The Human-Centred Design group focuses on conceptualizing, designing, and evaluating technologies together with people, especially in extraordinary scenarios. We make sure all stakeholders influence design processes, so that the created artefacts fit the practices and context of the people who will use them in the end.
At Fraunhofer AICOS, we apply research methods ranging from engineering, design and the social sciences to understand, frame, and solve problems impacting non-mainstream audiences.
The Human-Centred Design group is divided in three sub-areas, which coincide with the main phases of a design process.
/ Understanding people in diverse settings
When creating technologies, information about the people who will use them and their contexts of use is key for designers and engineers. Successful technology that fits and expands possibilities in people's lives requires a symbiosis between technology and the context in which it will be operating, including people and tasks involved, relations between actors or the cultural realm.
At Fraunhofer AICOS, we employ proven user research methods, such as interviews, observation, focus groups, surveys or probes to understand people and their context, and better inform product development teams. Our team specialises in understanding non-mainstream contexts, to generate insights for complex design and interaction problems, using mixed methods research.
/ Co-designing meaningful technologies
We strive for creating democratic design environments where people can provide their perspective and influence the characteristics of the technology being designed. Our focus is inclusive, involving all those who will be using the technology, ranging from neophytes to professionals, so that assumptions are quickly validated, errors quickly corrected and so that the likelihood of users' appropriation of technology is high.
Using co-design guided by ethical and aesthetical values, we specialise in generating meaningful solutions for self-care, visualization, gamification and serious games, as well as solutions to support the digitalization process in professional or community contexts.
/ Technology assessment in real life
Once a technology is developed, Human-Centred Design prepares an assessment methodology that can investigate its different impacts. We are experienced in evaluating wireframes, prototypes, and products together with their prospective users, in laboratory or in-situ.
Our assessment process strives to be participatory and to include all the prospective users and the stakeholders that might be affected with the introduction of the technology. Unique at AICOS is a long-track record in designing and implementing study protocols involving extreme users and new technology.