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Joint effort to improve user experience

Users taking part in a workshop. These school pupils are testing a "multitouch game" developed by Magnus Horven, a master student at the University of Oslo. Photo: Magnes Horven, UiO
SINTEF and the University of Oslo are joining forces to establish a strong, and highly visible, centre of expertise that will help to focus even more sharply on user experience as the ICT systems of the future emerge.

The background is that we live in the “Age of Experiences” – an epoch in which users’ experiences of technologies and services are becoming ever more important, not least in economic terms. 

SINTEF and the University of Oslo will open their new joint “User Experience" centre on Wednesday September 19. 

The groups behind the Centre will demonstrate what they are working on and present their latest research on user experience.  

"Gemini Centre"

The Centre will be a “Gemini Centre” similar to those already established by SINTEF and NTNU. SINTEF ICT and the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo form the backbone of the new centre.

SINTEF ICT  has been working on Usability and User Experience (UX) since 1992, and the latter field is one of its areas of special effort.  SINTEF’s research group in this field has focused on evaluating user experience, and has set up a “user studies” laboratory. The group also operates an online “Living Lab”, and is a member of the European Network of Living Labs.

The Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo  has been working in the field of participatory design of ICT systems since the eighties. The group has focused on methods for application-oriented design, an area that includes the evaluation of functionality and form in context, while its laboratory is used for participatory design workshops and experimental designs, with users occupying realistic settings.

The "Gemini" concept
is a model that aims to develop strategic cooperation between parallel research groups at SINTEF, NTNU and the University of Oslo.

The Centre will work on:

  • User Experience (UX)
  • Participatory Design and Co-design in all phases of the design process
  • Methods and tools for evaluating user experience
  • Methods and tools for the design of ICT services and products
  • Methods and theory for understanding uses and user behaviour, including user experience
  • Modelling user behaviour and user experience
  • User modelling and user profiles
  • Computer-supported cooperative working
  • Social media
  • New forms of man-technology interaction, including 3D, tangible interaction, haptic interfaces, multi-touch surfaces, embedded systems with movement control (sensors and actuators), and movements as inputs and outputs.

The research groups involved can boast of a wide range of expertise, and the Gemini Centre will enable them to complement one another’s fields of knowledge. Via joint studies and joint supervision of MSc and PhD students, the Centre will cover the whole spectrum of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, and its results will be of benefit to both researchers and IT professionals.