deana brown

about deana

Deana Brown

I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I design, prototype and study social and ubiquitous technologies. My research spans Social Computing, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Ubiquitious Computing (Ubicomp), and Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD). My work has been based in emerging markets within the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa as well as within diaspora groups (immigrants and refugees) in the US.

I have worked full-time as an interaction designer and interned at companies like Google and Intel as a UX Reseacher. I hold a Masters with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction and a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. My age may not match my accolades however. I started school at 2, fell in love with technologies at 8 and was enrolled full-time in college by 16. Because of this, I'm passionate about helping young people find and pursue their own passions from an early age. This calling has somewhat fed into my dissertation work which is focused on creating technologies to help improve the outcomes for at-risk youth.


HCI, social computing, transnational technologies, mobile and ubiquitous computing, cross-cultural research, emerging markets, ICT and Development (ICTD), domestic technologies

I find distributed family communication within the transnational migrant space with members living across a digital divide (i.e. developed—developing) to be both an exciting and challenging path for research. It provides a rich and suitable lens through which to explore transnational concerns, designing for and with constraints (which spans infrastructural, socioeconomic or illiteracy for instance) and the workings and non-workings of both technologies and HCI methods across borders. My current research looks at supporting remote parenting by using social and ubiquitous technologies to bridge interaction and support cohesion among parents living abroad, their children left behind in the Caribbean and their children's care-giving network to include guardians, relatives and educators.


I am a 'yaadie' which is Jamaican patois for a native of Jamaica. I grew up in the south-central part of the island, May Pen, Clarendon where I graduated from Glenmuir High School. After that I moved to the United States for college and have travelled to over 25 countries and lived in four. My early life experiences and travels have made me uneasy about global disparities in information and communication technologies (ICT). Initiatives like open source software, mobile technology and free services are a step in the right direction, making tools available to populations who otherwise could not have access to them. And as ubiquitous technologies seep into non-traditional environments, this poses a challenge to our design thinking. For instance, the ability level and use of infrastructure may vary across borders providing crucial implications for the design of technologies that attempt to transcend boundaries. Worldwide we've come a far way but much still needs to be done to bridge this unfortunate gap.

world peace

South African township If you could build a system that resulted in world peace, but no one could use it ... it would be useless. Usability matters.
~ Dr. Juan E. Gilbert