Michael Zarro

Researcher, Designer and Information Architect

Philadelphia PA

I research how people experience information systems, websites, mobile, and social media - and design engaging and meaningful user experiences. I recently completed a Ph.D. with a focus on human-computer interaction, user experience, and health informatics at the Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics. My dissertation research investigated user behaviors of people using the Web to self-manage a chronic health condition, exploring how people use the Web over time and how organizations like health systems and social media companies can support information seeking. I was awarded an IMLS research fellowship to support this work.

My professional experience includes leading design efforts on large customer facing e-commerce websites ($1 Billion+ annual sales), and developing systems in the health sciences and technology start up environments. Currently I am the Senior Manager of a User Experience and Web Analytics team focusing on e-commerce at a large player in the travel industry.


Publications, etc.

Towards A Conceptual Model of Long-Term Online Health Information Behavior. Zarro, M. (2013).The Seventh Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, HCIR2013, Vancouver BC.

Wedding Dresses and Wanted Criminals: Pinterest.com as an Infrastructure for Repository Building. Zarro, M., Hall, C., & Forte, A. (2013). Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2013).

Exploring Social Curation. Zarro, M., & Hall, C. (2012) D-Lib Magazine 18(11/12). November/December 2012.

Social Curation on the Website Pinterest.com. Hall, C. & Zarro, M. (2012). Proceedings of ASIS&T 75th Annual Meeting (ASIST 2012).

Developing A Dual-Process Information Seeking Model for Exploratory Search. Zarro, M. (2012). The Sixth Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, HCIR2012, Cambridge MA.

Using Social Tags and Controlled Vocabularies As Filters for Searching and Browsing: A Health Science Experiment. Zarro, M. & Lin, X. (2011). The Fifth Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, HCIR2011, Mountain View CA.

What Do You Call it? A Comparison of Library-Created and User-Created Tags. Hall, C. & Zarro, M. (2011). Proceedings of the 11th Annual ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2011 (pp. 53-56).

A Study of User Queries Leading to a Health Information Website – AfterTheInjury.org. Yang, C., Winston, F., Zarro, M., & Kassam-Adams, N. (2011). Proceedings of the iConference 2011, Seattle WA.

User-Contributed Descriptive Metadata for Libraries and Cultural Institutions. Zarro, M. & Allen, R. (2010). In M. Lalmas, J. Jose, A. Rauber, F. Sebastiani, & I. Frommholz (Eds.), Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 6273, pp. 46-54). Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.

Mobile Health Search Enhanced with Social Tags. Zarro, M. (2012). Poster presented at Medicine 2.0, Boston MA.

Pinterest: Social Collecting for #linking #using #sharing
Zarro, M. & Hall, C. (2012). Poster presented at the 2012 ACM / IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL2012).

Healthcare Information Behavior: Implicit Collaboration with Social Tagging Systems. Zarro, M. (2011). Poster presented at The 2011 International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS 2011).

Extending Library Collections Using Web 2.0 and Flickr.com
Zarro, M. (2010). Poster presented at the Library Research Seminar-V 2010, University of Maryland

Recent Projects

A Conceptual Model of Online Information Behavior in the Chronic Disease Trajectory

My dissertation research investigating online health search behaviors, changes in cognitive processing, and learning over time while managing a chronic health condition.

Social Curating

My collaborators and I are exploring users' social collecting and sharing activites, what we call "social curating," on social media sites like Pinterest.

Meaningful Concept Displays

I am working with a team at Drexel and other institutions to investige taxonomy and ontology visualization, to create innovative search interfaces and systems.