• Hi! I'm Lynn Kirabo

    A Software Engineer who is turning into a UX Researcher

  • I've been rafting on the River Nile. It was NOT my idea. This picture was taken just as we headed into a whirlpool. I refused to fall into the water.

  • At Transform Africa 2017, I got to meet Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Such a surreal experience as a former UN Women Tuition Support receipent.

About Me

Who Am I?

TL;DR: I'm a 4th year HCI PhD student interested in UX research opportunities (e.g., internships and collaborations). I describe myself as a qualitative researcher with multi-disciplinary influences (i.e., I love working in the doorways connecting different domains & methods).

--- Now, onto all the details ---

Hi! I'm Lynn Kirabo (or just Kirabo)
I'm a PhD Student at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I am part of the TBD lab at Carnegie Mellon and I'm advised by Aaron Steinfeld, Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon Univeristy.

My research interest is understanding the impact of context in technology design & adoption. My current projects include:

  1. Designing and evaluating adaptive user interfaces for public transit riders with disabilities.
  2. Understanding how user interfaces facilitate the spread of misinformation.
  3. Exploring the design of equitable mobility in the Global South.

Outside of research: I am actively involved in encouraging and empowering young girls and women to harness the power of technology (through iHerAfrica and Women@SCS initiavites). I also enjoy writing and have published two children's stories with the Angaza Literacy Project (Ugandan stories by Ugandan authors). Lastly, I dabble in photography and crochet.
My I-simply-cannot-live-without-you apps during the 2020 quarantine season are: Spotify, Google Podcasts & Kindle (depending on the day, they may not be in that order).

UX Methods






Carnegie Mellon University (Aug 2017 - to date)

Carnegie Mellon University (July 2013 - May 2015)
Graduated: Class Valedictorian.

Makerere University (Aug 2005 - May 2008)
Graduated: 1st Class Honors.


Conference & Journal Publications


Conference Proceedings (peer reviewed)

Kirabo, L., Carter, E.J., Barry, D., and Steinfeld A. (2021). Priorities, Technology & Power: Co-Designing an Inclusive Transit Agenda in Kampala, Uganda. In 2021 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21), May 8-13, 2021. Yokohama, Japan. [ACM DL | PDF | Video Presentation]

Kirabo, L., Namara, M., and McNeese, N. (2021). The Power of the Blue Tick: Ugandans' experiences and engagement on Twitter at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 ACM African Human-Computer Interaction Conference (AfriCHI '21), March 8-12, 2021. Maputo, Mozambique. [ACM DL | PDF]

Gleason, C., Valencia, S., Kirabo, L., Wu, J., Guo, A., Carter, E.J., Bigham, J.P., Bennett, C.L., and Pavel, A. (2020). Disability and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Using Twitter to Understand Accessibility during Rapid Societal Transition. ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. (ASSETS ’20), October 26–28, 2020. Athens, Greece. https://doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3417023. [ACM DL]

Romero, O.J., Haig, A., Kirabo, L., Yang, Q., Zimmerman, J., Tomasic, A., and Steinfeld, A. (2020). A Long-Term Evaluation of Adaptive Interface Design for Mobile Transit Information. In 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI ’20), October 5–8, 2020. Oldenburg, Germany. https://doi.org/10.1145/3379503.3403536. [ACM DL] {Best Paper Honorable Mention}

Kirabo, L., Carter, E.J., and Steinfeld A. (2020). “You are asking me to pay for my legs”: Exploring the Experiences, Perceptions, and Aspirations of Informal Public Transportation Users in Kampala and Kigali. In ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies (COMPASS ’20), June 15–17, 2020. Guayaquil, Ecuador. https://doi.org/10.1145/3378393.34022691. [ACM DL | PDF | Video Presentation]

Journal Publications (non-peer reviewed)

Principe Cruz, E., Kirabo, L., Carrington, P., & Hammer, J. (2021). Building Anti-Racist Futures at the CMU HCII: Recruiting BIPOC Graduate Students: Virtual Recruitment Event Design. (In press). BIPOC Literary Journal: The Colors We Carry.

Workshops (peer reviewed)

HCI Across Borders, (2020). ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Doctoral Consortium

Kirabo, L., "“Our perspective matters.” Using Universal Design Goals to Guide Technology Design in the Global South" ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. Doctoral Consortium, (2019). [SIGACCESS Newsletter]


Kirabo, L., "HCI4D through the Lens of Assistive Technology Research Concepts" ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies. Poster, (2018).


Kirabo, L., "The one about resilience, energy, culture, and crafting." XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students 26, no. 2 (2019): 60-63. [ACM DL], [PDF]

Kirabo, L., "Global cultures and computing." XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students 26, no. 2 (2019): 8-9. [ACM DL], [PDF]

Experience: Work & Teaching

Work Experience

Download CV

UX Research Intern, Facebook Starting Summer 2021

I just accepted an internship offer from the UX research team at Facebook. I'm super excited to collaborate, initiate, and contribute to products that have an impact.

Software Engineer, Fenix International July 2015 - July 2017

Stack used: Python/Django.
Fenix is a venture-funded next-generation energy company that empowers her customers with life-changing energy technology and inclusive financial services.

Research Intern, IBM Research May 2014 - Aug 2014

Mentor: Dr. Kala Fleming
IBM Research Africa is driving innovation by developing commercially-viable solutions to transform lives and spark new business opportunities in key areas such as water, agriculture, transportation, healthcare, financial inclusion, education, energy, security and e-government.

Web Developer Consultant, World Bank Sept 2013 - June 2014

Stack used: HTML, CSS, Wordpress
TerrAfrica is a project that focuses on improving land quality to sustain the performance of African countries.

Interactive Coordinator, Watoto Ministries Aug 2007 - Feb 2013

Stack used: HTML, CSS, Wordpress
Watoto is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to rescue the most vulnerable and raise each one as a leader in their sphere of life so that, in turn, they will rebuild their nation.

Teaching Experience

Co-instructor, Carnegie Mellon University Starting Fall 2021

Course: Transformational Game Design Studio, TGDS (05-499/899)
Department: Human Computer Interaction Institute
Course Level: Graduate & Undergraduate
This is a studio course designed for those who want to create games that allow users to pause and reflect.

Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University Jan 2021 - May 2021

Course: Programmable User Interfaces, PUI (05-430)
Department: Human Computer Interaction Institute
Course Level: Graduate & Undergraduate
This is a programming lab and design studio designed for those who want to express their interactive ideas in working prototypes.

Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University Aug 2020 - Dec 2020

Course: User-Centered Research & Evaluation, UCRE (05-410/05-610)
Department: Human Computer Interaction Institute
Course Level: Graduate & Undergraduate
This is an introductory course to Human-Computer Interaction. It equips students with a systematic approach to design through observation, analysis and empirical evaluation methods.

Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University Jan 2015 - May 2015

Course: Java For Smartphone Development (18-641)
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Course Level: Graduate
Stack: Java/Apache/Android
This course provides an intensive exploration of object-oriented programming using Java as well as Smartphone development on the Android platform.

Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University Aug 2014 - Dec 2014

Course: Strategic Use of Digital Information (04-611)
Department: Carnegie Mellon, Africa
Course Level: Graduate
Course discipline: Business
This course equips students with knowlegde of a new generation of technologies, that will inturn shape the next generation of businesses.

Leadership // Invited Talks // Awards

Academic Service & Leadership

Academic Service

  1. Associate Chair: CHI'20 Late Breaking Works
  2. Program Committee: Mechanism Design for Social Good
  3. Reviewer:
    • Conferences: ACM AfriCHI & CHI
    • Journals: Journal of Reliable Intelligent Environments (Springer)
    • Symposiums: iD4A


  1. HCII BLM Subcommittee (2020)
  2. Officer, AfroGSA (2020)
  3. ACM XRDS Guest Editor (2019)
  4. Women in SCS PhD Committee (2019 - to date)
  5. OurCS Conference Committee (2019)
  6. HCII Graduate Student Assembly Representative (2018)
  7. HCII TroastMaster (2017 - 2019)
  8. National Technovation Challenge Judge (2016)
  9. InnovateHerAfrica, Founding Member (2016)
  10. Carnegie Mellon Africa, Research & Development Officer (2014)
  11. Y-Save Donations Committee, Secretary (2012 - 2016)
  12. Women of Technology Uganda, Founding Member (2012)

Invited Talks

  1. Guest Lecture: Global Cultures & Computing, 2021. (05-430/05-630, Programming Useable Interfaces. HCII)
  2. Appeared in Best of WiDS session, 2021. (Women in Data Science 2021)
  3. Speaker: Investigating Algorithmic Bias in Sociotechnical Systems, 2020. (STEMforHER Virtual GEM Hunt)
  4. Speaker: Investigating Equitable Mobility, 2020. (Alumni Series, Carnegie Mellon Univeristy-Africa)
  5. Speaker: The Power of Technology in C-19 Pandemic, 2020. (Webinar, Uganda Unites)
  6. Panelist: Ethics in Data Science, 2020 (Women in Data Science 2020 , Stanford University)
  7. Speaker: Investigating Equitable Mobility in Kampala Uganda, 2020. (21st Annual Roundtable on Inclusive Transportation in Developing Countries, TRB Annual Meeting, Washington DC)
  8. Panelist: OurCS Conference 2019 (Carnegie Mellon University)
  9. Panelist: Youth Connekt - Transform Africa Summit, 2017
  10. Panelist: LeO Africa Economic Forum, 2017
  11. Commencement Speaker: National Technovation Challenge, 2017
Photo of me and 3 other panelists at the Women in Data Science Conference Photo of me at the Leo Africa Economic Forum speaking into a microphone, wearing blue dress with pink flowers and
Photo of me and session host at the CMU Africa Alumni session laughing while holding microphone A wide shot of me and 5 panelists at the Youth Connekt session at Transform Africa 2017


  1. CRA Grad Cohort for Women - 2020, 2019
  2. CRA Grad Cohort for URMD - 2020
  3. Facebook Vivid in Research - 2019
  4. FLIP Fellow - 2018
  5. Grace Hopper Scholar - 2018
  6. UN Women Scholarship - 2014 to 2015, 2013 to 2014
Photo of me and 3 other participants at the CRA URMD Grad Cohort A group photo of the Vivid in Research 2019 Cohort standing next to the Instagram logo
Photo of me holding a photo cut out prop (wearing a yellow top with a black jacket and glow in the dark party props) at the CRA Grad cohort for Women 2019 event Photo of me holding a photo cut out prop (wearing a purple top with a multicolored beanie holding multiple prop bags) at the Grace Hopper 2018 event

Fun Projects

Class & Side Projects

Human-Robot Interaction Ethics Integration

I co-designed 7 ethics mini-modules for the HRI course. Our intention was to integrate ethics-type dicussion through out the course to allow students to identify ethical topics in the domain, foster vocabulary and make connections between IRL events and future implications.
[Spring 2021] Class: Ethics and Robotics with Illah Nourbakhsh, Victoria Dean

This is just, More Of The Same

For our futures assignment, I wrote an Afro-Futurist themed Black Mirror Episode. This was particularly fun because I got to fuse cultural legends with present day ethics discussion.
[Spring 2021] Class: Ethics and Robotics with Illah Nourbakhsh, Victoria Dean

UTH, A Transit Audit

I perfomed an audit of transportation interfaces and drafted several design recommendations.
[Spring 2021] Class: Accessibility with Patrick Carrington

Chrome is speaking to me

I wrote a chrome extension that speaks... So. Much. Fun!!!
[Spring 2021] Class: Accessibility with Patrick Carrington

“Can I beat it?” Co-designing Human-Robot Interactions for Public Spaces

I conducted an online user study that was based on a speculative design approach to envisioning new types of interactions with robots at a public transit terminal. The study activity was based on the `The Thing From The Future Game`.
[Fall 2020] Class: Human Robot Interaction with Henny Admoni

Sparky Vibes

I designed a wearable that pulsates to the beat of music playing. It uses a mini vibrator motor, a microphone, a neopixel ring and an Arduino Nano. The purpose of this project was to create a proof of concept that school teachers teaching dance can use to encourage students with disabilities to participate in dance.
[Fall 2019] Class: Gadgets, Sensors and Activity Recognition with Scott Hudson

Design Recommendations for CSCW systems based on Social Capital among Informal Entrepreneurial Networks in the Global South

I explored existing literature to identify the types of social capital that are prevalent/being leveraged by entrepreneurs ininformal economies across multiple domains. I then presented an analysis of the results by looking at commonalities and differences that cut across country and domain, and also identified areas that apply to structural hole theory. Lastly I presented design recommendations for digital technologies that can be used by these communities to enable social capital creation and expansion.
[Spring 2019] Class: Social Perspectives in HCI with Geoff Kaufman

Rootin Around

We designed a game that allowed players to experience the gratification that comes during harvest season. Our team constructed a trellis, that contains fruit and vegetables. Players worked in teams to harvest as much as they can... Blindfolded. Their teammate would pull out a card and describe the fruit or vegetable on it with out using certain terms. Through testing, players noted how fun it was using all their senses and how it also created a sense of trust between the players.
Client: Phipps Conservatory
[Fall 2018] Class: Transformational Game Design Studio with Jess Hammer

Goodnight: Magnetic Fridge Texting

We designed a game that fostered communication between night/swing workers and their family member. The game was designed around a fridge as a central item that most people in a home interacti with. Using a velcro board and emojis, family members leave stories about the hightlights and low points of their day for each other.
Client: Philips
[Fall 2018] Class: Transformational Game Design Studio with Jess Hammer


We designed a game that helps players reflect on their personality (i.e., either a collectivist or individualist) as well as identify their implicit biases (if any). Games like these can help group members in organisations understand how to effecitevly communicate with each other.
Client: Group Project
[Fall 2018] Class: Transformational Game Design Studio with Jess Hammer

The Perfect Smoothie

We've all been there, aching to create the perfect smoothie... No? Well, it was a fun thought while it lasted. In this project, we used signal processing to determine when the smoothie was just right. A useful skill for all the smart blenders that will be out there soon
[Fall 2017] Class: Persuasive and Ubiquitous Computing with Mayank Goel