John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

Associate Professor

John Zimmerman is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment between the School of Design and the HCI Institute. He teaches studios and seminars on interaction design as well as a course on mobile service innovation.

John conducts research on interaction design spread across four topic areas:

  • Value of Digital Things: This works investigates why people often view their digital possessions as less valuable than traditional, material things and how changes to the form and behavior of digital things can make them more valued. Recent projects in this area include an interactive bedroom where teens can hangout with their material and digital stuff, an alarm clock that keeps small children from waking their parents, and a service that sends postcards to people from their past.
  • Service Design and Social Computing: This work investigates how social computing can help citizens become more engaged in the design and planning of the public services they use. Current work includes a crowdsourced, real-time, arrival information system for the local transit service. Users of this working service have contributed more than 150,000 location traces. This work earned awards from the FCC and from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
  • Ubiquitous/Mobile Computing: This work investigates how smartphones can function as an intelligent platform and support new kinds of services. Recent projects include a system that learns the routine pick-ups and drop-offs of families and then reminds parents when a child might be forgotten and a system that detects the onset or recurrence of depression based on changes in social behavior, activity level, and sleep.
  • Research through Design: This work investigates how design researchers can make new things in order to investigate the speculative future. John recently co-authored a book on this topic: Design Research Through Practice: From the Lab, Field, and Showroom.

Before joining Carnegie Mellon University, John was a senior researcher at Philips Electronics, where he designed interactive television products and intelligent devices for the home.

John holds an MDes in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design, and he enjoys teaching students in this progam.