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Design Informatics

Research group Design Informatics is a research environment at the Department of Informatics, Umeå University. We conduct research in informatics through design-oriented studies with a focus on the digitalisation of society. Our interest is in digital technology and digitalisation as a society-building, and society-changing force - where we shape technology, and where it shapes us. We study how digital artefacts can be designed, people's experiences of digital products and services (UX).

Design Informatics is a research environment at the Department of Informatics, Umeå University. We approach  informatics through design-oriented studies with a focus on the digitalisation of society. Our interest is in digital technology and digitalisation as a society-building, and society-changing force - whereby we shape technology, and whereby it shapes us. We study how digital artefacts can be designed, as well as people's experiences of digital products and services (UX - “User Experience”).

We view ’design informatics’ as situated within the sciences of the artificial, where we have a particular concern for digital things that are designed and re-designed through processes of appropriation, understanding, experience, and use. In ’Design Informatics’ our focus is on these designed things, and how these are perceived and situated in social contexts, and how these digital systems are entangled in, and part of our everyday lives. Accordingly, and given the ongoing digitalization of our society, we place ’design informatics’ at the core of the social sciences. Our research environment –’Design Informatics’ is also deeply rooted in the history of informatics - in how our discipline has repeatedly returned to this design-orientation - in the development of ’the Scandinavian school’, in the strive for the development of PD (“Participatory Design”); and in the development of user-centered design approaches to digital technologies and interactive systems.

Our aim is to contribute to the generation of new knowledge on how digital technologies are designed and used by individuals and groups of people in societal contexts. We are interested in how people view, understand, experience, and make sense of digital technologies through the study of these technologies in use, and we are interested in understanding the implications for the design of such interactive systems. We are also interested in the dynamics of these digital things, that is to say, the aesthetics and critical data around which these systems are built, how these digital things are interconnected, networked, and in constant change, and the dynamics of changes in data, use, functionality and purpose. In short, our aim is to contribute to the development of new knowledge at the intersections of humans, digital technologies, use, experiences and design.

We also addresses particular dimensions of these intersections. We are interested in the relations between use and design (e.g., participatory design), and in the relations between people’s interactions with and through data, information, digital devices, and interactive systems - and their relation to design (e.g., interaction design). We are also interested in intersectional and lived experience perspectives, cultures, and social contexts, and we are interested in the emergence of new interactive technologies that challenge the relation between these systems and use contexts (e.g. digital agents, robots, and AI). We also do basic research. We strive to generate new knowledge about the fundamentals that govern this area of research, including the development of new perspectives on design, use, user experience, and digital materials.

We have two central goals. 1) We aim to contribute new knowledge to applied and basic research on the use, experience, and design of interactive systems, and through this aim we will 2) contribute to the ongoing digitalization of our society through well-grounded empirical studies, theoretical perspectives, critiques, and design explorations of digital technologies, in our everyday lives, in different social and cultural contexts, and in our society.

Head of research

Overview

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Informatics

Research area

Informatics