My name is Norah Abokhodair, I’m an applied social scientist and an internet researcher. I currently work as a User Experience Researcher at Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division (C&E).
In 2017, I finished my PhD degree in Information Science at the University of Washington Information School where I arrived as a Fulbright scholar. During my time there, I was a member of the Value Sensitive Design Research Lab, a co-founder of the Political Bots.org project, a co-founder of the HCI across the Arab World initiative. I also spent 6 months as a Research Associate with the Social Computing group at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI).
During my PhD journey, my research focused (and still do) on two areas. In the first, I examined the information practices and behaviors of Arab social media users with the goal of informing global technology design and policy. In the second, I researched the use and influence of social and political bots on social computing systems during political events with the goal of informing automation policy. I published research in this area with focus on events related to the Arab spring, specifically, the Egyptian uprising and the ongoing Syrian civil war.
My work reflects my strong passion for understanding people’s social and collaborative interactions in their everyday digital and physical contexts with the goal of designing and evaluating collaborative, social, and inclusive technologies. In doing so, I combine my experience conducting research studies, my expert knowledge of qualitative and human-centered design methods, and my multilingual and cross-cultural background to engage with stakeholders empathetically.
My research can be applied across both industry research and academia. I publish my research in venues like ACM CSCW(Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing) ACM SIGCHI(Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) and ACM DIS (Designing Interactive Systems). Numerous outlets have also featured my research, such as the Pew Research Center, CNN, New York Post, Commondreams, Desmogblog, and the University of Washington news site. You can find my published research in my Google Scholar page.
PhD Dissertation Research
In my dissertation project, I investigated the use of social media (i.e., Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) by young adults from the Arab Gulf states (e.g., Saudi Arabia) to understand how youth conceptualize privacy and identity. In general, my research reflects my strong interest in a broader research agenda that advocates for culturally-inclusive design and research by applying qualitative, quantitative, visual and human-computer interaction methods, and on understanding the implications of emerging technologies used by people in different contexts.