Preece gained her Ph.D. at the Open University, later becoming faculty there. She went on to be a Research Professor of Information Systems and Director of the Research Center for People and Systems Interaction at London South Bank University in London. At the University of Maryland, she has studied how online communities can stimulate and support social engagement.
Human-Computer Interaction co-author, with Yvonne Rogers, Helen Sharp, David Benyon, Simon Holland, and Tom Carey, (1994) ISBN 0-201-62769-8
Preece has published papers on trust, community, and online etiquette, including the transition of readers and participants to community leaders. In 2011 she was selected to join the CHI Academy.