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As part of our recent usability research, we asked respondents to name their favourite gurus in the field of user experience, with the aim of producing a Hall of Fame.

For those who haven't seen the Usability and User Experience Report 2007, published this week in association with Bunnyfoot, we can now reveal the top 10 experts in this field - ranked by the number of survey respondents who mentioned their names (or their books).

Our Hall of Fame ....

1) Jakob Nielsen
2) Steve Krug
3) Jared Spool
4) Donald Norman
5) Jeffrey Veen
6) Jesse James Garrett
7) Louis Rosenfeld
8) Jenifer Tidwell
9) Seth Godin
10) Eisenberg brothers

Of course, this isn't meant to be an objective assessment of who is the "best" user experience expert, but it does give an idea of how well established these people are in the field - and how successful they have been in getting their ideas into the consciousness of the wider internet design and marketing communities.

Given that we surveyed more than 700 people with an interest in usability and user experience, we feel this is a pretty good indication of those with the highest-profile personalities.

Jakob Nielsen, interviewed recently by E-consultancy, came top of the list. No surprises there although several respondents explicitly said that they did not rate him.

According to Wikipedia: “Nielsen is a leading web usability pundit, with an expertise based on human factors engineering, but he has earned the ire of graphic designers …  for failing to balance the importance of other user experience considerations such as eye appeal.”

In second place - though with half as many nominations - came Steve Krug, a usability consultant and author of Don't Make Me Think, a book which was commonly cited as an excellent reference tool.

Also on the podium, in bronze medal position, was Jared M Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, a research and consulting firm specialising in website and product usability. He was also one of the authors of the book Web Site Usability: A Designer's Guide.

Some brief details on the others in the top 10 ...

4) Donald Norman

Cognitive science expert and co-founder of the usability consulting company Nielsen Norman Group along with Jakob and Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini. The author of The Design of Everyday Things. Publication of his latest book, the Design of Future Things, is expected later this year.

5) Jeffrey Veen

One of the founding members of user experience company Adaptive Path. He now works as a design manager for Google.

6) Jesse James Garrett

Another founder of Adaptive Path, where he is president. Author of The Elements of User Experience.

7) Louis Rosenfeld

Co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web.

8) Jenifer Tidwell

Author of Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design.

9) Seth Godin

No introduction needed. Best-selling author and "coiner" of the phrase permission marketing. Interviewed by E-consultancy.

10) Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg 

Persuasion architecture gurus. Interviewed by E-consultancy a while back ... a pattern emerging?

Editor's Note (2011): Bryan and Jeffrey can now be found at Bryaneisenberg.com.

So that's the list! Are you missing from our hall of fame? Assuming you have the expertise and knowledge, perhaps you are not marketing yourself well enough (or don't want to).

Are you on this list? Congratulations ... and please make yourself available for a Q&A if you haven't already been interviewed by E-consultancy.

The full Usability and User Experience Report 2007 is available to subscribers here

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 13 July, 2007 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

139 more posts from this author

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Todd Zaki Warfel

I'm curious how the survey was conducted. Who were the respondents? How did you establish these as the top 10 gurus in the UX field?

While many of these people, or their names rather, are well recognized, several of them are not really involved in, or contributing to the UX community.

Take Seth Godin for example. Well known name, but he's a marketing guy... not really what most of us in the UX field would consider a UX person. I'm curious how Nielsen made the top of the list... a known name, but not someone who participates in the UX community. He authors books and articles, but I've never seen him at a purely UX focused conference. Now, Spool on the other hand that's a different story - he's involved and actively contributes.

I would agree that most of these names are "well known people that UX people have heard of," but UX gurus... that's another story.

So, how was the survey conducted? Do you have a sample we can look at, giving us some context to "evaluate" the results?

about 9 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

Hi Todd. We did a survey of more than 700 respondents about user experience and usability.

http://www.e-consultancy.com/publications/usability-and-user-experience-report-2007/

Roughly speaking, about half of these respondents worked "client-side" (in-house) and the other half worked for agencies. Most of the respondents were UK-based. Not all the respondents were necessarily experts in this field.

The survey was mainly about usability budgets, level of investment, benefits of usability and barriers to investment. Out of interest - and dare I say it - 'fun' - we asked respondents "what particular methodologies or gurus" they looked to for guidance.

Those who came in the top 10 were the most commonly cited - in that order. Perhaps a smaller panel of hand-picked experts from the UX community would come up with a different list. If there is anyone missing, we would love to know about them! The list tells a story about who is getting their name out there.

We are obviously not claiming this is an official list but we are pleased it is provoking some interest.

about 9 years ago

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Keith B. Perry

What about people like Ben Schneiderman and the like?

While I don't know much about Jenifer Tidwell, I did buy her (only?) book. That was the first I ever heard of her though. Granted, I haven't been in the field long so maybe I just don't know, but I think some significant other people have been sorely missed.

about 9 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

You're right - there are some great people missing and apologies to them. I agree that Seth G shouldn't be on this list. I hope people in the UX world get around to reading this report as well as debating the list as this was just a small part of it. There is some really interesting stuff in there!

about 9 years ago

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Todd Zaki Warfel

Is there a copy of the survey we can look at? Not the responses, but the questions themselves?

about 9 years ago

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

Hi again Todd. This is the link to the survey. The survey is now closed.

http://surveys.e-consultancy.com/survey?iv=b6113f75c394536

about 9 years ago

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jason wallace

Hello Linus the link was really informative .

about 8 years ago

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Anne Holland

With more than 150 a/b and multivariate case studies published, Natalie Tomasso Senior Reporter of WhichTestWon.com is, I think, more followed and influential to usability people who care about conversion optimization than practically anyone else around. After all, it's one thing to make your site usable, it's quite another thing to get people to register as leads or buy something!

almost 5 years ago

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