Design & Human Factors

The division of Design & Human Factors conducts research about the relationship between humans and technology in a wide sense, with the purpose of contributing to a more user-centered technology development. Physical, cognitive, affective and social aspects are all taken into account. The research is interdisciplinary and is based on behavioral science and design theory, ergonomics / human factors, and theories of complex socio-technical systems.


The research within the division Design & Human Factors is conducted within four research areas.

The research area of Technology Use and Adoption studies the conditions on which people accept and adopt new technological solutions. Knowledge about how technical products are being used and what they mean in people’s everyday lives is an important condition for product development. A basic concept is that the understanding of users and their usage is a good starting point for innovation. This research area focuses on achieving real understanding of the users’ needs and the demands they put on technical products and systems. Functional, social, emotional and aesthetic values are all taken into account.


The research area of 
Human - Machine Systems develops theories and methodology to analyze, design and evaluate the interaction between man and machine in the broadest sense; ranging from simple products to complex socio-technical systems. A certain focus lies on the safety-critical systems in medical technology and process industry (nuclear power plants). This research area includes e.g. physical and cognitive ergonomics, interaction, learning, risk assessment and 'resilience engineering'.


The research area of Sustainability and Everyday Life tries to answer questions such as “how can technical products and systems, through their content and design, motivate and support more sustainable behavior among people in areas such as waste management, energy and transport?” Sustainability cannot be achieved just through new technology; people need to change their behavior as well. This research area focuses on consumption and design theory and methodology with focus on design for sustainable behavior.


The research area of User Experience studies how people hear about, interprets and reacts to products and events. The focus lies on the user's perceptual experience and the symbolic aspects of products and product use. These factors have become increasingly crucial for many companies' ability to create unique deals. This research area includes design theory and methodology with focus on aesthetics, product semiotics and sensory.


Head of division:
Professor MariAnne Karlsson

Department staff

Published: Wed 19 Apr 2017. Modified: Tue 11 Jun 2019