Human-Centered Design holds vital potential for addressing some of today’s most pressing global issues, such as climate change, health pandemics, and social inequality.
Understanding the human dimension is widely recognised as an essential capability in addressing these issues. However, traditional HCD approaches are not sufficiently tailored to address these complex and emerging challenges. In order to remain impactful, we therefore re-examine and expand upon the foundational HCD knowledge to better account for emerging technologies and evolving societal values.
This creates exciting scientific opportunities to develop a new body of knowledge and methodology, supporting a more holistic understanding of the relationships between humans, other living beings, technology, and the environment. We are broadening our scope towards systemic HCD approaches, a greater emphasis on co-creation and community involvement, a better understanding of non-human agency, and a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between design and the social, political, and economic contexts in which it operates. By advancing Human-Centered Design for the 21st century, we strive to maintain and nurture our position as a leader in the design field and ultimately aim to promote the development of positive human-technology relationships.
Our mission is to advance the field of Human-Centered Design (HCD) through the development of cutting-edge knowledge, research methods, and design approaches that empower design researchers, practitioners, and students to engage in systematic and ethical design research and practices. Our research agenda is guided by the commitment to foster responsible HCD that prioritises human needs, while also addressing broader societal and environmental impacts. We develop new HCD expertise required to improve people's lives not only in the short term but also in the long term by contributing to social progress, inclusivity, responsibility, equity, and sustainability – addressing the complex challenges affecting human well-being.
Our department is organised into four sections:
Design AestheticsThe staff of the Design Aesthetics section focuses on design, appearance and the way people perceive products. Design Aesthetics (DA) is interested in the appearance of products; the explanation and meaning of this appearance is studied mainly in terms of social and cultural factors.
Design Conceptualization and CommunicationThe Design Conceptualization and Communication (DCC) section focuses on developing methods and tools for understanding how products and services fit in people’s lives, in their full complexity. Thus helping designers understand the context of use for which they design and explore new possibilities of interaction.
Human Information Communication DesignThis section focuses on researching and facilitating human communication and interaction in an increasingly complex world where people, artifacts and technology merge. On one side, we study visual, auditory and multimodal processes; on the other side we investigate new forms of communication and interaction.
In addition to the central laboratories within the faculty, our department houses several research facilities, including experimental perceptual labs, simulated living environments for testing, and applied research and design labs, which cater to the diverse facets of our research.
Here are some examples of design projects that were developed within HCD-led Delft Design Labs.
Eye Can(t) See ArtFor her graduation project at TU Delft’s Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Josephine de Vries - together with the Chabot Museum in Rotterdam - designed ‘Eye Can (t) See Art’; a toolkit that helps visually impaired museum visitors accompanied by a sighted companion explore the artwork together.
Blind Mobile PaymentWhat is it like to use the mobile phone to pay at the supermarket as a person who is blind or has low vision? In her 2022 Master thesis, Yongqing Fei collaborated with experts with visual disabilities, identified the issues with them, and proposed and evaluated a new payment flow.
Co-design with kids – a toolkit for designersWhat is it like to use the mobile phone to pay at the supermarket as a person who is blind or has low vision? In her 2022 Master thesis, Yongqing Fei collaborated with experts with visual disabilities, identified the issues with them, and proposed and evaluated a new payment flow.
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