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Dr. Bias receives lifetime achievement award

The world’s premier organization for user experience professionals is honoring School of Information Professor Randolph G. Bias with its lifetime achievement award.

A pioneer of the user experience field, Dr. Bias spent two decades in private industry before joining the School of Information in 2003.

“What makes Randolph stand out, even above and beyond his achievements, is his commitment to bridging the gap between academia and practice. This attitude has informed everything he has done and is critical to our practice,” said Rich Gunther, executive director of the User Experience Professionals Association, in UXPA's announcement.

The organization will present Dr. Bias with the 2017 UXPA Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual meeting in June in Toronto.

“I am surprised and pleased to be honored this way,” Dr. Bias said. “I see this award as an honoring of that research-practice nexus. You know, I might assert that research without an eye to application can be sterile. And practice that is not steeped in research is likely to be haphazard. I think the field of UX will do well to be intentional about the connection.”

Dr. Andrew Dillon, dean and professor of the School of Information, said Dr. Bias’ award was well-deserved.

“Lifetime achievement awards are extremely rare, and the recipients are rightly recognized by peers as having made long-term contributions that shape a field. In Randolph’s case, his pioneering work on cost-justification for usability in design and the drive for a more scientific understanding of user experience have influenced both practice in the field and the education of generations of UX professionals. This honor is a tribute to his career and is a source of pride for all of us in the iSchool where we are fortunate to have Randolph as a colleague.”

Dr. Bias earned his Ph.D. in human experimental psychology from UT Austin in 1978. He worked as a human factors/usability practitioner for firms such as Bell Labs and IBM and co-founded Austin Usability, a small lab and consultancy where he was Chief Usability Officer. 

In that time, he also co-edited two editions of the book Cost-Justifying Usability, which helped inspire and inform a more empirical approach to usability practice.

Dr. Bias joined the School of Information in 2003. While conducting research funded by government agencies such as the NSF and NIH and large companies like IBM and Microsoft, he has continued to consult with high-tech companies. In 2016, Dr. Bias and his recent doctoral student in the Texas iSchool, Hans Huang, won the John Wiley Best JASIST Paper Award for the best article published in the Journal of the Association of Information Science & Technology.

UXPA has 50 chapters around the world and members from 60 countries. It supports people who research, design and evaluate the user experience of products and services.