Dr. dipl. -Des. Boess, S.U.

Stella Boess is assistant professor of Participatory Inclusive Design at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Stella develops participatory inclusive design tools for designers and non-designers in the domain areas of mobility, sustainability and e-health. She explores how design researchers can use artefacts and processes to support stakeholders in envisioning their own future. She has also developed dissemination advice for beginning design researchers.

Academic Background

Stella is frequently invited to lecture, chair events and review scientific publications and has been a council member of the Design Research Society since 2013. She is the Design Research Society Conference 2020 Programme Committee Chair.
In 2003 she earned a PhD from Staffordshire University (UK) with a research and design project on bathrooms for older people. The research inquired into a designer's experience of user-centred designing in this domain. She has worked in product design consultancy and user research for design, both employed and independently. Previously she studied product design at HBK Saar (Germany).


  • 1997 - 2002
    PhD, Advanced Research Institute in Design, Staffordshire University, UK. Title of the thesis: “An Indian who doesn’t know how to grow the maize. Reflecting on a designer’s experience of user-centred designing”. Supervised by David Durling, Cherie Lebbon, and Christopher Maggs.
  • 1996
    ERASMUS Program Gerontechnology at TUE Eindhoven and Liverpool University
  • 1989 - 1994
    Industrial Design (Dipl.Des.). Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, Saarbrücken, Germany.  


  • 2002 – present
    Assistant Professor Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology (2 days/week until 2007, 4 days/week since). Researcher in the Dutch government-funded project Design for Usability. Organizational role of PhD mentor (supporting candidates). Co-supervised Beatriz Russo, who successfully defended her PhD thesis "The Experience of Love in Person-Product Relationships" in December 2011. Short consultancy projects for, among others, Akzo Nobel, Microsoft. Co-supervising Sumalee Udomboonyanupap's PhD work.
  • 1994 – present
    Independent researcher, designer, educator (full-time/part-time). Various independent projects and consultancy.
  • 2008 - 2011
    Design/art research project "Love Hate Punch" with Stefan Gross
  • 2008
    Expert at a workshop on future urban food provision organised by the Dutch Food Safety Authority
  • 2002 - 2006
    Guest lectureships on designing for older people at HBK Saar and HdK Berlin, Germany and HKU Utrecht, NL.
  • 1999 - 2006
    Research and design projects, for example for duivenoverlast.nl, Landmark bv, Sphinx, NL.
  • 1998 – 1999
    Researcher and designer at Landmark bv, Rotterdam (design consultancy)
  • 1997 – 1998
    Research Associate, Advanced Research Institute in Design, Staffordshire University


  • 2008
    1st prize at the Frits Philips Prize for Interactive Art for “Love Hate Punch”, in collaboration with Stefan Gross. Museum Kunstlicht in de Kunst, Eindhoven.
  • 1999
    One year scholarship from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) towards the PhD.
  • 1995   
    2nd prize DesignCenter Stuttgart, Germany: competition ‘living quarters for older people’ with graduation project ‘shower screen with seat’. 


Member Design Research Society (DRS), Inclusive Design Network, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und -forschung (DGTF)

  • 2013-present
    Council Member Design Research Society

Specialisation/Field of research

  • design thinking and doing tools for designers and non-designers
  • meaning in everyday system use (semantics, interaction, practices, usability, user experience)
  • health (ageing), mobility and ict in urban environments

Lectures/Coaches students on

  • Led Microsoft Design Research Expo participation of IDE TU Delft 2012.
  • 2009-2013 Co-ordinated the major design project, Exploring Interactions (100 students/10 tutors), in the Design for Interaction Master course. Development of workshops and a web-based presentation and documentation tool for the course.
  • 2009-2019 coordinator of MSc DfI course Research Methodology. Electives Prototyping for Interaction and Participation (PIP), Inclusive Design.
  • Gives lectures and modules for Bachelor and Design for Interaction Master students on user research, meaning in product use, exploration in design, stakeholder involvement (role playing, use of artefacts as communication tools)
  • Chairs and mentors graduation projects
  • Research project: EIT Climate KIC BTA project 2nd Skin (2015-2019). 

Involved in the research project(s):

Design for Usability: Methods & Tools – A Practitioner’s Guide

Jasper van Kuijk, Daan van Eijk, Chajoong Kim, et al.
ISBN: 9789461860774
Available online

Published in 2012

REIL - Projects and analyses of urban ecologies and mobilities

Stephan van Dijk, Sacha Silvester, Satish Beella, Stella Boess
Available online

Published in 2013

The Envisioning Use workshop

Stella Boess, Mieke van der Bijl-Brouwer, Christelle Harkema
ISBN: 978 90 5155 083 2
Available in pdf

Published in 2011

FACT: A guide to effective academic communication

Stella Boess, Lise Magnier
Available in pdf

Published in 2018