Dr. Ozcan Vieira, E.

Elif Ozcan Vieira is Associate Professor of Sound-driven Design and Research at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Academic Background

As an Associate Professor at the TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, I teach and do research on `form and experience-driven' and `sound-driven' design. My academic career started at the TU Delft as well, with doing a PhD study on products sounds (`Product sounds: Fundamentals and application'). With this study, I am the first to establish a comprehensive theory about product sounds based on empirical evidence.

Sound design has always fascinated me, regarding my background as a sound designer for a popular radio station (Radyo ODTU) in Ankara, Turkey, and as an interaction designer for Novo Design Group in Lisbon, Portugal. Industrial Design got my interest in the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, where I received my degree in Industrial Design. Due to this whole journey in several countries, I speak Turkish, English and Portuguese. 

Currently, I am concerned about sound-driven design and research in the fields of mobility, space operations and healthcare. Thereby, I am the director of the Critical Alarms Lab (CAL), which is a new initiative of the TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. CAL aims to shape the future of product-user interactions in complex environments through audible, visual and haptic information design. The lab is a flexible consortium of individuals, institutes and companies, and it offers multiple opportunities for student participation. 

When I have free time from my research activities, I like to take photos, jog and play tennis and to spend time with my husband and three lovely daughters. As a matter of fact, this explains my occupation as a sounding board member of <link en about-tu-delft strategy diversity-policy dewis _top>DEWIS (the women's network of the TU Delft) as well: I am an advocate for women in science.

View the episode 'Changing the Aesthetics of Sound' in the IDE 'Out of the Blue' podcast series


  • 2008
    PhD in Product Sounds, Delft University of Technology
  • 1999
    BID in Industrial Design, Middle East Technical University


  • 2017 – Present
    Research Fellow (part-time), Erasmus MC
  • 2007 – Present
    Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology
  • 2002 – 2007
    PhD Researcher, Delft University of Technology
  • 1996 – 2002
    Sound Designer, Radyo ODTU (Ankara, TR)
    Interaction Designer, Novo Design Group (Lisbon, PT)

Field of Research / Specialisation

My fundamental research concerns understanding the mental processes underlying perception and cognition of product-relevant sounds. One of my challenges is to apply theory and empirical research in design processes and in product solutions. Currently, I have been investigating how people respond to audible alarms and how design can fight against alarm fatigue caused by excessive amount of non-actionable alarms in the fields of mobility, space operations and healthcare. Several of these sound-driven design and research projects  can be found on Critical Alarms Lab's project page.

In a nutshell, my main research interests include:

  • Future alarm solutions for critical contexts;
  • information design in Intensive Care Units;
  • and preventing alarm fatigue and patient delirium.

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

I teach the theory and practice of both `form and experience-driven' and `sound-driven' design on a Bachelor and Master level (see below). In addition to lecturing and coaching in courses, I am involved in education mainly by being a mentor of a varying number of Master's graduates and PhD candidates. More information on a couple of these projects are on Critical Alarms Lab's project page. 

Bachelor degree

Form and Experience (coordinator)
A brand new course on the psychological effects of product form studies from theoretical as well as practical angles. Form X is a large first year course (7,5 ECTS) that runs on Quarter 2 with 350 students, 13 design studios and coaches and 9 lecturers. In the first half, students exercise form design methodology with topics on product aesthetics and meaning and hand on design activities. In the second half, students practice their skills and knowledge on `designing a product for experience'. 

Master degree

Advanced Embodiment Design/ MSc Integrated Product Design (coordinator)
AED is a major course (21 ECTS) run for the Integrated Product Design masters in the first year (spring semester) with 150 students. AED has five expert areas (ergonomics, electronics, sustainability, user experience and design methods) that contribute to the embodiment of product concepts with a major project. My part with Product Experience is to ensure that students consider the human faculties regarding aesthetic pleasure, attribution of meaning and emotional reactions towards products. In this course, form is one the major drivers as students 'embody' high-tech concepts and prototype them. Finally, students run an experience measurement study to validate their design decisions on product form and its effect on product experience.

Product Understanding, Use and Experience / MSc Design for Interaction (lecturer)
In PUUE students get a theoretical account of design decisions. I have been a lecturer on Product Identity and Expression since 2008. 

Context and Conceptualisation / MSc Design for Interaction & MSc Strategic Product Design (coach)
Every year I study a research question with 10 - 15 students who specifically choose a topic of their interest. Recently, I have been studying product ambiguity, multimodal alarms for healthcare, history and future of intensive care units. 

Secondary employment

As a part-time researcher at the Adult Intensive Care Department and creator of 'The Silent ICU' project, I aim to look into the future settings of Intensive Care Units through design. Research interests include the effects of audible alarms on patient delirium and clinician alarm fatigue.

Involved in the project(s):