Academic Appointments


Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Outstanding Young Investigator, ASME Design Automation Committee (2012)
  • Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Art & Design, Iowa State University (2009 - 2014)

Professional Education


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Sloan School of Management, Marketing & Mechanical Engineering (2009)
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Mechanical Engineering (2008)
  • M.S., University of Michigan, Mechanical Engineering (2004)
  • B.S., Brown University, Materials Science and Engineering (1998)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Research Focus

Research projects in Dr. MacDonald's IRIS Design lab have three foci: (1) Modeling the role of the public's decisions in effective large-scale sustainability implementation; (2) Improving engineering designers' abilities to address complex customer preference for sustainability; and (3) Using data on how consumers perceive products, especially visually, to understand how products are evaluated and subsequently improve those evaluations. These foci represent three corresponding design vantage points: (1) system-level; (2) human-scale or product-level, and (3) single-decision-level, as shown in the Figure. The exploration of these different vantage points is fundamental to performing insightful design research on complex design issues, such as sustainability.

Sustainable design readily spreads across many disciplines and necessarily requires an interdisciplinary and system-based design approach. At the heart of this system is the relationship between product engineering and human behavior. The designer must include this relationship in the product's design along with other sustainability concerns such as technology advancement, life cycle assessment, policy compliance, larger societal impact, and economic viability. As behavior is difficult for engineers to quantify, it can be lost in engineering analysis. The resulting sustainable products and technologies may not be used and/or purchased, may not be as efficient as predicted, and thus may not have the beneficial impact that they were designed to have. The relationship between the sustainable product engineering and human behavior can be quantified, for example by modeling decision-making, and incorporated into engineering analysis. Often, the reformulation of the engineering system problem required to accommodate human behavior is beneficial to other elements of the design. We perform research at the intersection of analytical design methods, conceptual design methods, and decision-making theory to design successful sustainable products and energy technologies.

2020-21 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Advisor (AC)
    Naser Dehaibi, Yiqing Ding
  • Master's Program Advisor
    Mei Hao, Betty Wan

All Publications


  • Quantifying the Importance of Solar Soft Costs: A New Method to Apply Sensitivity Analysis to a Value Function JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Syal, S. M., MacDonald, E. F. 2020; 142 (12)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4048456

    View details for Web of Science ID 000591557800004

  • Agent-Based Modeling of Decisions and Developer Actions in Wind Farm Landowner Contract Acceptance JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Syal, S. M., Ding, Y., MacDonald, E. F. 2020; 142 (9)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4047153

    View details for Web of Science ID 000561232600008

  • A human-centered design approach to evaluating factors in residential solar PV adoption: A survey of homeowners in California and Massachusetts RENEWABLE ENERGY Bao, Q., Sinitskaya, E., Gomez, K. J., MacDonald, E. F., Yang, M. C. 2020; 151: 503–13
  • Designing linked journey maps to understand the complexities of the residential solar energy market RENEWABLE ENERGY Sinitskaya, E., Gomez, K. J., Bao, Q., Yang, M. C., MacDonald, E. F. 2020; 145: 1910–22
  • Revealing insights of users' perception: an approach to evaluate wearable products based on emotions DESIGN SCIENCE Liao, T., Tanner, K., MacDonald, E. 2020; 6

    View details for DOI 10.1017/dsj.2020.7

    View details for Web of Science ID 000545107700001

  • AGENT-BASED MODELING OF DECISIONS AND DEVELOPER ACTIONS IN WIND FARM LANDOWNER CONTRACT ACCEPTANCE Syal, S. M., Ding, Y., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2020
  • EXTRACTING CUSTOMER PERCEPTIONS OF PRODUCT SUSTAINABILITY FROM ONLINE REVIEWS EI-Dehaibi, N., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2020
  • A WIZARD-OF-OZ EXPERIMENT TO DEMONSTRATE WATER REDUCTION AND USER TRAINING WITH AN "AUTONOMOUS" FAUCET Jou, W., Beaulieu, S. M., Lim, A. K., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2020
  • MANIPULATING TRUST OF AUTONOMOUS PRODUCTS WITH AFFECTIVE PRIMING Liao, T., MacDonald, E., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2020
  • Extracting Customer Perceptions of Product Sustainability From Online Reviews El Dehaibi, N., Goodman, N. D., MacDonald, E. F. ASME. 2019

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4044522

    View details for Web of Science ID 000506893800005

  • Consideration-Constrained Engineering Design for Strategic Insights JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Long, M., Erickson, M., MacDonald, E. F. 2019; 141 (6)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4041916

    View details for Web of Science ID 000466838800010

  • Examining the Influence of Solar Panel Installers on Design Innovation and Market Penetration JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Sinitskaya, E., Gomez, K. J., Bao, Q., Yang, M. C., MacDonald, E. F. 2019; 141 (4)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4042343

    View details for Web of Science ID 000461036400006

  • A Test of the Rapid Formation of Design Cues for Product Body Shapes and Features JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Du, P., MacDonald, E. F. 2018; 140 (7)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4039768

    View details for Web of Science ID 000433143000002

  • Exploring the Effects of a Product's Sustainability Triggers on Pro-Environmental Decision-Making JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN She, J., MacDonald, E. F. 2018; 140 (1)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4038252

    View details for Web of Science ID 000417296300003

  • EFFECTS OF COLLAGE PRIMING ON SUSTAINABLE DESIGN IDEA CREATION AND ASSESSMENT Liao, T., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2018
  • Priming Designers Leads to Prime Designs DESIGN THINKING RESEARCH: MAKING DISTINCTIONS: COLLABORATION VERSUS COOPERATION She, J., Seepersad, C., Holtta-Otto, K., MacDonald, E. F., Plattner, H., Meinel, C., Leifer, L. 2018: 251–73
  • Wind Farm Layout Sensitivity Analysis and Probabilistic Model of Landowner Decisions JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME Chen, L., MacDonald, E. 2017; 139 (3)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4035423

    View details for Web of Science ID 000399077300003

  • EXAMINING THE INFLUENCE OF SOLAR PANEL INSTALLERS ON DESIGN INNOVATION AND MARKET PENETRATION Sinitskaya, E., Gomez, K. J., Bao, Q., Yang, M. C., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2017
  • Modeling noise and lease soft costs improves wind farm design and cost-of-energy predictions RENEWABLE ENERGY Chen, L., Harding, C., Sharma, A., MacDonald, E. 2016; 97: 849-859
  • Products' Shared Visual Features Do Not Cancel in Consumer Decisions JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Du, P., MacDonald, E. F. 2015; 137 (7)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4030162

    View details for Web of Science ID 000355204900010

  • Seven cognitive concepts for successful eco-design JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION MacDonald, E. F., She, J. 2015; 92: 23-36