Michael Twidale

Professor and PhD Program Director

PhD, Computing, Lancaster University (UK)

Other professional appointments

  • Department Affiliate, Computer Science
  • Research Associate Professor, Information Trust Institute
  • Fellow, Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Faculty Affiliate, National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Research focus

Computer-supported cooperative work; collaborative technologies in digital libraries and museums; user interface design and evaluation; open-source usability; information visualization; ubiquitous learning; social learning of technology; rapid prototyping and evaluation.

Honors and Awards

  • Winner, 2017 ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award.
  • Member of UIUC’s list of faculty rated as “excellent in teaching” Spring 1998, Fall 1998, Spring 1999, Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000, Fall 2001, Spring 2002, Spring 2003, Fall 2004, Fall 2005, Spring 2007, Fall 2009, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018.
  • Campus Award for Excellence in Off-Campus Teaching, for teaching a distance education course on interface analysis and redesign. 2009
  • Winner, 1996 Lancaster University Pilkington Award for Innovative Teaching.


Michael Twidale is a professor of the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include computer-supported cooperative work, computer-supported collaborative learning, human-computer interaction, information visualization, and museum informatics. Current projects include studies of informal social learning of technology, technological appropriation, metrics for open access, collaborative information retrieval, low-cost information visualization, ubiquitous learning and the usability of open source software. His approach involves the use of interdisciplinary techniques to develop high-speed, low-cost methods to better understand the difficulties people have with existing computer applications and so to design more effective systems.

Office hours

By appointment, please contact professor

Publications & Papers

Desai, S. & Twidale, M.B. (2023). Metaphors in Voice User Interfaces: A Slippery Fish. TOCHI. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. 30(6)89. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3609326

Desai, S. & Twidale, M.B. (2022). Is Alexa like a computer? A search engine? A friend? A silly child? Yes. CUI 22. Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (1-4). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3543829.3544535

Twidale, M.B., Nichols, D. M., & Lueg, C. P. (2021). Everyone everywhere: A distributed and embedded paradigm for usability. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 72(10), 1272-1284. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24465  

McKay, D., Twidale, M.B., & Buchanan, G. (2020). Strike a Pose: Gender and the Public and Private Performance of Magazine Reading. Proceedings, JCDL 361–364. https://doi.org/10.1145/3383583.3398601

Rutter, S., Blinzler, V., Ye, C., Wilson, M.L., & Twidale, M.B. (2019). Search tactics used in solving everyday how-to technical tasks: Repertoire, selection and tenacity. Information Processing & Management, 56(3), 919-938. DOI: 10.1016/j.ipm.2019.02.008

Twidale, M., & Nichols, D. (2019). Radical research honesty in a post-truth society. iConference 2019 Blue Sky Papers. http://hdl.handle.net/2142/103140

Twidale, M.B. & Hansen, P. (2019). Agile research. First Monday, 24(1). DOI: 10.5210/fm.v24i1.9424

Lueg, C.P. & Twidale, M.B. (2018). Designing for Humans, Not Robots (or Vulcans). Library Trends 66(4) 409-421. Special Issue: “Information and the Body: Part II.” DOI: 10.1353/lib.2018.0010.

Nichols, D.M. and Twidale, M.B. (2017). Metrics for openness. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68(4) 1048–1060. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23741

Thomer, A.K., & Twidale, M.B. (2014). How Databases Learn. Proceedings iConference 827-833. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/19961034.pdf


Twidale, M.B., Blake, C. & Gant, J.P. (2013) Towards a data literate citizenry Proceedings, iConference 2013, 247-257.

Jones, M.C. & Twidale, M.B. (2009) Software Informatics? Proceedings iConference 2009.

Organisciak, P. & Twidale, M.B. (2014). When the Elevator Pitch Meets the Subject Heading: How Mixtures of Other Documents Can Describe What a Document is About. Procs ASIS&T ’14.

Huang, J., & Twidale, M.B. (2007). Graphstract: Minimal Graphical Help for Computers. Proceedings, UIST 203-212.

Twidale, M.B. & Floyd, I.R. (2008) Infrastructures From the Bottom-Up and the Top-Down: Can They Meet in the Middle? Proceedings PDC 2008. 238-241.

Thomer, A.K., & Twidale, M.B. (2014). How Databases Learn. Proceedings iConference 827-833.

Singh, V., Twidale, M.B. & Nichols, D.M. (2009). Users of Open Source Software – How do they get help? Proceedings HICSS 2009.

Nichols, D.M., Twidale, M.B. & Cunningham, S.J. (2012). Metadatapedia: A proposal for aggregating metadata on data archiving. Proceedings, iConference’12. 370-376.

Singh, V., Twidale, M.B. & Rathi, D. (2006). Open Source Technical Support: A Look at Peer Help-Giving. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'06) Track 6 p118c.

Dix, A., Ormerod, T., Twidale, M.B., Sas, C., Gomes da Silva, P.A. & McKnight, L. (2006). Why bad ideas are a good idea. Proceedings of the First Joint BCS/IFIP WG13.1/ICS/EU CONVIVIO HCI Educators’ Workshop “HCIEd.2006-1 inventivity: Teaching theory, design and innovation in HCI” 23-24.