Keynote by Russell J. Branaghan

Headshot of Russell J. Branaghan
Russell J. Branaghan, PhD

Keynote Title: Progress, Promise, and Perils in User Experience: A Midterm Report Card

Abstract: User Experience (UX) can trace its roots to the 1982 ACM SIGCHI (Computer-Human Interaction) conference. Focusing on human factors in computing systems, the conference attracted presenters from cognitive psychology, design, and technical communications, among other fields. The meeting was transdisciplinary, meaning it did not just combine perspectives from diverse fields, but instead developed an entirely new discipline offering something above and beyond its component parts.

This transdisciplinary approach to UX continues today, as contributors from marketing, quality engineering, and others join the movement. New disciplines like UX, however, have their challenges. For example, established departments sometimes try to claim UX as their own, corporate silos erect barriers, and practitioners with different backgrounds clash. Further, the addition of new subspecialties, such as UX Research, UX Design, UX Writing and others threaten to create new silos, potentially weakening the discipline.

This keynote presentation recaps exactly how far UX has come in the past four decades, what is possible in the near future, and changes we need to make to achieve our potential.


Russell J. Branaghan, PhD, is President of Research Collective, a Human Factors and User Experience (UX) consulting firm and laboratory in Tempe, AZ. His work centers on healthcare human factors and UX for leading companies in robotic surgery, cardiac rhythm management, diagnostic imaging, chronic disease management (e.g., hemophilia, diabetes), artificial organs, in vitro diagnostics, reprocessing, healthcare apps, wearables, home health, and others.

Russ is Professor Emeritus of Human Systems Engineering and User Experience at Arizona State University (ASU), Founder of the User Experience Lab (XLab), Visiting Professor of Human Factors at Northwestern University, and Research Affiliate at Mayo Clinic. While at ASU, he served as Department Chair and Co-founder of the MS in User Experience program. He has received teaching awards from both ASU and Northwestern. Prior to his academic and consulting careers, Russ held leadership positions in human factors and UX at Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Fitch. An active researcher, Russ has published numerous peer reviewed articles on Human Factors and UX and published two books. Recently, he co-authored Humanizing Healthcare – Human Factors for Medical Device Design, published by Springer Nature.