Carroll, Jack

Carroll 1995
Jack Carroll speaking at the DIS Symposium on Designing Interactive Systems in 1995.

John M. “Jack” Carroll is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of human-computer interaction, having published some of the earliest scholarship on the subject that in turn established HCI as a distinct sub-discipline of computer science.

Carroll is perhaps best known for being the father of the minimalist school of computer instruction design. Minimalist theory embraces user error as a teaching opportunity, while reducing the extraneous noise that can confuse the user. By reducing the noise, the user-trainees can more effectively focus on the information supporting the decision they are making, which in turn allows for more effective instruction.

Carroll is the author or co-author of more than 20 books. He received the ACM CHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

“The ways in which Jack Carroll applied his psychology background to creatively describe user behavior helped make HCI a respected discipline.  Jack’s early paper on the Task-Artefact Cycle was a clever and surprising insight to how users working on tasks led to ever more effective user interfaces.  Jack can crack a smile, but he’s often very work-focused.  His emphasis on theory, plus his lucid writing and effective editing have helped make HCI a success.” – Ben Shneiderman


Education:

  • Postdoc in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology: Language perception and theoretical linguistics, Columbia University
  • B.A. in Mathematics and Information Science, Lehigh University

Affiliations:

  • Frymoyer Chair of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State (2003 – Present)
  • Head, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech (1994 – 2003)
  • IBM Watson Research Center
  • Visiting Scientist, Xerox Research Centre Europe

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