Interactive systems

Profile description and modules


The development and analysis of interactive computer systems encompasses their design and programming as well as user-centred analysis and evaluation. In different courses, you will learn more about these topics and how they contribute to the design and implementation of interactive systems.



Requirements engineering; multimodal and multimedia interaction techniques; interaction design for high-resolution displays; new interaction paradigms and input devices; usability engineering

Focus areas

As a developer of interactive computer systems, you must be skilled in computer graphics and human-computer interaction.

You are familiar with ...

  • You are already familiar with the typical methods and techniques of the user-centred analysis and modelling of the contexts of use (requirements engineering) and can apply them independently.

  • You have learned the basics of interactive computer graphics in the form of hardware-centred programming and related techniques.

  • You are qualified to integrate the methods and techniques associated with the user-centred design of information systems (usability engineering) in software development (software engineering).

  • You are familiar with the basic principles, methods, and tools required to design interactive, networked and mobile systems and are able to apply these independently in projects .

  • You are able to design and implement efficient display techniques including Level-of-Detail methods and information abstraction.

  • You know your way around multimodal and tangible interaction techniques and are able to realise them independently (e.g. for tabletops like the MS Surface or smartphones like the Apple iPhone).

  • You are able to conceptually design and realise your own interaction techniques for the visualisation and exploration of large information spaces (e.g. WWW, digital libraries, product databases).

  • You are familiar with the typical methods for the user-centred evaluation of information systems and usability situations (also with respect to international standard regulations like ISO 29241) and you are able to put these into action (e.g. in a usability laboratory).
  • You have become acquainted with contributions from other disciplines involved in the design of information systems, for example communication design, psychology, sociology, organisational, work and economic studies, cultural and media studies, law and administrative science.

Career prospects

As a graduate with a master's degree specialising in interactive systems, the following career options or professional fields are open to you:

You could work here ...

  • You could work in the user experience group of a major manufacturer of mobile phones (e.g. Apple, Nokia, Samsung) or provider of telecommunications services (e.g. T-Mobile, Vodafone) and develop user interfaces that meet international requirements.

  • You could work as a usability engineer or computer graphics expert at a major software firm (e.g. SAP) and be responsible for the development of cross-platform interaction concepts (from mobile phones, PDAs to the computer).

  • You could work as an interaction designer at a company that specialises in usability engineering (e.g. UI Design) and provide consultant services in this position for other companies developing interactive applications.

  • You could work as a computer-game developer in a computer game company (e.g. Crytec, Electronic Arts).

  • You could work as a usability specialist at an internet agency (e.g. argonauten 360, GFT) and carry out usability studies for websites.

  • You could create new interaction concepts in the field of telematics (e.g. driver information systems) for a major car manufacturer (e.g. Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, VW, Audi, BMW).

  • As a member of a usability engineering team, you could develop a style guide and design the user interface for the internet portal of a major bank (e.g. UBS).

  • You could work in the user interfaces department of an international corporation (e.g. Siemens) and provide consultant services and support to a variety of specialist departments, helping them realise interactive applications for a diverse range of fields of application (e.g. telematics, medical applications, control systems at power stations, production control systems).
  • You could work at a university or industrial research unit such as Microsoft Research or Google Research researching into new interaction and navigation concepts for the next generation of user interfaces.


Compulsory and elective advanced courses

Advanced courses offered by the Department of Computer and Information Science:

Current course information on compulsory and elective advanced courses.

The final stages of your degree

Master's seminar

We strongly recommended that you attend the master's seminar only if you have sucessfully completed all (or nearly all) other required advanced courses. Possible seminar topics could be:

  • "Integrative Workplace - Sense-making on Digital Tabletops employing Reality-based Interaction"
  • "Supporting methodic design practices with interactive organization and visualization of design artifacts"

Master's project

The master's project allows you to solve a complex human-computer interaction problem. You can choose between two general options:

  • A design-oriented project which covers the conceptual design and the implementation of a novel interaction concept. Your concepts, e.g. scenarios, personas, sketches, story boards and their implementation, are documented in the written project report.
  • An evaluation-oriented project for which you will conduct a comprehensive evaluation study. The subject matter of the evaluation, the chosen evaluation setting, and the implementation (including a pilot study) are documented in the written project report.

Previous project topics include:

  • "Integrative Workplace - Sense-making on Digital Tabletops employing Reality-based Interaction"
  • "Supporting methodic design practices with interactive organization and visualization of design artifacts" 

Master's thesis

  • If you opt for a design-oriented master's thesis, you will conduct a usabililty test (with approx. 6-8 users) or a case study (with approx. 2-4 users) in which the implemented design concept is evaluated. The insights you gain and their implications form the second major focus of the thesis. What sets the master's thesis apart from your bachelor's thesis is that you will derive a redesign proposal and partially realise it.
  • An evaluation-oriented master's thesis focuses on the presentation and interpretation of the evaluation results. The implications of your evaluation have to be presented in detail (e.g. redesign proposals, new evaluation setting, new research question). The conclusions you draw may thus lead to further evlaluations using a different methodological approach and/or further research questions.

Detailed information about the structure of this specialisation is available here.

Research groups involved

Professor Harald Reiterer, AG Human-Computer Interaction

Professor Oliver Deussen, AG Computer Graphics and Media Design

Junior Professor Bela Gipp, AG Information Science

Area of application

Today, software is developed for many interactive devices ranging from smartphones, tablet-PCs, tabletops, ticket machines, navigation systems, driver information systems to the classic computer workstation (PC). Along with the continually shrinking size of displays, large, high-resolution displays play an increasingly important role in the automotive industry, the world of finance and the entertainment industry. For both types of interfaces, efficient graphics programming and usability are becoming significant factors of success.

HCI@Konstanz Youtube Channel

HCI projects

Click here to get detailed information about past and present research projects carried out by the human-computer interaction group of the University of Konstanz.

Student projects

Click here to learn about past student projects of the University of Konstanz's human-computer interaction group.

Contact persons and mentor recommendations:

Professor Harald Reiterer, AG Human-Computer Interaction

Professor Oliver Deussen, AG Computer Graphics and Media Design

pending, AG Information Science