PRAXLABS: Creating innovative technologies in practice


Corinna Ogonowski

University of Siegen

Institute of Information Systems

Kohlbettstr. 15

57068 Siegen, Germany


Phone: +49 271 740 3265

Fax: +49 271 1740 3265



PRAXLABS are a network of excellence with an open and integrative test bed for exploring and developing new technologies in practice. They have been launched in the area of Siegen-Wittgenstein and Dortmund, Germany in the end of 2009. PRAXLABS consist of different infrastructures, which offer real-world environments as well as controlled lab-settings to design and evaluate new ICT-concepts. The main focus is on user participation and co-creation processes where several stakeholders are involved.


Since 2009 there have been PRAXLABS as network of research and excellence in the wider area of Siegen-Wittgenstein and Dortmund, Germany. They are composed of a network of regional research, industry and application partners, and of different settings - for instance domestic environments and public places where everyday life is encountered, virtual communities or working environments. Researchers, industrial companies, public institutions and users/consumers can participate and collaborate in these settings.

Our research and development is considered as a close symbiosis between the defined field of application and the different groups of stakeholders. The participatory inclusion of users adopts a special focus in this context. Appropriate to the demand of the research project, we involve interested users who can participate actively in the different development and design stages. Right now, over 100 users of our steadily growing panel are participating in current research projects.

The cultivation of these contacts allows us to embed the growing technology into recognizable methods, which can be empirically evaluated and improved. Through this cooperation, we are able to offer our users the opportunity to participate actively in the design process with the intention of developing new solutions. Arising concepts of this method as well as early prototypes can be investigated in long-term evaluations in the field. In addition, they also can be discussed, tested and developed in a lab setting at the university. The iterative research and development process is widened by the early exploration of the appropriation and usage behavior in the actual application field. The advantage of this step is that the integration of ICT solutions into everyday life will uncover context-specific problems or unintended usage faster. The information gained can be inserted immediately into improving users’ acceptance as well as improving usability and the further development of ICT solutions.


Both PRAXLABS infrastructure and the connected collaboration approach with its strong focus on users are incorporated in our research activities and essentially support the different stages of the development and design cycle.

This leads to an improvement of the following aspects:

Context understanding

  • Improved comprehension of the context and applied technology in use
  • Identification of habitual use and behavior patterns
  • Improved identification of application gaps and needs
  • Figuring out future usage practices and trends
  • Building of trust relationships between users, developers, designers and researchers

Concept development

  • Creating ideas, developing new concepts and improving concept ideas in the discourse between users, developers, designers and researchers
  • Activating users to generate ideas and as a source of innovation

Prototypical development

  • Improved technology development and quality enhancement through iterative development and evaluation stages in the interaction with users under controlled circumstances and in everyday life
  • Early analysis of functionalities and acceptance as well as identification of problems

Evaluation in the field

  • Early identification of usage problems in everyday life (privat and work context)
  • Providing ideas and suggestions for improvements through in-situ feedback
  • Long-term evaluation on the appropriateness of new applications and technologies
  • Minimizing the acceptance risk in future marketing implementation
  • Identification of future usage trends

Methods and Tools

Within iterative development and design processes in the Living Lab, different methods and tools can be applied (Further info in the Living Lab brochure).

Living Lab Projects

Our research activities comprise current ICT and HCI topics in the following areas:

  • Ageing Society and AAL
  • Social Integration
  • Entertainment and Social Media
  • Internet of Things and Industry 4.0
  • Energy Management and Sustainability
  • Crisis Management
  • IT Security

For a more detailed overview and further information, please visit our website.

References and Track Record

The PRAXLABS Team consists of researchers from different disciplines and comprises expertise from four research groups:

  • Prof. Dr. Volker Wulf, University of Siegen, Information Systems and New Media
  • Prof. Dr. Volkmar Pipek, University of Siegen, Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media
  • Prof. Dr. Claudia Müller, University of Siegen, Information Systems and IT for the Aging Society
  • Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Business Administration and Information Systems

For references about our Living Lab projects and further activities, please visit our website.