master arbeit


Human data - a new material in the design process

Exploring data as Material in Design Processes

After the wealth of data and its influence on the life of the people is growing, is a positioning and confrontation of designers with the theme inevitable. Designer is at the forefront of new technological developments that can have a great impact on society. They are active in all areas. From consulting to implementation of data projects. Designers decide on Use data, shape it into concepts and visualize it into User interfaces. Designers make the abstract tangible and manageable for people.

The aim of the work is to explore the relationship between human data as material for designers to handle in a part of the user-centered design processes.

Project Type
Masterthesis, (website)



By combining qualitative and qualitative methods, designers and their teams were asked about their current experiences with Personal Data. Based on the results, various artifacts were developed and a workshop format iteratively tested and developed with designers. The results of the research suited in the »Design Human Data Kit«. The kit will introduce Interaction (ux) designers to use of personal data. Based on the DIKW pyramid (Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom) the individual parts build on each other and should lead to wisdom in the last step to develop an attitude and decide. 

The Basics

The kit requires little prior knowledge. The »Data Material Book« provides access to basic information. Topics are covered from the definition of data within the kit, through the relationship between data and design, to concrete application in the project. In the first two chapters, the book deals with the basics of definition and the relationship between data and design. Looking into the future, the chapter »Data: Roles & Goals« describes new profiles of designers who have been equipped with knowledge and responsibilities from the data environment.


Cards for analysis and discussion

Building on the book, there are the »Personal Data Cards«, which serve as a tool for exploration and analysis. They summarize the different facets of working with personal data in three categories: »People«, »Security« and »Ethics«. Starting from the World Economic Forum's Personal Data Model, the category »People« describes individual personal data. Each map describes a data category and explains it with examples.


Privacy Model & Canvas to validate

To get a feeling for personal data, its value and its sensitivity, the »Human Data Space« was developed. Designers and their teams can independently classify the degree of sensitivity of the data they use. Designed from the outside in, the graph shows examples of the degree of sensitivity personal data can have and how people can govern on different levels of data based on studies.


Download Framework

Further information and all materials can be found on


Get in touch,

Thomas Otto is a User Experience Designer in Berlin, Germany. As an experienced designer he is working on digital projects in the fields of user research, interaction design and data strategy.