Ian Drosos - HCI Researcher

Hi, I am a mixed-methods HCI researcher who designs and develops tools to enhance the workflows of software developers, data scientists, content creators, and learners. I partner with product teams at Excel to provide design and UX insights to transfer research findings to product managers and designers. I publish at venues like CHI, DIS, and VLHCC.

Wrex: A Unifed Programming-by-Example Interaction for Synthesizing Readable Code for Data Scientists

Wrex is a unifed interaction model, implemented as a Jupyter notebook extension, that generates readable code for a variety of useful data transformations. User study results demonstrate Wrex made data scientists signifcantly more effective and efficient at data wrangling.
CHI 2020 - Best paper award

FxD: A Functional Debugger For Dysfunctional Spreadsheets

FxD is a novel spreadsheet debugging interface, which provides structured information needed for spreadsheet users to debug formulas in systematic ways. A user study revealed users felt more efficient and capable, were more satisfied with the amount of information shown, and agreed FxD would enhance existing debugging workflows. FxD is now released as part of Excel Labs.
VLHCC 2023 - Best paper, Honorable Mention award

"My Toxic Trait Is Thinking I'll Remember This": Gaps in the Learner Experience of Video Tutorials for Feature-Rich Software

We examine the gaps encountered by users of video tutorials for feature-rich software. We identify how these gaps act as barriers to learning, by collecting and analyzing comments on Excel video tutorials. We then conducted interviews and design probes with 8 creators to investigate the gaps their viewers experience, how they address them, and how future interactions can help them.
(in review)

Microsoft Internal/Product Contributions

A selected few contributions at Microsoft beyond computer science research:

  • 2022 (LLM Interactions in Spreadsheets) and 2023 (Game Design Copilot - "2nd place 'Change the Game' Executive Challenge chosen by Microsoft Gaming CEO and Head of XBOX Phil Spencer, "People's Choice Runner Up (MSRC)" and "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work (MSRC)" Awards) Hackathons.
  • Python in Excel design jam for new interactions.
  • Presenter to the internal Machine Learning, AI & Data Science Conference (MLADS) on designs for LLMs in Excel.
  • Design for LLM co-audit in Excel and beyond.

EDU and XP

I am currently an HCI researcher at Microsoft Research. Previously, I was a full-stack software engineer at Verizon.
I have a PhD in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego and a MS in Computer Science from NC State.


La Jolla, California
PhD Cognitive Science
2017 - 2022

Raleigh, North Carolina
MS Computer Science
2015 - 2017

Marietta, Georgia
BS Computer Science
2007 - 2011


Researcher -- Microsoft Research
2022 -
Researcher -- The Design Lab
2017 - 2022
Instructor -- UCSD
2022 - 2022
Teaching Assistant -- UCSD
2018 - 2022
Research Intern -- Autodesk Research
2021 - 2021
Research Intern -- Microsoft
2018 - 2018
Software Engineer -- Verizon
2011 - 2015