- University of Toronto, Department of Computer Science, 2004 – present
WATCH University of Toronto Students’ Testimonials
- George Brown College, School of Computer Technology, 2021– present
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Translational Research Program, 2019 – 2020
- University of Toronto, Summer Abroad in Berlin, Germany, 2016 – 2019
- University of Toronto, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, 2018
- University of Toronto, iSchool, Faculty of Information, 2017 – 2018
- OCAD University, Graduate Studies, Digital Futures Initiative & CFC Media Lab, 2013 – 2015
- OCAD University, Department of Design, 2014 – 2015
- OCAD University, Executive Masters of Design in Advertising, 2006 – 2010
- ideaBOOST, Canadian Film Centre’s Innovative Business & Creative Development Lab, 2012 – 2013
- Canadian Film Centre’s New Media Lab, Interactive Art & Entertainment Programme, 2000 – 2012
- University of Toronto in Mississauga, Computer Science & CCIT, 2004 – 2006.
- University of Toronto Scarborough, Computer Science, 1993
Industry Training Courses
- Development and delivery of corporate training courses across various industries
- Course topics include: User Experience, User Centered Design, Usability, Prototyping, Usability Testing, Design of Interactive Computational Media, Embracing Technology
- Courses duration ranging from 1 hour to 24 hours of instruction
Delivered Courses for
- Rogers Communications
- Deutsche Bank
- Human Factors International – HFI
- Intelliware Development
- International Institute for Learning – IIL
- Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – LAMTA
- OMERS Worldwide
- Ontario Science Centre
- Shoppers Drug Mart
Workshops at Conferences & Events
- DocSHIFT Toronto
- DOC Toronto
- MaRS Tech Startups, Toronto
- Mobile Accelerator Program (MAP), OCADU Toronto
- Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), OCADU Toronto
- Mobile Developers & Designers of Toronto (MDOT)
- Ryerson’s Digital Media UX Design Workshop
- Next Media Conference, Toronto
- SMART Conferences, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Participants in HFI Design and Usability Testing Courses, Online Worldwide, August 2023
- Love your style of teaching… Feels very engaged in this class!
- The class was fantastic and I learnt a lot! Thank you Ilona for sharing your vast knowledge and expertise! I feel like my impostor syndrome has been finally vanquished and I have the tools to make a real impact in my job!
- This was a great course for an online setting. I really enjoyed the pace and the student/teacher interactions as well as stories and shared wisdom from past experiences. Thank you so much!
- Today’s class was one of the best ones that I have taken so far. The instructor included rich and relevant anecdotes from her professional experience. These “extensions” of teaching have allowed me to narrow the chasm between theory and reality, especially since I have not had that opportunity to practice such activities.
Students, Course: Designing Systems for Real World Problems,
University of Toronto, Department of Computer Science & Summer Abroad in Berlin, August 2023
- 100% Re-take! This was such a unique experience, the lessons were very useful and I can see myself revisiting and utilizing what I learned. On top of that, the environment was highly conducive to my learning, the class atmosphere was exceptional, and the overall experience is unforgettable!
- The course exceeded my expectations of what I would learn, and is one of the highlights of my degree.
- You are one of the few professors I have had that truly took and listened to student feedback, and through that, you created a very comfortable learning environment.
- I think everything we learned in the course and through our assignments is relevant to my future whether directly or indirectly. Even if I don’t pursue a career in user testing or design, the skills learned are so applicable to any field.
- I would definitely retake this course simply because working alongside different people and engaging in a small classroom in a foreign country create an entirely unique experience that I cannot find anywhere else.
- I would definitely have taken this course; in fact, I would have been a lot more enthusiastic than I actually was. I loved the entire experience and I learned so much during the process.
- One of the best things I took away from this course was how to present and sell your ideas to an audience. I saw the value in minimalism and concision and delivering your message in the most efficient way.
- I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you once again for an absolutely incredible semester! This was a truly exceptional and memorable learning experience, and I hope to pay it forward. Thank you!
Participants in HFI Design and Usability Testing Courses, Online Worldwide, April 2021
- I learned an amazing set of practical puzzle pieces for setting up a super professional and flexible usability workflow that can be applied to improve pretty much anything. I learned there are levels to this discipline and that there is a lot more to learn than I expected. This feeds and grows the unassuming spirit that I am trying to cultivate as a person and as a professional.
- I recently took a design and usability testing class from Ilona as part of the CUA certification from HFI, something I’ve wanted to do for years. Ilona’s style of teaching is fun and interactive, and I learnt a lot from her. Thank you Ilona for sharing your vast knowledge and expertise! I feel like my impostor syndrome has been finally vanquished and I have the tools to make a real impact in my job!
Students, Course: Design Thinking for A.I. Solutions
Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence, George Brown College, Online Worldwide, April 2021
- This course is the most interactive course I have ever attended, even exceeded plenty of the in-person courses before COVID.
- Current AI’s design is bad and hard to explain to the user. With this course, developers can create easy-to-use AI solutions.
- I have never thought about spending so much time preparing for a product design. Now, I understand it is actually saving a lot of time and cost in total.
- Thanks to this class, now I have a new way of thinking when solving a problem. I really love the Design Thinking approach, because it will solve many problems with the crappy, unintuitive applications that are swarming the market right now
- This class must be mandatory and essential to everyone that is going to be working in the software industry. … without having proper knowledge and designing a proper interface the product will eventually fail.
Students, Course: Projects in Translational Research
Translational Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Sept 2019 – April 2020, including the teaching of Medical Professionals during COVID-19 pandemic
I learned how to iterate. This is so important particularly in health. Getting as much data and going back to drawing board. I had no idea what usability testing was before this class – beyond things I heard commercially – but I’ve been using many of the skills acquired in this class day-to-day. For example, I led a group in piloting a post-dc COVID virtual clinic – used similar heuristics, cognitive walkthrough, storyboarding and usability testing to launch our app.
I liked how we focused on application of those tools. Also, despite the COVID being a very unfortunate circumstance, I felt I learned the most during this time. I learned a variety of online tools and platforms that I can take with me to be able to complete things like storyboards, cognitive walkthroughs, brainstorming, etc. I think the best thing I learned in the class were the tools available to be able to codesign, etc. This course was an absolute pleasure.
Ernest Lee, Agile Enabler, Software Craftsperson, Avande, June 21, 2019
I met Ilona when she taught an intensive Usability course at my company over the course of 6 weeks almost a decade ago. Not realizing this until we recently reconnected at a talk she was giving, her teachings and insights have been a large cornerstone to the way I approach software development as a whole, putting users first and eliminating bias whenever possible. In hindsight, I have been truly blessed to have had that experience as it floods my entire view of users and customers first in a product-driven Agile approach that I spend my days advocating. Now, if everyone else could get the same education!
Students, Course: Ergonomic Design of Information Systems
Faculty: Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, MIE, University of Toronto – Fall 2018
Thank you for one of the most futuristic courses I have taken at U. of T.
I signed with IBM as a UX Designer. For every role that I interviewed for (UX researcher or designer positions), I was asked to complete a take home “case study”. I performed very well in these assignments and IMPRESSED the companies with my design thinking process, strategy, deliverables and presentation. I cannot thank you enough for the class assignments we did in MIE344. They were very well thought-out and by following those steps and guidelines, I was able to compete with experienced UX-ers and land some pretty sweet offers. I am very fortunate to have had you as my Prof! 🙂 THANK YOU!!!!
A human centred design course that is worth taking. The experience of developing an interface with my group members is something that I am proud to put on my resume, and concepts I have learned from this course will be lifelong beneficial to me.
I learned about the importance of iteration in product design. Being someone who likes to work on side-projects, I’m used to going straight to coding with some minor thought given to prototype design. Now, I know to develop paper prototypes and then iterate on them using wire-framing and design software.
Students, Course: User Experience Design
Faculty: University of Toronto, Information School, Knowledge Media Design – UXD, Fall 2017
It was a pleasure to take this course and I have to say it exceeded all of my expectations. It was exactly what I was hoping for when I enrolled here… I truly appreciate the hard work you put into securing Cineplex as an industry partner, their guidance was an invaluable asset for our group, and I found it to be an incredible learning opportunity.
Students Course: Designing Systems for Real World Problems
Faculty: Computer Science, University of Toronto, Summer Abroad in Berlin, Summer 2017
Awesome professor! She is passionate about her field and reflects that in her lectures. Expect to participate actively both in-class, and in the group assignments as there are no excuses for slacking off. The hard work you put in will be reflected in both your grades and what you get out of the course.
Very professional and down to earth! Probably the best professor I’ve had! Her lectures are fun and interactive… Probably the most organized CS class I’ve ever had overall. This was for a Summer Abroad course, but Ilona was very accessible outside of class and cared about her students succeeding in both class and in industry. There are quite a lot of assignments but you get to experience iterating on a product and testing on users in real life.
Michael Glueck, Autodesk, Senior Research Scientist, October 2013
Ilona Posner taught my undergrad Interaction Design course at the University of Toronto. This was by far my favourite undergrad CS course, CSC318. She always brought enthusiasm and energy to the evening lectures, and made sure to engage all students in the material. There were always small exercises to do outside of class, such as find examples of bad interaction design in in our daily lives. Looking back, these seemingly trivial activities had the largest impact. Ilona encouraged me to develop my own awareness and critical eye and make interaction design a part of my life.
Garry Beirne, Intelliware Inc., Director, Solutions Delivery, January 2013
I have worked with Ilona a number of occasions She completed a usability review of a complex system for a client in the pharmacy industry. Her insights, intuition and report quality were extremely professional and comprehensive, and the report is strongly influencing the course of product development. We were so impressed with her work that we hired her to give first a full day workshop, and then a 9-week course to our developers and communications staff on Usability & User Experience. We were very happy with the outcomes this course and many of the learnings were incorporated in our development process. She is an excellent communicator, teacher and creative thinker. I can highly recommend Ilona as a powerful leader in usability and user experience. – LinkedIn Recommendation, January 26, 2013
Rick White, Scotiabank, VP Marketing, March 2011
Ilona and I taught a graduate class for two summers. Ilona focused on the client experience while I looked after the marketing strategy. Ilona was tremendously collaborative and insightful in helping to make the program a challenging and solid learning experience for our adult students. She also was a fun partner to work with.
Ana Serrano, Director of Habitat New Media Lab at Canadian Film Centre, May 2006
Since 2000, Ilona Posner with her experience and enthusiasm has made valuable contributions to our Interactive Art and Entertainment training program.
Jackie Garrow, DOC Toronto, Managing Director, November 2011
Ilona’s paper-proto-typing workshop was a hit with the professional documentary filmmaking community. Each time we invite her back her session consistently ranks as a conference favorite!
Richard Lachman, Ryerson University, Assistant Professor, Digital Media & DocSHIFT Labs Incubator Lead Mentor, Feb 2011
Ilona’s paper-prototyping presentation and workshop was one of the most highly-regarded invited-talks of our incubator. The participants appreciated Ilona’s clear insights, fantastic examples and knowledgeable presentations.
Alice Tolar, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Transportation Planning Manager, Central Area Team, November 2010.
Thank you for the time you have been able to spend with our staff. We have all benefitted greatly.
Zbigniew Duszak, OMERS Worldwide, Director Information Technology Solutions, Sept 2009.
After your course people started thinking about users and usability, and now we are doing it!
Usability Workshop Participants, OMERS Worldwide, December 2008.
- “Usability should be part of every iteration throughout software development lifecycle.”
- “This course opened my eyes to many different levels of user skills & knowledge.”
- “An extremely valuable workshop! Would like to have had more time for the workshop.”
- “Course taught me ways of getting user inputs in building a system.”
Matt McPherson, President & COO, Infonaut Inc. & Graduate Student, University of Toronto, February 2011
I had Ilona as my professor for a graduate course in ‘Design of Interactive Computational Media’ – and she had everything you want in a teacher: accessible, nurturing and an expert in the subject matter (User-Centred Design in this case)… her style was engaging, garnering the undivided attention of the class. We need more teachers like Ilona. – LinkedIn Recommendation, February 7, 2011
Matthew Zukowski, 4th Year Computer Science Student, U. of Toronto, April 20, 2005
I found the course extremely interesting. … Without a doubt taking your course has resulted in a much better product for my company, its client, and perhaps most importantly for its users. It is very rewarding to see how the detailed design process pays off … Thanks to careful application of the various design and evaluation methods, our users are now reporting nothing but satisfaction with how our product has made their jobs easier.
Ronald Baecker, Professor Computer Science, University of Toronto, June 10, 2004
The more I think about it, the more I’m very pleased with the great job and innovations you brought to csc318 (course) this year. Thanks again for all that you’ve done!!!
Anonymous Students, Computer Science 318, University of Toronto, 2004 – 2010
- “The best professor I’ve ever met in the university. Well-done, ILONA!”
- “During the workshop I felt like I was debugging our system before writing any code.”
- “Ilona is a great professor. She is a very interesting lecturer and uses real-life examples that relate to the course content effectively.”
- “Instructor [Ilona Posner] is incredible. Her real life experience and knowledge is refreshing compared to other computer courses. By far one of the best instructors ever for a comp sci course.”
- “The class was great. Opened my mind up to design. Never realized its importance.”
- “She did a good job teaching a course with a generally bad reputation.”
CFC Interactive Art and Entertainment Program Participants. 2000 – 2011
- “Ilona has teaching under her skin… I wish we had more time with her.”
- “Very relaxed and comfortable instructor to be around. I was thrilled to have her great experience and wisdom in the group. I would have liked more time to spend with Ilona.”
- “She was a mentor, teacher, thought-provocateur and beacon of shining light to me at the CFC… Thanks for making me think!”
OCADU, Executive Masters of Design for Advertising Students taking the course “Embracing Technology,” 2009-10.
- “I feel, learned more from this class than in any other… I really loved the way you structured things…I think the real measure of a course is whether it has value after the fact. I’m working on something now and find myself drawing on some of your course material in my thinking. Thank you for that… I wasn’t entirely sure what my expectations were of the EMDes course but I know that what I gained in your course delivered it.” Artistic Director, Principal, Advertising Agency, Canada.
- “I found the course very interesting and really enjoyed / appreciated your passion for the subject. I will take away a number of very important bits and pieces.” Account Executive, Interactive Group, Major Advertising Agency, Canada.
- “The most important concept learned in the course was the ‘Trinity for Success.’ I had never thought of the ‘balancing act’ between the user, business, and technology… My favorite part was examination and appreciation of behaviour – looking past simply identifying a customer and taking into account their behaviour and how this plays an integral role in strategic decision making… I feel I am already beginning to apply my learning from this course to my work this week. Most importantly I keep asking myself what the user experience might be with each campaign execution we are working on for fall launch.” Advertising & Media Planner, Major Canadian Broadcaster.
- “The most important concept I learned was, it’s not about you, it’s about the user (i.e. usability, content…), and this relation is exceptionally fragile cause we’re not there when our website is being used or our blog is being read (or not!). Every step needs to be well thought of, tested, and continuously monitored.” Web Designer, Tech Expert.
- “I enjoyed your teaching style. It was fun, loaded with examples and stories to help to the learning stick, yet informative.” Artistic Director, Advertising Agency, US.
- “The course allowed us to combine design to strategy and if we look at the most successful companies in almost every field (Apple, Ikea…) it is obvious that design is part of the strategy.” International Multimedia Designer & Producer
Kathryn Saunders, George Brown College, Program Coordinator, January 30, 2006
Thank you so much for coming to speak to the Advanced Digital Design students today. When you left, they requested that you come back to ‘hang out’ (i’m NOT kidding) — because you were so interesting. (That’s gotta make your day! :-)…. Ilona, you were a BIG hit.
David Modjeska, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, March 1, 2002
Thanks for an interesting talk. I really enjoyed hearing about the case study, as well as some points about how usability is done in practice. A very entertaining lecture!
Christine Pilkington, Executive Director, DigitalEve Toronto Chapter of Women on the Web Organization, February 21, 2002
Thank *you*! I was very very pleased about your presentation – and many others who attended shared the same sentiment. You are a terrific speaker who communicated the information clearly and effectively… A very entertaining lecture!