David Darvill

Adjunct Professor

Research interests

  • Developmental psychology; how humans change over time.
  • Human ethology; observing humans and other animals in situ.
  • Human factors and ergonomics; how systems-of-systems are designed and change.
  • Interactive visual analytics; playing with and visually exploring data for problem solving.
  • Cognitive science; adding physical, social and emotional dimensions to cognition.
  • Abnormal systems; understanding why human-based systems fail.

David's Biography

Dr Darvill was educated as an experimental developmental psychologist, with a PhD from the University of Waterloo. He has over 45 years of experience in psychology, human factors and visual analytics, having held various positions to promote the importance of a human focus in product and system research, analysis, design and deployment. His goal is to be the users’ advocate throughout the lifecycle of products or systems.

He was Manager of Human Factors at MPR Teltech, Director of the Human Centred Design facility at the New Media Innovation Centre (NewMIC), Director of Ergonomics and Human Factors at BC Research, Director of User Experience at NCompass Labs and a User Experience Program Manager at Microsoft Corp. In all of these positions, he managed and participated in projects that covered all aspects of human centred system design.

As a Defence Scientist at the Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine (now Defence R&D Canada - Toronto), he conducted applied human factors research and development about the innovative use and deployment of simulators and simulations for military training and procurement.

He has been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Interactive Arts + Technology and the Kinesiology Department at Simon Fraser University and a Sessional Lecturer at Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Waterloo; teaching psychology, ergonomics in design, and human-computer interaction design.


  • Dipl Tech, Electronics, Manitoba Institute of Technology, 1966
  • BA (Hons), Psychology, Carleton University, 1974
  • PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Waterloo, 1986