PhD student (f/m/d) in Human-Computer Interaction and Accessibility

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
January 24, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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Organizational unit

Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics (IAR)

Job description

The research group “Human-Computer Interaction and Accessibility” explores digital accessibility with focus on novel and assistive technologies that can be leveraged by disabled people and thereby contribute to quality of life. From a technical perspective, the research focus lies on interactive, sensor- based and wearable systems that are closely intertwined with users' bodies. Central to the research of the group is the question how such systems can be designed in a way that supports experiential accessibility – accessibility that strives for equitable experiences, extends beyond the removal of barriers, and seeks to provide positive and enriching user experiences.

Digital technology has the potential to support mobility of disabled people in different ways. This PhD project will examine such tools through the lens of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a theory of motivation, well-being, and psychological functioning. The goal is to leverage SDT to derive recommendations for system design, and validate them in the context of an existing project that leverages computer vision to facilitate navigation and orientation for people who are blind or have low vision. Thereby, we want to examine the potential of theory-driven development of assistive technology.

More concretely, the PhD research could entail the following aspects:

  • Examination of mobility needs of disabled people and their perspectives on the potential and limitations of technology through focus groups and interviews, framed through the lens of SDT
  • Compilation of design recommendations that are applied to experience prototypes for further examination in design workshops with disabled people
  • Application of refined recommendations in the context of an existing research project with focus on the design of the wearable device and digital user interface
  • Contribution to system evaluations in lab and field settings while maintaining lens of SDT
  • Starting date

    as soon as possible

    Personal qualification

    Suitable candidates will have previous experience and/or an interest in the following:

  • A background in Human-Computer Interaction or a related discipline. This should ideally entail basic programming skills in a language of your choice, an interest in designing system prototypes, and some experience in empirical work.
  • Willingness to engage with relevant theoretical frameworks and literature in critical disability studies, and to interrogate and examine your own positionality, biases, and experiences.
  • An interest in working with people, for example, in the context of design sessions, or as part of evaluation studies.
  • Working command of the English language. Knowing German is no firm requirement, but would be helpful when working with stakeholders not part of the university.
  • Showing kindness toward yourself, your colleagues, and the people involved in the research.
  • Salary

    Salary category EG 13, depending on the fulfillment of professional and personal requirements.

    Contract duration

    limited for four years

    Application up to

    December 31, 2022

    Contact person in line-management

    For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Kathrin Gerling, email:


    Please send your CV, a copy of your MSc transcripts (can be preliminary), a letter of motivation and names of two referees to:, subject: “PhD Application Self-determined Mobility”. Please send all documents in PDF format.

    vacancy number: 2310/2022

    We prefer to balance the number of employees (f/m/d). Therefore, we kindly ask female applicants to apply for this job.

    Recognized severely disabled persons will be preferred if they are equally qualified.

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