Kara Pernice

Senior Vice President

Kara Pernice (@karaann) is Senior Vice President at Nielsen Norman Group. Pernice has loved pioneering UX research and researchops for 30 years. She works with teams to improve UX strategy, increase their UX maturity, and derive experiences that are useful, engaging, 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 insights and outstanding design. She has led hundreds of intercontinental research studies, and is expert in many research methods, such as:

  • User testing
  • Eyetracking research
  • Field studies
  • Remote studies and diary studies
  • UX focus groups
  • Heuristic evaluations
  • Interviews

Client work

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

  • Large-scale intranet and service design work 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.


With extensive leadership experience and hands-on research skills, Pernice has derived successful research operations, strategies, and teams at multiple organizations. She envisioned and executed NN/g’s UX Certification Program, which launched in 2014; and was the creator of and remains key custodian of the world-renowned Intranet Design Annual Award. Her many years of design and business experience and her natural empathy help her to effectively lead people, projects and UX programs.


Pernice has delivered hundreds of hours of informative, practical seminars, workshops, and keynote addresses around the world on a wide range of UX- and digital workplace-related topics.


Pernice has written or coached on 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

She started at NN/g as a Sr. Usability Specialist, then held the positions of Dirtector of Research, then Managing Director. Before joining NN/g, Pernice gained invaluable experience about building and managing UX in an assortment of development environments, and she established multiple successful UX programs. 

A champion for UX, 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.


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