Sensemaking II: What, why and whither people use the WWW for work

Daniel Russell, Apple Research Labs

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University March 14, 1997


In the past year or two, the Web has started to become a place with enough real, trustworthy, and high quality resources to get work done. Our earlier work on sensemaking, which characterizes the processes and tradeoffs people use when solving complex information use problems, is applicable for Web work as well.

In this talk, I report on observation studies of sensemakers using the WWW as a central resource, a study that has several unexpected outcomes. These observations will prove useful in creating new kinds of knowledge management technologies.


Daniel Russell is the manager of the User Experience Research program in Apple Research Labs. This group studies issues of innovative user experience design, sensemaking, shared awareness of individual state and knowledge-based use of complex, heterogenous information.

Prior to working at Apple, Dan was a Member of the Research Staff at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in the User Interface Research group studying uses of information visualization techniques. In addition to his work at PARC, he is an adjunct lecturer on the Engineering and Computer Science (Computer Science) faculty of the University of Santa Clara, and teaches as mood and occasion afford at Stanford University.

Dr. Russell received his B.S. in Information and Computer Science from U.C. Irvine, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Rochester. While at Rochester, he did graduate work in the neuropsychology of laterality, models of apraxia and aphasia, coordinated motor movements and computer vision.


Titles and abstracts for all years are available by year and by speaker.

For more information about HCI at Stanford see

Overview Degrees Courses Research Faculty FAQ