User Interface Engineering and Interaction Design

We look into possibilities to optimize user interface by implementing intelligent adaption mechanisms to adjust the interface and the application contents according to the user behavior. Different quantitative and qualitative methods are applied to measure the quality of the user experience in order to optimize the interaction with the system.

Model-based Interfaces

Model-based development and generation of UIs, employing, for instance, ontological domain models has been a longstanding field of research in the Interactive Systems group. Our work addresses both improved methods for developers as well as end-user development. One current development aims at enabling end-users to define semantic widgets that are used create personal front-ends for semantic data. Another area of interest is end-user programming of games. All of our developments follow a user-centered approach, closely intertwining technical developments with cognitive task analyses, empirical user studies and specialized analyses such as eye-tracking studies.


Tangible User Interfaces

Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) allow the direct and seamless interaction with digital information. Interaction with TUIs is considered as reaching beyond traditional abstract mouse and keyboard interactions and is thus also called post-WIMP (“windows, icons, menus, pointer”). At the Interactive Systems group, we are interested in creating innovative new TUIs that, for instance, combine modern Augmented Reality techniques with graspable objects such as sandboxes or wine bottle shelves.


User Experience Research

User experience (UX) describes how a person perceives and responds to interaction with a system, highlighting the subjective, psychological nature of the phenomenon and focusing on the interaction process. Our research group applies different quantitative and qualitative methods to measure user experience and to identify usability issues within interactive systems. The group uses a combination of reliable, field tested questionnaires in combination with user-tests based physiological measurements (e.g. eye-tracking).


User Interface Engineering

The inclusion of end users in the development of user interfaces adds valuable feedback and insights. One of our main goals is to allow the participation of end users in the user interface engineering process. Participation can be achieved on different levels. Model-based development and generation of UIs with a particular focus on non-technical users have long been of major research interest within the group. In addition, user centric development techniques are taken into account whenever interfaces with a certain target group are designed.



Werner Gaulke


Timo Stegemann


Benedikt Loepp


Johannes Kunkel


Jesús Álvarez


Kaveh Bakhtiyari

External PhD Student

Catalin-Mihai Barbu


Helma Torkamaan


Sidra Naveed

External PhD Student

Related publications

Sensor-based and tangible interaction with a TV community platform for seniors

Herrmanny, K., Gözüyasli, L., Deja, D., & Ziegler, J. (2015). In Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems (EICS ’15) (pp. 180–189). New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Using profiled ontologies to leverage model driven user interface generation

Gaulke, W., & Ziegler, J. (2015). In J. Ziegler, M. Nebeling, & N. Laurence (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems (EICS ’15). New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Generating Route Instructions with Varying Levels of Detail

Ziegler, J., Hussein, T., Münter, D., Hofmann, J., & Linder, T. (2011). In 3rd International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications (AutomotiveUI 2011).

Getting at the Cognitive Complexity of Linguistic Metadata Annotation: A Pilot Study Using Eye-Tracking

Lohmann, S., Tomanek, K., Ziegler, J., & Hahn, U. (2010). In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2010). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Wahrnehmung und Akzeptanz von systemgenerierten Produktempfehlungen

Hussein, T., Gaulke, W., Hartmann, A., & Ziegler, J. (2010). In J. Ziegler & A. Schmidt (Eds.), Mensch & Computer 2010 (1st ed.). München: Oldenbourg.

Comparison of Tag Cloud Layouts: Task-Related Performance and Visual Exploration

Lohmann, S., Ziegler, J., & Tetzlaff, L. (2009). In T. Gross, J. Gulliksen, P. Kotzé, L. Oestreicher, P. Palanque, O. R. Prates, & M. Winkler (Eds.), Human-Computer Interaction - INTERACT 2009. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Trust-Related Effects of Expertise and Similarity Cues in Human-Generated Recommendations

Kunkel, J., Donkers, T., Barbu, C.-M., & Ziegler, J. (2018). In 2nd Workshop on Theory-Informed User Modeling for Tailoring and Personalizing Interfaces (HUMANIZE), 11 March 2018, Tokyo, Japan.

Towards a Design Space for Personalizing the Presentation of Recommendations

Barbu, C.-M., & Ziegler, J. (2017). In L. Boratto, S. Carta, & G. Fenu (Eds.), EnCHIReS 2017: Engineering Computer-Human Interaction in Recommender Systems : Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Engineering Computer-Human Interaction in Recommender Systems co-located with the 9th ACM SIGCHI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems (EICS 2017) (Vol. 1945, pp. 10–17).

Eine Sandbox zur physisch-virtuellen Exploration von Ausgrabungsstätten

Biefang, K., Kunkel, J., Loepp, B., & Ziegler, J. (2017). In Mensch und Computer 2017 – Workshopband. Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.

Co-Staying: a Social Network for Increasing the Trustworthiness of Hotel Recommendations

Barbu, C.-M., & Ziegler, J. (2017). In J. Neidhardt, D. Fesenmaier, T. Kuflik, & W. Wörndl (Eds.), RecTour 2017: 2nd Workshop on Recommenders in Tourism : Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Recommenders in Tourism co-located with 11th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys 2017) Como, Italy, August 27, 2017 (Vol. 1906, pp. 35–39).


Related projects


Exploring techniques for semantic representation and management of product data


Investigating methods to automatically improve dialogue-based product recommenders


Novel approaches for Web Information and Service Engineering


Adaptive recommendations to support cooperative learning

colognE-mobil II

Exploring the multifarious facets of e-mobility, with a focus on smart navigation solutions


Developing and evaluating a concept for professional training


Developing a dynamic platform for enterprises to take up eco-innovation results from EU-funded research


Exploring the multifarious facets of electromobility


Enabling small to medium enterprises to facilitate advisors within their systems to improve customer experience and conversion


End user oriented distributed requirements engineering for evolutionary development processes

Related developments

Archaeological Sandbox

A Tangible User Interface that uses a box filled with sand for exploring digging sites

Hybreed Framework

Programming toolkit for complex, context-aware recommenders