Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

The Fundamentals of Human-Centred Digital Health Applications (Sommersemester 2022)

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

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 4
  • ECTS: 6
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 01.04.2022 - 30.04.2022
  • Prüfungszeitpunkt §9 (4) BAMA-O: 30.09.2022
  • Lehrform: Seminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 15

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

Digital Health MA



The seminar will take place from September 12th to 30th in which the lecture period is from September 19th to September 23rd.

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

Students can register for the first time in April, but registrations will still be possible by August 15th if there are free places.

Please note that since we can only offer six 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 enquire directly with me for ‘late’ registration.

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

Course content

Participants will learn how to use conceptual elements and techniques of Human-Centred Design/Design Thinking to explore individual’s needs and contextual state to inform the creation of design interventions for digital health mobile apps. Furthermore, we will discuss what is the structure of an intervention by looking at its anatomy. As theoretical foundation, participants will learn about how concepts of Nudge Theory 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-centred 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:

  • Comprehend how to use concepts and techniques of Human-Centred Design/Design Thinking for identifying needs and translate them into interventions
  • Understand the anatomy of a health intervention in the context of just-in-time user-centred digital health applications
  • Draw on user research techniques for designing just-in-time nudge interventions and identify decision points for digital health apps
  • Experience how collaborative reflections for creativity-driven engineering projects are performed.


There are no prerequisites for attending this class.


Grading: Group presentation and final outcome (50%), group report (25%),
and individual oral examination (25%)



The  lecture period will take place from September 19th to 23rd 2022.  During that week, participants will learn how to use theoretical concepts of human-centred design to identify needs and intentions in order to modify the choice environment of the user to influence their behaviour towards the intended goal. At the end of the week, participants are expected to present their project outcome. The program is planned to consist of 80h in total that includes lectures, individual and group work.

During the week before (12.09 - 16.09), we will have our introductory class when we will discuss the preliminary project work. A commitment time of 10h during that week is expected.

During the week after (26.09 - 30.09), students are expected to submit a written report and participate in an individual oral examination. For the report (approx. 5-10 pages, details will be given in the course), participants are expected to critically analyse their outcomes and learning and contribute to knowledge with a piece of writing. The oral examination will be individual and participants are expected to critically answer questions about the concepts discussed during the lecture week.  A commitment time of 30h during that week is expected.

Important Dates:

15.08.2022 - Late registration deadline
12.09.2022 - Introductory Class
12.09 - 16.09.2022 - Preliminary project work
19.09 - 23.09.2022 - Lecture period
23.09.2022 - Project presentation
26.09 - 30.09 - Report and Oral Examination preparation
30.09 - Report submission and Oral examination

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