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Curriculum Vitae

Who am I? Technical academic? Academic technologist? Yes!

25+ years in technology (hardware and software) including Apple/3dfx/IBM/SAP
20+ years in development and design
18+ years in research for companies such as JCPenney, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat, Motorola, General Motors, SoftLayer, and The Planet

Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Science focusing on the intersection of technology & people through human-computer interaction and social informatics
M.S. in Applied Anthropology focusing on computer-mediated experiences and technological organizations

I am a tech leader, thinker, tinkerer, strategist, architect, designer, innovator, and researcher. I have also had the great honor to be a mentor and a teacher. Building, growing, and leading successful teams is my current great adventure.

As a leader, I believe in leadership, ownership, mentorship, transparency, trust, and collaboration at all levels. As a team, we are only as good as our least experienced team members and thus I strive to provide an enriching environment where we can all learn and grow together. Whether it is an external focus on our products and services, or an internal one on our team, people always come first.

As an individual contributor, my specialty is researching the needs for and designing the interactions of highly functional data-driven innovative solutions. I enjoy finding creative ways to solve gnarly problems while making complex high tech systems usable and understandable. I specialize in generative research, design thinking facilitation, information architecture, interaction design, human-computer interaction, and human information behavior. I also have experience in distance learning and teaching higher education online.

My background is in enterprise applications, systems administration, and web development with extensive knowledge of infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service. I also have experience in working with edge technologies such as blockchain, IoT, machine learning, and AI. This breadth of knowledge and experience leads to deeper insights in researching, designing, and developing internal, customer facing, and business-to-business solutions. Technology and new learning opportunities excite me and I thrive in environments where these are key drivers.

My superpower is listening to and translating information between users, developers, designers, architects, product owners, and administrators.

I am a weaver of might and magic, and I love what I do.

If you would like to know more about my career, check out this lengthy (but fun!) writeup of my work history

What have I done? Over the last 12 years

  • Late 2020

    Associate Director of Design, Studios for and Online Products at Blizzard Entertainment

  • June 2020

    Lecturer in the UX Masters program at Brandeis University

    Designed and taught Design Research Methods at the Masters level.

  • November 2019

    Director, Experience Design Research at Hilton

    Worked with a talented team of qualitative researchers who conducted research across multiple digital spaces to improve the Hilton customer experience. This position was eliminated in June of 2020 due to the Coronavirus.

  • January 2019

    Lecturer at University of Texas at Dallas

    Became a lecturer and course designer of Design Research Methods on the side.

  • May 2018

    Design Consultant for Leonardo Services at SAP

    Moved into a consulting role focusing on edge technologies including Blockchain for Leonardo Services at SAP. I left this role in October of 2019.

  • January 2018

    Head of Strategic Research for IBM Public Cloud Infrastructure and Platform as a Service

    Headed the strategic research organization for IBM Cloud (Public) Infrastructure and Platform as a Service organization. This was my final role at IBM before I left in May of 2018.

  • June 2017

    Research Practice Team Lead at IBM Public Cloud

    Started a User Research team at IBM Cloud working with Fortune 500 companies to improve their cloud experiences. Designed and conducted generative and evaluative research to provide data to drive design decisions.

  • June 2016

    IAM and BSS Design Team Lead at IBM Cloud

    Led a team of designers working on Identity and Access Management (Security) as well as Business Systems Support (Accounts). Released the first fine-grained access control for IBM Cloud. Awarded Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for my contributions.

  • March 2016

    Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Science

    Completed my Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Information Science with a focus on Human-Computer Interaction and Social Informatics. Conducted an ethnographic study on parental assessment of video game appropriateness for their children for my dissertation.

  • March 2013

    Ph.D. Coursework & Qualifications Completed

    Completed all course requirements for my Ph.D. including but not limited to:
    Readings in Social Informatics
    Data Modeling
    Web Development
    Design Anthropology
    Survey Design
    Human-Computer Interaction
    Economics of Information
    General Research Methodology
    Cognitive Psychology

  • January 2011

    Digital Anthropologist and Project Lead at Alterian

    Worked a 3-month contract as a project lead for one of the largest technology companies in the world conducting research (interviews and focus groups) on mobile developers.

  • November 2010

    Senior User Experience Designer at SoftLayer

    Merged The Planet and SoftLayer infrastructure and hosting experiences together while providing a much needed updated experience to both. Provided UX direction for a continuous release cycle in an Agile environment including research, wireframes, workflows, and more. I left this role when I left IBM in 2018.

  • August 2010

    M.S. in Applied Anthropology

    Completed M.S. in Applied (Cultural) Anthropology with a focus on Cyber and Design Anthropology as well as Business and Organizational Anthropology. Conducted an ethnographic study on the developers of The Fedora Project.

  • November 2009

    Senior User Experience Designer at The Planet

    Brought User Experience Design to The Planet as their first and only UXD. Designed and released their first iPhone application. Started an entire redesign of their portal that eventually became the new SoftLayer experience when the companies were merged in 2010. Provided UX direction for a continuous release cycle in a new agile environment including research, wireframes, workflows, and more. 

  • April 2008

    Usability and Interface Engineer at HRsmart

    Brought User Experience Design to HRsmart taking their multi-siloed approach and redesigned it to be user and task focused. Many of my designs were released after I left the company and were used to help them win the coveted HR Shootout in 2010.

What do I do?

Research Design, Implementation, & Analysis
Usability & Accessibility Testing
Interaction Design
Visual Design
Information Architecture
Problem Solving & Strategy

How do I do it?



Wireframes, Site Maps, Workflows, Information Architecture



Heuristic Reviews, Data Analysis



Research planning, design, analysis, and synthesis. 



Workflows, Information Architecture

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Icons, Visual Design, Photo Editing

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Icons, Vector Graphics

Where can you find me? Publications

Harrelson, D. (2016). Rated m for monkey: An ethnographic study of parental information behavior when assessing video game content for their children. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
Hubbard, D. (2013). Collaboration beyond the game: How gamers work together beyond gaming environments to make their shared gaming experiences better. The Phoenix Papers,1(1). Retrieved from

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers
Harrelson Hubbard, D. (2013, July). An Exploration of Fedora’s Online Open Source Development Community. Paper presented at the Free Software Workshop, FISL, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Retrieved from

Other Articles
Harrelson, D. (2006). Minions of the night: Ethnography of a world of warcraft guild. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from

Why do I do it?

Because people come first and I can make a difference. It’s really as simple as that. I know what power research and design can have and I make it my purpose to wield my powers for good.