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. Since 2004, Rigo Awards have been given every other year, during even-numbered years.

Nominations for the Rigo Award are considered carefully by the SIGDOC Executive Board (elected and appointed members), and the final recipients are determined in a series of run-off votes. Winners are announced at the SIGDOC conference.

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

  • 2018: 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.