Judith Donath synthesizes knowledge from fields such as urban design, evolutionary biology and cognitive science to build innovative interfaces for on-line communities and virtual identities. A Harvard Berkman Faculty Fellow and formerly director of the Sociable Media Group at MIT Media Lab, she is known internationally for her writing on identity, interface design, and social communication. She created several of the earliest social applications for the web, including the original postcard service and the first interactive juried art show. Her work with the Sociable Media Group has been shown in museums and galleries worldwide, and was recently the subject of a major exhibition at the MIT Museum.
Her current research focuses on understanding the social economics underlying communication, both face to face and online. This work bring a fresh understanding of the meaning embodied in everyday phenomena, such as fashion, faces, gifts, etc. - and it provides a strong foundation for designing engaging social environments that promote cooperation and trust. She has two books in progress, one on the design of sociable media and one which explores how we signal identity in both mediated and face-to-face interactions. She received her doctoral and master's degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT, her bachelor's degree in History from Yale University, and has worked professionally as a designer and builder of educational software and experimental media.