The Rigo Award is named after Joseph Rigo, the founder of SIGDOC. The award celebrates an individual’s lifetime contribution to the field of communication design, technical communication, user experience, or related field. Since 2004, Rigo Awards have been given every other year, alternating with the Diana Award.

Nominations for the Rigo Award are considered carefully by the SIGDOC Executive Committee. Any SIGDOC member can submit a nomination (self-nominations welcome) to be put on the ballot by sending an email to at least eight (8) months prior to the next conference. All nominations are voted upon by the Executive Committee. Winners are announced at the subsequent SIGDOC conference.

Since 1988, the Rigo Award has been given to the following people:

    • 2019: Samantha Blackmon
      Dr. Samantha Blackmon is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. She is a gamer of more than 4 decades and studies rhetoric at the intersection of video games and identity politics. She is also the co-founder of the Not Your Mama’s Gamer podcast and blog and the Editor-in-Chief of NYMG, a middle state Feminist Game Studies journal. She is currently an XBox MVP. Her work is wide-ranging, covering technical communication, writing pedagogy, literacy studies and critical game studies. Her groundbreaking work critically examines gaming to analyze how queer and people of color are represented in the gaming community and how these users navigate the predominantly white cis online environment of gaming. Her work and mentorship of students have paved the way for inclusive design of gaming spaces.
    • 2017: Karen Schriver
      Dr. Schriver is President of KSA Communication Design & Research. She applies research on information design, plain language, and cognitive science to the design of everyday communications. Schriver is best known for her foundational book Dynamics in Document Design: Creating Texts for Readers—now in its 9th printing. This book–and all of Karen’s important research throughout her career–has been transformative to the field of information design for its scholarly breadth and impact. She launched her career at Carnegie Mellon University, where she co-directed the M.A. in Professional Writing and coordinated the Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Document Design. She also served as research director of the Communications Design Center, a nonprofit that won the Diana Award for its landmark research on computer documentation and plain language public documents.
    • 2016: Jan Spyridakis 
      Awarded for her pioneering work as a UX researcher in assessing how the design of online information affects users; and using online tools and information to support leadership and advancement of women in science and engineering. She has been described as most prolific experimental researcher with the largest number of published research articles in the last 20 years of technical communication journals. An accomplished scholar and teacher, Dr. Spyridakis is also well known as a mentor in her field and regularly and selflessly helps students and faculty alike focus their research projects and navigate the intricacies of professional life in academia and industry.
    • 2014: Patricia Sullivan
      Awarded for her outstanding contributions to the field of technical communication, her mentorship of several generations of scholars and practitioners, and her leadership in the Women in Technical Communication group. She is the author of several ground-breaking books, including Electronic Literacies in the Workplace (co-edited with Jennie Dautermann), Opening Spaces (co-authored with James Porter), Professional Writing Online (co-authored with James Porter and Johndan Johnson-Eilola), and Technology, Labor, and Writing(co-edited with Pamela Takayoshi).
    • 2012: Gerhard Fischer
      Awarded for his research on new conceptual frameworks and new media for learning, working, and collaborating; human-computer interaction; design; domain oriented design environments; distributed cognition; universal design (assistive technologies); and socio-technical environments.
    • 2010: Maria Cecilia Calani Baranauskas and Clarisse Sieckenius de Souza
      Awarded for their contributions to human-computer interaction issues including participatory design, collaborative and mobile learning systems, and semiotic engineering.
    • 2008: Susanne Bødker and Pelle Ehn
      Bødker for her contributions to participatory design, computer-supported cooperative work and human-computer interaction; Ehn for his contributions to participatory design and in bridging design and information technology.
    • 2006: Dixie Goswami and Carolyn R. Miller
      Awarded for their contributions to technical communication research, theory, and pedagogy.
    • 2004: Alan Cooper
      Author of About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.
    • 2003: JoAnn Hackos
      Awarded for contributions to the field of documentation and usability.
    • 2002: Stephen Doheny-Farina 
      Dr. Doheny-Farina, a Clarkson University Professor of Technical Communications, is awarded for his professional contributions in the field of technical communications.
    • 2001: Don Norman
      Author of The Design of Everyday Things and The Invisible Computer.
    • 2000: Barbara Mirel
      Awarded for leadership in the field of technical communication in usability, human factors, and instructional writing.
    • 1999: Terry Winograd
      Awarded for grounding human needs and consequences of human-computer interactions (credit spratley at dresshead), productively complicating rationalistic traditions in computer science, and providing important new research directions in our field.
    • 1998: Patricia Wright
      for research on document design and readable writing.
    • 1997: Tom Landauer
      for research on the human-computer vocabulary problem and SuperBook.
    • 1996: Ben Shneiderman
      for research on human-computer interaction.
    • 1995: Janice Redish
      for research on document design and usability.
    • 1994: John Carroll
      for research on minimalist documentation.
    • 1993: Jay Bolter
      author of Writing Space.
    • 1992: Ed Tufte
      author of Envisioning Information, for research on visual design.
    • 1991: John Chapline
      author of the original ENIAC and UNIVAC user manuals.
    • 1990: Bill Horton
      author of Designing and Writing Online Documentation.
    • 1989: Edmond Weiss
      author of How to Write a Usable User Manual.
    • 1988: John Brockmann
      for research on writing computer user documentation.