Research Foci

The research foci of the Usability Research Group at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar lie at the productive intersection between intelligent computational methods, usability testing and engineering, and human interaction with space and spatial information. Specifically, many of our basic as well as applied research projects fall within one, or more, of the following three areas:

  • Adaptive and anticipatory user interfaces and their usability, 
  • Reasoning with spatial information and human navigation and interaction in urban space,
  • Usability of mobile applications and of mobile human-computer interfaces.

We believe that user models, interfaces, or systems need to prove their qualities through user tests. Users, however, frequently differ in their individual (e.g. cognitive) abilities, their goals and needs, their interests, their knowledge. As a consequence, requirements for usable applications will often differ as well between users. Methods for both system engineering and system evaluation need to adequately accommodate user diversity and its consequences for what constitutes good usability. Our approaches frequently involve smart, adaptive, anticipatory, or individualized interfaces and user models.

We employ empirical, statistical, and computational methods in human behavioural studies and system development. These methods include, among others, psychophysical experimentation with stationary and mobile eye movement trackers; user-centred quantitative and qualitative evaluation, often already early on during software development or prototype engineering; lab-based, in-situ, and mobile user studies; and context and cognitive user modelling.

Application domains of our projects include architectural design, computer games (including games for user groups with special needs), mobile applications in pedestrian tourism, spatial cognitive abilities and their training (such as with elementary school students), cognitive models of spatial knowledge, spatial navigation support, spatial reasoning and problem solving, modelling energy demands of mobile devices, eLearning for the individual learner or learner groups, information visualisation, perceptual qualities of CG texture models, and disaster management. Partners in research and projects come from computer science (HCI, computer graphics, computational cognitive modelling, cognitive systems, artificial intelligence, mobile information systems) as well as from architecture, cognitive and educational psychology, education, (media) art and design, geography and GIS. A productive collaboration exists with the Weimar-based start-up incubator neudeli.

To find out more about our research, please have a look at our individual projects.