Kara Pernice

Managing Director

Kara Pernice (@KaraAnn) is the Managing Director at Nielsen Norman Group. Pernice uniquely combines her 20-plus years of research knowledge with her design experience and business education to help organizations derive interfaces which are usable, useful, and surpass business goals.


Pernice is accomplished at evaluating any design situation to determine or craft the most fitting research method, conduct or lead the research, observe and analyze user behavior, and convert this analysis into outstanding design. Pernice has led hundreds of intercontinental research studies, and is expert in many usability methods, such as:

  • One-to-one qualitative usability tests, and quantitative/ benchmarking testing
  • Eyetracking research
  • Field studies
  • Remote studies and diary studies
  • UX focus groups
  • Heuristic evaluations

Client work

Her client work spans a sundry of businesses and industries. A few highlights:

  • Large-scale intranets for huge European financial institutions.
  • Style guide creation and related research about scores websites designed for people with low literacy, at one of the largest pharmaceutical organizations in the US.

Manage and lead

Extensive work as an executive, manager, designer, and researcher round out her background. She envisioned and executed NN/g’s UX Certification Program, which launched in 2014; and was the creator of the successful Intranet Design Annual Award. Pernice’s many years of design and business experience and her natural empathy help her to effectively manage people and projects.

Present and train

Pernice has delivered hundreds of hours of lectures and workshops around the world on a wide range of UX-related topics.


Pernice has overseen or written many research reports including hundreds of practical design guidelines. After overseeing hundreds of hours of eyetracking research, she coauthored of the book Eyetracking Web Usability.

Research areas

Pernice has researched many different types of applications and with various target users. She has a special affinity for:

  • Intranets and enterprise applications: The Wall Street Journal called Pernice an "intranet guru."
  • Seniors
  • Accessibility
  • Emotion and design
  • Eyetracking

Before joining NN/g, Pernice gained invaluable experience about building and managing UX in an assortment of development environments, and she established multiple successful user experience programs. Since 1991 she has creatively employed usability testing recordings to communicate interface shortcomings and lobby for improved user experience.

A champion for usability, Pernice chaired the User Experience Professionals' Association 2000 and 2001 conferences, served as 2002 conference advisor, and initiated the presentation review committee and chaired it in 1998 and 1999. She has also been a reviewer for the Association for Computing Machinery SIGCHI and other professional associations.


  • Lotus Development, Corp
    Usability Testing Manager

  • Interleaf, Inc.
    Usability Manager

  • Iris Associates/IBM
    UI Designer/Usability Manager


  • M.B.A.
    Northeastern University

  • B.A. in Communications
    Simmons College



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