• 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)

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. {Forthcoming}

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]

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, Equador. https://doi.org/10.1145/3378393.34022691 [ACM DL], [PDF]

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).


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

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

Teaching Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University Aug 2020 - to date

Course: User-Centered Research & Evaluation
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
Course Level: Graduate
Stack used: 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
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
    • 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. Speaker: Investigating Algorithmic Bias in Sociotechnical Systems, 2020. (STEMforHER Virtual GEM Hunt)
  2. Speaker: Investigating Equitable Mobility, 2020. (Alumni Series, Carnegie Mellon Univeristy-Africa)
  3. Speaker: The Power of Technology in C-19 Pandemic, 2020. (Webinar, Uganda Unites)
  4. Panelist: Ethics in Data Science. (Women in Data Science 2020 , Stanford University)
  5. Speaker: Investigating Equitable Mobility in Kampala Uganda, 2020. (21st Annual Roundtable on Inclusive Transportation in Developing Countries, TRB Annual Meeting, Washington DC)
  6. Panelist: OurCS Conference 2019 (Carnegie Mellon University)
  7. Panelist: Youth Connekt - Transform Africa Summit, 2017
  8. Panelist: LeO Africa Economic Forum, 2017
  9. 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

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.
Class: Gadgets, Sensors and Activity Recognition with Scott Hudson

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
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
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
Class: Transformational Game Design Studio with Jess Hammer