University of Maryland
Home / Events

BBL: Contextual Design, Cool Concepts, and Women in Tech Project

Event Details


HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


Karen has recently joined University of Maryland as a Research Scientist and will provide a brief overview of her work in user-centered design techniques and innovation as well as her new work understanding and creating intervention methods to help technology companies retain women.

Karen will share the new techniques described in her upcoming book Contextual Design V2: Design for life. Because of the revolution in how technology is now integrated into life with smartphones and tablets, designers and researchers must consider new ways of collecting and using user data. The Cool Project helped define the key aspects we must now consider; these led to changes in the Contextual Design Method.

Karen will also share the focus of her research on women in technology at the iSchool . Currently through collaborating with many in the industry The Women in Tech Project presents a framework for what keeps women satisfied and successful. They have also developed a measure which is being honed. More research will be occurring as well as the creation of intervention games and techniques.


Karen Holtzblatt is the inventor of Contextual Inquiry and co-founder of InContext Design, which began in 1992 to use Contextual Design techniques to work with product teams to deliver market data and design solutions to clients across multiple industries. Her books, Contextual Design: Defining Customer Centered Systems, and Rapid Contextual Design, are used by companies and universities all over the world.

Karen is a member of the CHI Academy (awarded to significant contributors in the Computer Human Interaction Association) and in 2010 received CHI’s first Life Time Award for Practice for her impact on the field. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.