty


At this time there are no open faculty positions. Thank you.


Research Assistants

Looking for Juniors, Seniors, and Masters students to conduct research in Design Lab alongside Lab Graduate Researchers and Lab Fellows 

Work includes a subset of web, mobile or AR/VR development, software design, designing experiments, running user studies, collecting and  analyzing data and (perhaps) running Machine Learning algorithms to find insights. Being hands-on, learning tools quickly and communicating effectively are non-negotiable skills alongside taking an active interest in the research process. Please make a realistic commitment (keep in mind your class schedule) and plan to stick to your commitment.


Please fill out this Google Form to apply.

Please note, this is not a specific call, but rather a continuous open application, and we will draw from the list of applicants as specific needs arise. We hold interviews only as needed, and you may not be contacted for many months. Once you’ve filled out the google form, please do not contact the lab for information on if/when you might be interviewed. Thank you.



Don Norman, Director (Cognitive Science, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, & Psychology)

Jim Hollan, Co-Director (Computer Science and Engineering & Cognitive Science)

Scott Klemmer, Co-Director (Computer Science and Engineering & Cognitive Science)

Michèle Morris, Associate Director

Advisory Board

Sheldon Brown (Visual Arts)

Judy Dolan (Theater)

Bill Griswold (Computer Science and Engineering)

Lilly Irani (Communication)

Vish Krishnan (Management)


Benjamin Bratton (Visual Arts)

Nate Delson (Mechanical Engineering)

Steven Dow (Cognitive Science)

Deborah Forster (Assistant Project Scientist at Qualcomm Institute)

Ed Hutchins (Cognitive Science)

David Kirsh (Cognitive Science)

Albert Lin (Qualcomm Institute)

Laurel Riek (Computer Science and Engineering)

Michael Meyer (Design Executive; Lecturer, Rady School of Management)

Kevin Patrick (Center for Wireless & Population Health Systems)

Eli Spencer (Distributed Health Labs, Infectious Diseases, Medical School)

Nadir Weibel (Computer Science and Engineering)

Postdocs and Graduate Students

Celia Durkin (Graduate Student)

Matt Erhart (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Seth Ferris (Visual Arts, Grad Student, Researcher)

Amy Fox (Cognitive Science, Grad Student)

Ailie Fraser (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Nida Hussain (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Derek Lomas (Design Lab Fellow, Postdoc Researcher)

Narges Mahyar (Design Lab Fellow, Postdoc Researcher)

Melanie McComsey (Design Lab Fellow, Postdoc Researcher)

Lars Mueller (Design Lab Fellow, Postdoc Researcher)

Tricia Ngoon (Cognitive Science, Grad Student)

Vineet Pandey (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Steven Rick (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Malte Risto (Design Lab Fellow, Postdoc Researcher)

Danilo Gasques Rodrigues (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Adam Rule (Cognitive Science, Grad Student)

Ariel Weingarten (Computer Science, Grad Student)


Justine Bui, Student Assistant

Julia Cambre (Cognitive Science, Researcher)

Sara Carver, Events Lead

Christine Eco (Teenah), Administrative Project Coordinator

Colleen Emmenegger, Researcher

Adam Powers, Outreach & Research Assistant

Joseph Ruanto-Ramirez, Interim Project Manager

Beverly Sastri, Interim Executive Assistant

Stephanie Sherman, Creative Coordinator

Undergraduate Students

Diana Benavidez, Undergraduate Researcher, Design Lab Creative

Tori Duong, Undergraduate Researcher, SAP Project

Isaac Fehr, Undergraduate Researcher, HCHD Project

Joel Rosenthal, Undergraduate Researcher, SAP Project

Brian Soe, Undergraduate Researcher, Active Learning

Wesley Chang, Undergraduate Researcher, Automation

Grant Chinn, Undergraduate Researcher, SAP Project

Elmer Barerra, Undergraduate Researcher, SAP Project

Aliff Macapinlac, Undergraduate Researcher, Active Learning

Gabriel Schneider, Undergraduate Researcher, Design Lab Creative

Design Lab Alumni

Rachel Chen, Undergraduate Researcher, SAP Project

Bonnie Chinh, Undergraduate Researcher, Active Learning

Purvi Desai, Grad Student

Lynn Hao, Student Assistant

Catherine Hicks, Researcher

Daniel Kaulen, Researcher

Jonas Kemper, Researcher

Yasmine Kotturi (Computer Science, Grad Student)

Laura Pina, (Grad Student)

Vanessa Pool, Program Manager

Contact Us

How to get a hold of us:

Main Line:
+1 858.822.1343


Campus Mail:
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0436 | La Jolla, CA 92093 USA

Social Media:
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Directions to Atkinson Hall

(Design Lab is in Atkinson 1601)

Via Interstate 5 to Genessee Avenue exit

Take Interstate I-5 and exit at Genessee Ave.
Go West on Genessee (From I-5 North it is a right turn; from I-5 south is a left merge)
Turn Left at North Torrey Pines Rd.
Turn Left at North Point Dr.
Follow North Point Dr. as it curves Right and turns into Hopkins Dr.
Follow Hopkins Dr. to the intersection with Voigt Dr.
Park in the Hopkins Parking Structure:
Continue straight (the entrance is just up the hill on your right)
From the parking structure, walk back down the hill to Atkinson Hall. Once inside, walk past the main elevator lobby, and turn down the hallway on the right. We are the first room on the left (1601).


Via Interstate 5 to La Jolla Village Drive exit

Take Interstate I-5 and exit at  La Jolla Village Drive
Go West on La Jolla Village Drive (From I-5 North it is a left turn; from I-5 south is a right merge)
Turn Right at Villa La Jolla Drive
Turn Right at Gilman Dr.
Follow Gilman Dr. as it curves around campus, turn Left at Voigt Dr.
At next intersection, just after Canyon Vista Pool, turn right (still on Voigt Dr.)
Atkinson Hall will be on your left on the corner of Equality Lane and Voigt Dr.
Park in the Hopkins Parking Structure
Continue straight (the entrance is just up the hill on your right)
From the parking structure, walk back down the hill to Atkinson Hall. Once inside, walk past the main elevator lobby, and turn down the hallway on the right. We are the first room on the left (1601).