Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

The Fundamentals of Human-Centred Digital Health Applications (Sommersemester 2024)

Lecturer: Dr. Danielly De Paula (Design Thinking and Innovation Research)

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 4
  • Credits: 6
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.04.2024 - 30.04.2024
  • Teaching Form: Seminar
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Course Language: English

Programs, Module Groups & Modules

Digital Health MA
Software Systems Engineering MA
  • SSYS: Software Systems
    • HPI-SSYS-C Concepts and Methods
  • SSYS: Software Systems
    • HPI-SSYS-T Technologies and Tools
  • SSYS: Software Systems
    • HPI-SSYS-S Specialization
  • OISY: Online and Interactive Systems
    • HPI-OISY-C Concepts and Methods
  • OISY: Online and Interactive Systems
    • HPI-OISY-T Technologies and Tools
  • OISY: Online and Interactive Systems
    • HPI-OISY-S Specialization
  • DSYS: Data-Driven Systems
    • HPI-DSYS-C Concepts and Methods
  • DSYS: Data-Driven Systems
    • HPI-DSYS-T Technologies and Tools
  • DSYS: Data-Driven Systems
    • HPI-DSYS-S Specialization
Data Engineering MA


The seminar will take place from September 2nd until 20th, in which the lecture period is from September 9-20.

The Fundamentals of Human-Centered Digital Health Applications is a block seminar in September covering theoretical inputs and practical applications on designing interventions for digital health applications. Participants will gain insights into how to apply user research techniques to conceptually design interventions for digital health apps.

Students can register for the first time in April, but registrations will still be possible by August 4th if there are free places.

Please note that since we can only offer 15 places in this class, participants are asked to send to Dr. Danielly de Paula (danielly.depaula(at)hpi.de) their CV and a short motivational statement explaining why they want to take this class. The first round of decisions will be taken in alignment with the official HPI registration deadline. If there are spots left, a second round of decisions will happen in alignment with the late registration deadline. Please inquire directly with me about ‘late’ registration.

Course content

Participants will learn how to use user research techniques to explore individual’s needs and contextual state, which will then inform the design of interventions for digital health. From a method perspective, we will discuss how to combine design research with computational methods for a data-driven elicitation of user requirements for digital health. As a theoretical foundation, participants will learn how Design Theory and behavioral theories (e.g., Nudge) can support the creation of just-in-time interventions that provide the right type (or amount) of support, at the right time.

Additionally, a core component of learning how to develop user-centered solutions is to perform collaborative reflections due to the ambiguous nature of creative work. Therefore, participants will be exposed to concepts of reflection-in-action (i.e., where assumptions and alternatives are evaluated during  the  action)  and  reflection-on-action (i.e.,  the retrospective  analysis of actions and their effects).

Learning objectives:

  1. Comprehend how to combine design research and computational methods for data-driven elicitation of user requirements for digital health applications.
  2. Understand the anatomy of a health intervention in the context of just-in-time digital health applications.
  3. Learn how design theories and behavioral theories can inform the design of digital health interventions.  
  4. Conduct fieldwork and apply user research techniques to address a healthcare challenge that is relevant to society.
  5. Experience how collaborative reflections for creativity-driven engineering projects are performed.


The  lecture period will take place from 9-20 September.  Throughout both weeks, participants will work on a challenge intending to learn how to use social science approaches and computational methods to identify needs, beliefs, and motivations and translate them into health interventions. At the end of the second week, participants are expected to present their project outcomes a submit a short paper. A commitment time of 35h per week is expected. We will meet in person from 9 am to 4 pm. 

During the week before (2-6 September), we will have our introductory class when we will discuss the preliminary project work. The introductory class will take place in person on September 2 from 9:30 am - 11:30 am. The remainder of the week is self-organized group work. A commitment time of 10h during that week is expected.

The program is planned to consist of 80h in total, which includes lectures, individual, and group work.

Where to get additional information? Please contact Dr Danielly de Paula (danielly.depaula(at)hpi.de)


There are no prerequisites for attending this class.


Grading: Group presentation (50%), Group Short Paper (25%),
and Individual Presentation (25%)


Block in September