Tel.: (919) 448-5042



Human factors and user experience researcher skilled in user studies, conceptual design, information architecture, and usability evaluation; Analytical thinker focusing on the human element in system design.


UX Architect, 04/2016 to present

Esri, Inc., Redlands, CA

  • Create information architecture diagrams, user experience workflow diagrams, wireframes, proof-of-concepts, and interactive prototypes for ArcGIS platform products.
  • Effectively communicate conceptual ideas, design rationale, and the specifics of user centered design process
  • Ensure consistency between the various customer-facing platforms created by Esri.
  • Work in partnership with business stakeholders, graphic designers, and developers to design end-to-end experiences using participatory and iterative design techniques.
  • Design and evaluate accessibility compliance of ArcGIS platform products using WCAG/Section 508 success criteria.

Digital User Experience Specialist, 10/2011 to 03/2016

Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN

  • Plan and conduct user research to identify user needs of library website and online resources through web analytics, user interviews, and contextual inquiry.
  • Work with development team and content owners to develop effective user interface and information architecture for library website, web applications and digital collections.

Projects include:

  • Log analysis and user tests for assessing e-books, supported by EBSCO.
  • User research, interface design and implementation of a crowdsourcing online help system (CrowdAsk).
  • Usability evaluation of web-based mapping applications including SimplyMap, Social Explorer and ESRI Business Analyst Online.
  • User interface design for Data Management Planning Tool.
  • User study, interface design and usability evaluation for Purdue University Libraries website.
  • Usability evaluation and user interface improvement for Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative Central website (HABRI Central).

Research Associate, 09/2009 to 10/2011

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Project 1: System of Interfaces for Human-Robot Interaction in Emergency Response Teams

  • Conducted cognitive task analysis of robot operator’s workflow to generate design specifications.
  • Generated interaction and interface designs for system components.
  • Conducted usability tests with quantitative and qualitative data to validate interface designs.
  • Implemented reusable interface components for project code base.

Project 2: Human Performance Modeling for Human-Robot Peer-Based Teams

  • Conducted experiment to assess task workload in victim assessment and area search scenarios for human-human and human-robot teams.
  • Developed statistical models to analyze physiological data and human performance measures.
  • Resulted in computational models for reliably predicting task workload in human-robot team.

Graduate Research Assistant, 08/2006 to 08/2009

Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

Project 1: Anthropomorphism and Emotions in Human-Robot Interaction

  • Designed and configured a service robot for medicine delivery for elderly people.
  • Conducted field evaluations with elderly end-users at two senior centers in North Carolina and collected physiological and subjective responses to robot interface features.
  • Data analysis identified key interface features affecting user emotional experience (arousal and valence) in interacting with service robot.

Project 2: Use of Virtual Reality for Assessing Situation Awareness in Multitasking including Locomotion

  • Conducted experiment with participants navigating a virtual environment to collect gait and situation awareness measures.
  • Developed statistical model of situation awareness for explaining proactive gait control in response to locomotion hazards.

Graduate Research Assistant, 09/2004 to 07/2006

Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Project 1: Travel Website Usability Test and Redesign

  • Conducted user interview and task analysis on existing website interface.
  • Created personas based on cluster analysis of user behavior patterns.
  • Redesigned flight and hotel search results pages based on needs of personas.

Project 2: SAP-Supported Cross Culture User Interface Study

  • Designed interface prototypes for both Chinese and western visual styles.
  • Measured users’ visual search performance on interface prototypes.
  • Identified differences of visual search pattern between Chinese and western visual styles.

Project 3: Samsung Digital TV User Interface Evaluation and Improvement for Chinese Users

  • Conducted market survey and usability evaluation of existing remote control hardware and interface designs.
  • Developed Digital TV interface prototypes based on Chinese users’ preferences.
  • Proposed design guidelines for localizing future Digital TV interfaces for Chinese market.


Ph.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering (Human Factors), North Carolina State University, 2009

M.S., Industrial Engineering (Human-Computer Interaction), Tsinghua University, China, 2006

B.S., Industrial Engineering, Tsinghua University, China, 2004


  • Prototyping: Axure, Balsamiq, Sketch
  • Development: HTML, JavaScript, CSS, C++, Python, R, SAS, Matlab
  • User research tools: TechSmith Morae, Silverback, NVivo
  • UX research methods including web analytics, interview and observation, survey, usability test, experiment design and statistical data analysis.
  • Working knowledge of human-computer interaction research, experiment design, and data analytics.
  • Working knowledge of WCAG 2.0 success criteria and Section 208 compliance requirements; screen readers (VoiceOver, NVDA, and Jaws) for manual testing; code review; and accessibility auto testing tools.
  • Leading research projects, planning schedule, driving execution, and managing resources.
  • Collaboration with cross-disciplinary teams and communication with different levels of stakeholders.


Niu, X., Zhang, T., & Chen, H. (2014). Study of user search activities with two discovery tools at an academic library. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 30(5), 422-433.

Zhang, T., Maron, D. J., & Charles, C. C. (2013). Usability evaluation of a research repository and collaboration website. Journal of Web Librarianship, 7(1), 58-82.

Zhang, T. and Adams, J. A. (2012). Evaluation of a geospatial annotation tool for unmanned vehicle specialist interface. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 28, 1-12.

Zhang, T., Kaber, D. B., Zhu, B., Swangnetr, M., Mosaly, P., Hodge, L. (2010). Service robot feature design effects on user perceptions and emotional responses. Intelligent Service Robotics, 3(2), 73-88.

Zhang, T., Rau, P. L., Zhou, J. (2010). Consumer perceptions of mobile phone attributes. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics, Miami, FL.

Tu, N., Dong, X., Rau, P. L., & Zhang, T. (2010). Using cluster analysis in Persona development. In the 8th International Conference on Supply Chain Management and Information Systems (SCMIS). Hong Kong.


  • Second Runner-Up, Great Library UX Ideas Under $100 Contest, Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), 2015
  • Outstanding Reviewer, Library Hi Tech, 2014
  • Edward P. Fitts Fellowship, North Carolina State University, 2006-2008
  • Tsinghua-Guanghua Scholarship, 2005
  • The Excellent Graduate of Tsinghua University, 2004
  • Tsinghua-Sanwa Bank Scholarship, 2003
  • Friends of Tsinghua-Mr. and Mrs. Zhande Wu Scholarship, 2002
  • Tsinghua-OOCL Group Ltd. Scholarship, 2001

Invited Presentations

  • 11/06/2013, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, invited presentation. “User-centered design strategy for academic libraries websites.”
  • 05/22/2012, UXPA Indiana Chapter, invited presentation. “Redesign of Purdue University Libraries website and usability evaluation of HABRI Central website.”
  • 06/02/2011, 3M Corporate Research and Development, SEMS Laboratory, St Paul, MN. “Measuring Human-Robot Interaction: Workload and Emotion.”

Professional Organizations

  • User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA), Indiana Chapter, Member (2011-2016)
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), Student Member and Member (2007-2012)
  • American Library Association (ALA), Member (2011-2016)
  • Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), Student Member and Member (2008-2011)
  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Student Member and Member (2008-2011)