Specialisation Course on Design of Health Technologies

Human-Centred Design and Human-Computer Interaction are key areas in the development of digital products and solutions.

The field of health and well-being is no exception and, in order to enable professionals with skills in these topics, a Specialisation Course on Design of Health Technologies was created by the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, in cooperation with Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Medicine of University of Porto, and UPTEC.




The design of technologies for health, totally adapted to end users, is a complex process, while increasingly valued by the medical industry. Understanding the practices, objects, and contexts of people — namely those involved in a clinical process, patient and clinical professional — is essential when developing technologies that will affect their quality of life.

Assessing and/or improving the designed products or services in a clinical context concerning the real world needs and requirements of these stakeholders has the potential to achieve better results on the diagnostic, treatment, and clinical decision. A deep understanding of users and the impact that technology can have in their life and work enables the development of technology that is apt to the necessities and expectations of users in a clinical context. Moreover, it warns of the possible negative financial impact for companies that develop health technology that does not meet the real needs of users and is, ultimately, disregarded.


Course general objectives

> Instruct students with a solid education on the principles of Design for interactive medium and in Human-centred methodologies applied to mHealth and eHealth;

> Understand human factors, their relationships and impact in the organism homeostasis, health, and well-being associated to User Experience: Cognition; Memory; Emotion; Sentiment; Motricity;

> Understand and apply User Research methods in the context of health;

> Instruct students on the fundamentals of principles and requirements of privacy, cybersecurity, and current legislation, and how these affect the development, design, interaction, and integration of technology centred on health technologies’ users;

> Understand the context of serious games applied to health, its mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics;

> Understand and analyse case studies in the clinical context of Human-Computer Interaction;

> Understand and implement prototype methodologies and assessment in the development of clinical technologies.


Learning Outcomes

> Understand the specificities of User Interfaces in different contexts and devices to support human health and well-being;

> Understand human factors and how they articulate with the experience of interacting with artefacts of support to human health and well-being;

> Identify and understand the different methodologies of the project and the team management for interactive media;

> Identify and understand privacy, security, and regulation requirements that are related to the creation and development of user interfaces, and processing personal and health data;

> Understand design and prototyping tools, implementing methods for the definition of system/product requirements, and user-centred design;

> Understand, implement, and access different typologies and phases of prototyping, through the experimentation with rapid prototyping tools for the development of applications and games, including adequate languages and paradigms for programming;

> Understand and to be able to apply interaction and game design principles to interactive media in the context of health and well-being.



Human Factors and Cybersecurity: 3 ECTS

> Human-Centred Design and User Experience
> Human Factors: Sensorial, Cognitive, Emotional
> Security
> Human factors in Cybersecurity
> Legislation: Requirements and impact on design
> Information security
> Ethics and RGPD legislation
> Security in interaction and usability

User Research & User Centred Design: 6 ECTS

> Methodologies for Human-Centred Design
> Ethnography and Observation
> Interviews/Focus Groups
> Qualitative Analysis
> Participatory Design
> Cultural and Technological Probes
> Usability Tests
> Field Trials
> Longitudinal studies and ethics
> Design requirements, user models, and scenarios

Interaction Design: 6 ECTS

> Interaction Design Principles
> Interaction Design Patterns
> Information Architecture
> Accessibility and Assistive Technologies
> Usability
> Inclusive design and Multimodality

Prototyping and Interface Design: 6 ECTS

> Principles and elements of visual design
> Layout, iconography, typography
> Personas, scenarios, objects
> Sound / Audio
> Design systems
> Prototyping

Implementation and Assessment: 9 ECTS

> Programming for web and games
> Horizontal and vertical prototyping
> Prototyping for web, apps, and games
> Prototyping frameworks
> Mixed methods data analysis
> Descriptive statistical analysis
> Qualitative methods
> Case studies in digital health
> Information systems in health and electronic clinical records
> Systems of support to clinical decision
> Signals and medical image
> Heuristic evaluation
> Usability evaluation
> UX evaluation
> Implicit and explicit methods
> Evaluation method in health information systems

Project: 18 ECTS

> Ideation
> Contextual research
> Development of user models
> Definition of requirements and functionalities
> Development of prototypes, documentation, and assets
> Prototype assessment
> Iterative development
> Case studies in digital health

Teaching Team

Bruno Giesteira (FBAUP, INESC TEC)
Bruno Giesteira is a Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Design Department, of the University of Porto pursuing studies @INESCT, HumanISE Centre, in Human-Centred Design in the context of Human-Computer Interaction, namely related to health and well-being. With extensive experience in managing HCI’s research teams, he has been widely published contributing to a better understanding of the cognitive and sensory dimensions of the human being when mediated by interactive artifacts. Examples are the participation on various international projects in the area of health and well-being in developed and developing countries. He is the supervisor of several Human-Computer Interaction courses and director of postgraduate studies in Interaction Design and Games and Design of Health Technologies.


Andreia Pinto de Sousa (FBAUP/ULP, HEI-Lab/DigiMedia)
Andreia Pinto de Sousa holds a PhD in Communication Sciences and Technologies, a MFA in Multimedia, and a Degree in Communication Design. She is a lecturer and also works as a consultant in User Experience Design for companies in the field of Design and Technology. Her scientific interests are related to Human Computer Interaction; Interface Design; User Experience; Interaction Design; Communication Design; Usability.


Rui Rodrigues (FEUP, INESC TEC)
Rui Rodrigues graduated in Systems and Informatics Engineering at University of Minho. During his PhD he conducted research in 3D reconstruction from Images both at Philips Research (Eindhoven) and University of Minho, until he concluded in 2006. He worked in the industry in the field of interactive systems and games until 2009, when he joined the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto (FEUP). He currently teaches and researches in the areas of Computer Graphics, Interaction and Game design, and is one of the responsible people for the GIG group at DEI/FEUP and its labs.

Ana Ferreira (FMUP, CINTESIS)
Ana Margarida Leite de Almeida Ferreira is an integrated researcher of the HIS-HER research group at CINTESIS, and has been a member of this R&D Unit since 2007. She became an IT specialist at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto in 2004, completed a Master Degree in Security and Information at the Royal Holloway, University of London, a Doctorate Degree at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and the University of Kent, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the SnT – Interdisciplinary Center for Security, Reliability and Trust of the University of Luxembourg.


Ana Luísa Neves (FMUP, CINTESIS)
Ana Luísa Neves graduated from Faculty of Medicine of University of Porto and undertook training in Family Medicine at ARS Norte / ACES Gaia. She has a MSc on the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease, and her current main research interest is cardiovascular disease. Ana is also interested in patient education, empowerment and self-management of cardiovascular disease.


Tiago Jacinto (FMUP, CINTESIS)
Tiago Jacinto is an integrated researcher of the PaCeIT group, Thematic Line 3 – Health Data and Decision Sciences & Information Technologies, of CINTESIS. He holds a Doctorate in Clinical Research and Health Services from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP), a Bachelor’s Degree from the School of Health Technology of Coimbra, and a Master’s Degree in Medical Informatics from FMUP.


Ana Correia de Barros (Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS)
Ana Correia de Barros is a Senior Researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS and head of the Human-Centred Design department. She conducts design research strongly informed by qualitative fieldwork. With a background in industrial design, she worked in a design studio prior to earning a PhD in industrial engineering and management from Universidade da Beira Interior. She was a researcher at UNIDCOM-IADE, led the research and innovation area at a rehabilitation centre (CRPG), lectured at different universities and participated in a number of R&D projects. Ana’s research interests include assistive products (chronic disease and disability), and inclusive design.


Francisco Nunes (Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS)
Francisco Nunes is a Senior Researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, working on the Human-Centred Design team. He holds a Master in Informatics and Computer Engineering from the University of Porto (2010), and PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from TU Wien (2017). Francisco is an expert in ethnographically informed design, user-centered design, and participatory design approaches. His research is concerned with the user research, design, and evaluation of technologies for older people, especially in the healthcare domain. Francisco started doing research at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS (2008-2012), and has held research positions at TU Wien (2012-2017), and the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (2016-2017).

Ricardo Melo (Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS)
Ricardo Melo is a Senior Researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, working on the Human-Centred Design team. He is also a Guest Adjunct Professor at ISCAP P.Porto and has lectured in different universities. Ricardo holds a degree in Communication Design 2008), a Master in Multimedia (2012), and a PhD in Design (2018). He is an expert in communication and interaction design, as well as on technology assessment in real life contexts. His research interests are in communication, interaction, interface and game design, as well as in user experience, accessibility and usability, digital media, storytelling, and creativity. At Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS he gives training on these topics to students and professionals, and has managed projects with a focus on technology assessment, including with non-mainstream audiences.


Eduardo Pereira (ECT Telecoms)
Eduardo Pereira is a Junior Product Owner of low-code platforms at ECT Telecoms and student of the Doctoral Program in Digital Media of the University of Porto. His career has always been linked to user experience, having already assumed all stages of Interaction Design, front-end development and management (Head of Department). He also worked as a researcher at Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS for almost 5 years, where he planned, designed and evaluated solutions on topics related to Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), Sustainable Development Goals (SGD), and Participatory Citizenship, working with national and international partners to digitally empower people and marginalised communities.


Rodrigo Assaf (FEUP, INESC TEC)
Master of Science in computer science, Rodrigo is a Ph.D. candidate and researcher at the University of Porto (GIG - Graphics, Interaction and Gaming Group at DEI/FEUP - INESCTEC). He has several years of experience working for TV, game, and animation studios in the entertainment industry as a 3D Designer and developer. Currently, works for HMX Media London as a front-end developer and for ULP as an assistant teacher. His research interest areas are Computer Graphics, Immersion, Games, XR, and 3D Animation.




Bruno Giesteira (FBAUP, INESC TEC)



Scientific Commitee


> Bruno Giesteira
> Rui Rodrigues
> Ana Ferreira
> Francisco Nunes
> Ricardo Melo




Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 17:00 - 20:00.

Hybrid format.

Locations: UPTEC Asprela I, FBAUP, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS.



A presente edição do curso de Especialização em Design de Tecnologias para a Saúde é financiada pelos fundos do programa ‘Next Generation EU’ do Plano de Recuperação e Resiliência (PRR), através do ‘Programa de Formação Multidisciplinar da U.Porto – Impulso Jovens STEAM & Impulso Adultos’.