Kim Vicente

“Kim Vicente puts human simplicity into technology.”
Time Magazine

A leading expert in his field, Kim Vicente is a professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, founding Director of the Cognitive Engineering Laboratory, and a senior fellow of Massey College. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT from 2002 to 2003.

In 1999 Kim Vicente was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of 25 Canadians under the age of 40 as a “Leader for the 21st Century who will shape Canada’s Future.” In 2002, he became the first engineer ever to receive the $100,000 McLean Award, the University of Toronto's wealthiest and most prestigious prize for outstanding research. Further recognition came in 2003 when he was awarded a Steacie Fellowship — a top Canadian science and engineering research honour.

Kim Vicente specializes in Human Factors Engineering (also known as Cognitive Engineering), which he describes as “the engineering discipline that is concerned with designing things to make them easier for people to use.”

“Humans are fallible and we have to accept and design for that, rather than expecting people to be perfect,” Vicente says. “Rather than expecting people to adapt to complex machines, cognitive engineers try to rework the design of technological systems to match what we know about human nature. In everyday situations, this leads to devices that are easier and less frustrating for people to use. In more complex systems — like nuclear power, health care, or aviation — cognitive engineering can literally make the difference between life and death.”

Kim Vicente has lectured on four continents and acted as consultant to, among others, NASA, NATO, the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada, CBC Radio, the US Air Force, the US Navy, Alias Wavefront, Microsoft and Nortel. As well as The Human Factor, his publications include over 80 journal articles, 14 book chapters, more than 50 technical reports, and the first textbook in his field, Cognitive Work Analysis: Toward Safe, Productive, and Healthy Computer-based Work (1999).

Kim Vicente lives in Toronto.