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