Student Project

14. January 2020

This an archive of some of the projects I did while studying Interaction Design at HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd between 2013 and 2017. During my studies I also did internships at Smart Design [London, 2015], and precious design studio [Hamburg, 2016].

I always think it’s a bit sad when people take down their old portfolios with projects they did years ago. They may not be representative of your current skills anymore, but we all develop and grow — isn’t that amazing? Because of this I decided to leave my old projects that I worked on between 2013 and 2017 online as an archive.

This page is an overview, each project has a link either to a designated website or a detailed case study on my old portfolio.

Artifacts (2017)

Artifacts was my bachelor’s thesis and it is the project that I am most proud of. Artifacts improves the way how people create, evaluate and evolve ideas and theories. Our initial question was: What if a digital system was designed from the ground up to support the process of nurturing ideas? To answer this we came up with Design Values Behavior over Process, Emergence over Structure, Privacy over Openness, Collaboration over Solitude, Proactive over Reactive and Design Goals and then reimagined what an operating system centered around human thought would look like. The project is too comprehensive to be described in a few sentences so you should probably check out the project website.

Find out more

On the project website,, we show videos from our prototypes and document all the features of Artifacts. If you are interested in an in-depth documentation you might want to take a look at our full thesis PDF, 16.1 MB, 192 Pages.

The Future of Information (2017)

In this project we tried to come up with how the hyper-individualization of media could be used in positive ways, rather than just horror-stories of weaponized filter-bubbles. What I like about this project is that while many projects like this feel like they are trying very hard to be controversial, we very consciously decided not to. The dangers are abundantly clear and are (luckily!) being thoroughly discussed elsewhere, but it is hard to find honest attempts to come up with positive future scenarios, that are not technocratic, but human-centered.

Find out more

You can find out more about the project plus try some prototypes on the dedicated website we created:

Tab Sort — Improving Tabs in Firefox (2016)

During a three day workshop with the Firefox Design Team, we developed concepts to improve tab management in Firefox. Being mentored by the Firefox Design Team was awesome. They told us about their design process and user research strategy and helped us understand what designing for 250 millions users is like If you solve a problem for just 1% of their users that is still impacting 2.5 million people! 🤯.

Find out more

We published an article about our project on Medium: Tab Sort — Improving Tabs in Firefox.

Generative Notification Sounds for Your Close Friends (2014)

For one project we designed an app that would serve as an intimate social network, anticipating the trend towards private social messaging that has recently gained traction. The goal was to allow you to feel comfortable sharing personal information, because only your closest friends would see it. We tried to find ways to replicate friendship rituals in virtual contexts — friends could only be added by holding your phones together as a group — and thought about how a social network might change once you only use it with people you trust — your friends could always see an indicator of your approximate location, relative to theirs. Unfortunately we abandoned the project, something I regret now.

However one part of the project is still available: We created a tool that creates a personalized notification sound, based on a phone number. The idea was that when you used this app with just a few close friends you would quickly learn to recognize the specific sound of each person, and subsequently know who messaged you without looking at your phone. Based on the digits of the phone number a chord is picked, pitched and slightly rhythmized. The result is a short, but clearly distinctive notification sound.

Find out more

You can actually try the notification sound tool yourself: Generative Ringtone Creator (It seems to work only in Chrome). The code is open sourced on GitHub — the readme also contains a more detailed explanation of how the sound is generated.

OPMS (2014)

OPMS is an interface for managing a hospital’s surgery department. The part of this project that I tell people the most about, even years later, was the user research phase: We visited the university clinic in Tübingen and spent two days with the surgery management team. It was an eye-opening experience! Following around non-technical but extremely proficient users in a high-risk high-pressure environment changed the way I think about designing complex systems.

Find out more

You can read more about our process and look at some videos of our prototype in the detailed case study.

Cousteau (2014)

Cousteau is an interactive installation about the deep sea. The app is targeted at primary-school pupils and can be set up in a museum as well as at home.

Our goal was to create an immersive environment while being minimally disruptive. The solution was to use a dual screen setup, where a larger screen is representing the view through the porthole of a submarine and an iPad is used as its remote control. Navigation worked by tilting the iPad, while its screen displayed additional information about what could be seen through the porthole at the given moment. We worked with different levels of information density, trying to create an interface tailored to the needs of both children and adults. We therefore enabled them to experience the installation together and share their observations with each other, prompting conversations.

The most rewarding moment came when we displayed the working prototype we built at the university’s exhibition. We could watch people interact with it and children as young as three years old navigate the submarine and watching the porthole excitedly.

Find out more

You can read more about our process and click through some of our screens in the detailed case study.

HfGuide (2015)

HfGuide is an app that enhances its users’ experience at an exhibition. With this project we wanted to shape how users interact with their environment by bridging the gap between digital and physical. The project was using low-energy bluetooth beacons to unlock information in the app while the users walked through the exhibition. For us the most important goal was to be respectful of the context that the interactions were happening in: we wanted our technology to facilitate social interaction and conscious perception, not inhibit it. Because of this we put a lot of effort into prototyping with actual beacons This meant building the entire prototype as a native app written in Swift! so that we could fine-tune the timing and choreography of all interactions. One of the concepts that we came up with was only triggering virtual interactions after a person left a certain space, never when they entered it.

Looking back at the project now I think that this is still one of the fundamental challenges we face as designers of digital products. Creating products that are considerate of their context and allow for mindful interaction is the most ambitious goal that we should strive for.

Find out more

You can read more about our process and click through a video of our prototypes in the detailed case study.

SWARM (2014)

SWARM is a motion-controlled mini-game about fireflies. We completely designed and developed it within one week, putting our focus on creating an atmospheric gameplay. It was a really fun project, on the one hand because I learned a lot about programming (we worked with particle systems, swarm-intelligence and collision control) The game was written in Processing.. On the other hand the interaction part was interesting, because the game’s interface is entirely based on gestures made in mid-air. It was tough to find the right balance between having accurate control and being robust enough to deal with imprecise gestures.

Find out more

You can watch a video of the game in action in the detailed case study.

Money (2015)

Money is a mobile and desktop app for private finance management. This is a pretty straightforward app design project. We tried to find a balance between relying on common app patterns and developing a strong brand, through both visuals and interactions. Looking at the project now I think we went overboard with the visual style. We wanted to convey a sense of trustworthiness and probably the right way to go would have been to build much more on native components. I do however still miss the kind of actually insightful data visualizations we came up with when I use current banking apps For the project I tracked my own spending for a month — including every cash transaction. We developed the visualizations based on this real data and I actually learned a few things about my spending habits from them..

Find out more

You can read more about our process and click through a video of our prototypes in the detailed case study.

Feet (2015)

Feet is an experimental study on foot-based interaction concepts. The most important thing I learned from this project is how powerful scrappy prototyping can be: We wanted to track a foot but there was only hand-tracking technology available. So we literally cut out a hand shape from cardboard and stuck it on our feet. And guess what — it worked like a charm! So well in fact, that in the end we replaced it with a wooden hand and used it throughout the entire project.

Find out more

You can read more about our process in the case study. We also published two medium articles: Part 1, Part 2.