A deep design tradition

In North Texas.

Championing human-centered design through teaching, research, writing, and presenting.


Keith Owens

Associate Professor
MA Projects Coordinator

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From 2010 to 2013 he served as the Managing Director of the Design Research Center (DRC). The DRC was the first design research-focused teaching and laboratory facility in a university-level setting in Texas. Owens’ primary charge as Managing Director was to catalyze design-driven, interdisciplinary research that sought to help resolve pressing real-world problems in the north Texas region and beyond.
Along with his colleagues and students in UNT CVAD’s Department of Design, Owens has worked to improve user and audience experiences on behalf of and in collaboration with Dallas/Fort Worth-based PBS-affiliate KERA, Cook Children’s Hospital and Community Outreach Program, Downtown Dallas, Inc., and the Dallas Independent School District. Owens has presented and published widely and currently is the Managing Editor of the AIGA DEC-sponsored scholarly journal Dialectic (dialectic.aiga.org).
Owens taught graphic design as a visiting instructor at Texas Tech University from 1990 until 1995. Between his Texas Tech and UNT appointments, Owens worked as a design firm owner, design director, and designer in Dallas, San Francisco and Houston. Clients included, Maxis, Corsair Communications, Nortel, Nokia, and Wells Fargo Bank. His work has appeared in national design publications such as Communication Arts and Print Magazine. Owens is a past education chair for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Dallas, Fort Worth chapter. During his academic career, Owens has advocated extensively for increased design responsibility and as a US AID/Partners of the Americas design volunteer supporting farm cooperatives in Haiti, Owens operationalized his activist philosophy.
Michael Gibson

MA Program Coordinator

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Michael R. Gibson has accrued over 20 years of professional and university-level experience facilitating and teaching communication and interaction design and design research. Much of his work has involved forging and sustaining partnerships with academics and professionals from disciplines and fields outside design.
Professor Gibson began his professional design career in Chicago designing toys and interactive games at Marvin Glass and Associates in 1985. As his career progressed in Chicago, he designed and managed design teams that produced educational materials systems, books, brand identity systems, packaging systems and a broad array of paginated materials. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s, Gibson began to explore what is now known as “human-centered design research” and “user experience design”, and has continued to engage in and direct professional and educational endeavors in and around these areas ever since.
Along with his colleagues and students in UNT CVAD’s Department of Design, he has worked to improve user and audience experiences on behalf of/with Dallas/Fort Worth-based PBS-affiliate KERA, Cook Children’s Hospital and Community Outreach Program, Downtown Dallas, Inc., and a diverse group of Independent School Districts in Texas (particularly those investigating the implementation of design processes into their curricula). He has presented and published widely. Gibson is the Producer and a Co-Editor of the AIGA DEC-sponsored scholarly journal Dialectic (dialectic.aiga.org).
Dr. Troy Abel
Dr. Troy Abel

Assistant Professor

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Dr. Troy Abel received his PhD in Human Computer Interaction and MFA in Graphic Design, both from Iowa State University. He has 25+ years of industry, and 10+ years of academic experience, in Graphic Design, User Experience Design, Usability Testing, Design Education, and Human Computer interaction.
He is currently an Assistant Professor of User Experience Design at University of North Texas and is also the director of the new Eye Tracking and Usability Testing lab (ETUT) at UNT (etut.unt.edu).
He has worked with a wide range of industry clients on high-level usability testing and iterative agile-design methodologies. These clients include Citibank, Kaspersky Labs, Belk, ADP, and Bose to name a few. His experience with eye-tracking technology also includes creating new methods to incorporate eye-tracking into traditional usability testing methods.
His current research areas investigate the intersection of perception and usability evaluation methodologies utilizing multiple data-streams including eye tracking, qualitative data and facial reading. Additionally, his lab is exploring new participatory design methods within Human Centered Design which create novel inter-disciplinary knowledge. He is also interested in alternative assisted communication (AAC) for individuals with communication challenges and cognitive impairments, health-care experience design, social-network experience design, graphic design pedagogy, human computer usability testing and graphic design methodology.
Clinton Carlson

Associate Professor
Undergraduate Program Coordinator

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With over 20 years of experience practicing visual design, interaction design, and design research, Clinton’s work has focused on solving complex human problems through design processes that increase ownership, empathy, and shared knowledge within organizations and end users—ultimately defining authentic products or experiences that align user needs with organizational goals.
He has worked on projects exploring critical societal issues, including: student loans, food recalls, substance abuse, mosquito-borne illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, industrial safety, community development, and teacher development. His industry experience includes working on projects for AT&T, Airtel, McGraw-Hill, Toyota Racing, World Vision, Compassion International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many other organizations.
Clinton has an MDES in Visual Communication Design from the University of Alberta, has co-authored two books, two book chapters, three peer-reviewed journal articles, and presented his work at numerous peer-reviewed academic conferences, his design work is also included in the AIGA National Design Archives.