The Department - About Us

Our Work

We investigate the work, learning and behavior of people in order to support them with IT tools. In this we focus on the practice of people, which includes multiple (individual) factors and constraints that shape the way people act and develops of time an constantly. IT is then one factor that influences work, and the understanding of all other factors enables us to support individuals and group appropriately. Our work includes individuals (human computer interaction) as well as support for groups (computer supported cooperative work and collaborative learning). Our aim is to contribute to the design of current and future socio-technical systems.

We investigate the use and influence of current technologies on the work and learning of people. This includes technologies like Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Robots. Our goal is the human centered design of socio-technical systems with these technologies.

This work takes place in various areas of application. We have developed focal areas, in which we are currently active:

  • Human robot cooperation: How can human workers and robots form teams that work together intuitively and in which the members trust each other (and especially the robots). These and other questions are investigated in our project HerMes.
  • Online consultancy processes: How can an online consultation process for goods like furniture look like? What is important to consider regarding those expensive and highly customizable goods? How can technology support those developed designs and concepts? How could they look like? On these and other questions we work in our project ARBay.
  • IT support in healthcare: In healthcare questions we explore possibilities of IT to support learning in a less tech-savvy, yet highly important sector. Challenges are to carefully adapt and integrate IT into processes of healthcare workers in order to create value, meaning to improve the work of care workers as well as the health status of patients. We work on these challenges in our project Pflegebrille 2.0.
  • Ubiquitous interaction: Living in a world in which the Internet of Things, Augmented Reality and Ubiquitous Computing let physical and digital worlds merge, we explore how these technologies, which are predominantly used and investigated for individual use, can be used to support cooperation of people. We look for changes these technologies can make for cooperation and try to prevent dangers resulting from what we may call ubiquitous interaction. To work on these questions we will build the HCIS Ubiquitous Interaction Lab.

Our Background: Design of socio-technical systems
Our reasearch and especially our focus on human behavoir in understanding technology are intertwined with social interactions in socio-technical systems. In such systems technology and social interaction shape and constitute each other: Changes of one will lead to changes of the others, and a loss of one means that the other will not sustain as well. This understanding shapes our application and work on methods for the development of IT support at work. We regard the development of both of these components equally and develop methods enabling the development of solutions under this paradigm.

Our Teaching
In teaching we aim students the oppertunity to learn how to create IT tools that people want to use (creating value) and can use (being easy to use). This includes methods to understand how people work (work practice) and to design tools that fit their practices. We focus on the application of the knowledge conveyed in lectures, and therefore projects in which the students apply the content from lectures are an indispensable part of our teaching.