Hugh Dubberly

Designing WITH Complex Concept Maps: The Role of Mental Models in Improving the Design Process

April 15, 2004, 3:00 pm   » 

Location of lecture: GSE&IS Bldg., room 111

Designers have always made models -- typically sketches or other miniatures or rough approximations of finished objects. Through our models, we understand and experiment; we refine and communicate. We use models to tell stories -- to ourselves, to each other, to clients, and to potential users.

As we turn our attention to software application, information systems, and the emerging world of embedded computing devices, we need new kinds of models to help us deal with more abstract issues such as interaction and navigation -- and even more important: goals and contexts. We also need tools to support teamwork and make the invisible visible. Concept maps can help.

This talk will propose new ways to use models to describe, create, and improve complex systems. It will provide examples from design case studies for Netscape, Sun, and various start-ups.


Hugh Dubberly is a design planner and teacher. At Apple Computer in the late 80s and early 90s, Hugh managed cross-functional design teams and later managed creative services for the entire company. While at Apple, he co-created a technology-forecast film called "Knowledge Navigator," that presaged the appearance of the Internet in a portable digital device. While at Apple, he served at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as the first and founding chairman of the computer graphics department. Intrigued by what the publishing industry would look like on the Internet, he next became Director of Interface Design for Times Mirror. This led him to Netscape where he became Vice President of Design and managed groups responsible for the design, engineering, and production of Netscape's Web portal. Hugh is a frequent speaker at the AIGA, ACD, and other design conferences and a past national board member of AIGA. He often teaches and is currently co-teaching a course at Stanford entitled, "Introduction to Cybernetics: The Design of Systems and Systems for Design." Hugh graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in graphic design and earned an MFA in graphic design from Yale.

Dubberly Design Office
2501 Harrison Street, #7
San Francisco, CA 94110
415 648 9799