John, Bonnie

Bonnie John at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in New Orleans, LA, April 28 – June 5, 1991.

Bonnie E. John (1955   ) is an American cognitive psychologist who studies human-computer interactionpredictive human performance modeling, and the relationship between usability and software architecture. She was a founding member of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, a research Staff Member at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and the Director of Computation and Innovation at The Cooper Union. She is currently a UX designer at Bloomberg L.P., and she has published more than 100 technical papers in the area of human–computer interaction.

John focuses on cognitive modeling, working within a unified theory of cognition to develop models of human performance that produce quantitative predictions of performance with less effort than prototyping and user testing. She researches techniques to improve the design of computer systems, particularly their usefulness and usability. She has investigated the effectiveness and usability of several HCI techniques, including think-aloud usability studies, Cognitive Walkthrough, and GOM. John has produced new techniques for bringing usability concerns to the design process, such as CPM-GOMS and Usability-Supporting Architectural patterns. Her team at Carnegie Mellon University developed CogTool, an open-source tool to support Keystroke-Level Model analysis.

Bonnie John at CHI 95
Bonnie John at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Denver, CO, May 7-11, 1995.

She directed the Masters in HCI Program in Human–Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University from 1997 to 2009 and was a founding Associate Editor for ACM Transactions on Computer Human Interaction (TOCHI). She regularly serves on the ACM SIGCHI conference program committee and was elected to the CHI Academy in 2005. John was a Research Staff Member at IBM‘s Thomas J. Watson Research Center from December 2010 through December 2014. She returned to her alma mater, The Cooper Union, as the Director of Computation and Innovation in December 2014. In July 2015, she joined Bloomberg’s UX design team, to focus primarily on discoverability of new functionality on the Bloomberg Terminal.

“Bonnie John was devoted to computational models of user behavior, particularly the Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection rules to predict user performance. Her success in cases of expert users performing routine tasks showed the value of cognitive models.  Bonnie did admirable work in shaping our discipline through her participation in numerous technical program committees and editorial boards.  In addition to these contributions, Bonnie will be remembered for her playful side, hearty laugh, and her courageous juggling at the CHI 1994 dance party.” – Ben Shneiderman


  • Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University (1988)
  • M.S. in Cognitive Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University (1984)
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University (1978)
  • B. E. in Mechanical Engineering ,The Cooper Union (1977)


  • Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, with appointments to Computer Science Department, School of Computer Science, Department of Psychology and Human-Computer Interaction Institute (1989 – 1996)
  • Consultant for Microsoft, Software Engineering Institute, CarnegieWorks, American Robot Corp., AT&T, and NYNEX.
  • Post-doctoral researcher, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University. (1988 – 1989)


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