Prof. Philipp Heidkamp

Both, human and non-human actors are part of systems or networks influencing each other. Digitalization leads to a pervasive and ubiquitous connectedness of actors. After decades of user- or human-centered design, we are looking at different types of actors in their context of interdependencies, interactions and relations of a bigger network. We explore interfaces and possible interactions with/amongst those actors, preferably in the context of urban transformations taking into consideration the participation of citizens, possible social interactions, mobility with flows of information, goods and people.

By empirical studies (e.g. ethnographacial), cartographies, mapping, prototyping we are looking for emerging modes of interactions and create the respective interfaces. Interfaces can be spaces of interactions or physical and tangible touchpoints of human or non-human interaction with / in networks.
This requires an openness in our approach to problems as well as in the usage of tools and methods: “To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail,” Mark Twain noted more than a century ago.

Digitalization has an enormous impact on society and design. Interface / Interaction Design creates and unveils opportunities for interactions with things, products, and services. Therefore, we should not exclusively ask about human activities or experiences or the functioning of things, but consider distributed actions of human and non-human actors. How can citizen engage in their specific environment or context? How can participation be designed? How can action be based on informed decisions in a complex world, in filter bubbles and post-truth societal contexts?
Analog and digital prototypes envision new approaches and are the basis for a reflection and critical analysis of possible futures. In Interface / Interaction Design, we are working with pilots and experiments, prototypes  and scenarios to create things, products, services or  systems. We are using ethnographical approaches to understand human (and also non-human) needs and 
perspectives in specific situations (e.g. urban mobilities) and come up with new approaches. Intercultural and international collaborations add further dimensions to the understanding of problems.

From this year on, there will be a research focus on cities and digitalization, also participating in the newly established research group “Real-Time City” at KISD.