Open Topics

Generally, I am also open to topics suggested by students, particularly in topics on HCI, Gender and Disability. Here are some topics, I am interested in tackling in the near future. If you are interested in conducting your thesis with me, send an email to katta.spiel[at] with a brief statement of what you would like to focus on and why.

Understandable Settings (Informatics/Human-Computer Interaction)

Reasonably complex systems often come with highly complex options for settings and individualisation. However, understanding what is possible, what is important to know and how to achieve one’s own goal is difficult for most people, but particularly some neurodivergent folks. This project, more broadly, looks into how settings management could be made accessible in different types of presentation and which ones are better understood by which populations.

This topic involves design, prototyping and evaluation. Bachelor theses might be concerned with only partial steps of this project.

Health Inter-Actions (Informatics/Human-Computer Interaction)

Intersex people face unique challenges when interacting with health providers and the overall system. Starting with no representation in reference data down to often having made traumatic experiences with a medical system that forces medicalisation of intersex condition on individuals. In this context, this thesis will conduct interviews with intersex people to understand the requirements for an online platform for peer support and exchange.

This topic involves interviews, development and testing. Bachelor theses might be concerned with only partial steps of this project.

Fat Chance! – How HCI deals with Body Images (Informatics/STS/Human-Computer Interaction)

Most bodies are depicted in a normative fashion in HCI literature. A thesis in this area would look at which imagery is used to relate to fat bodies and what this means jointly with a literature review on how fat bodies are discussed in technology research more generally and how this impacts the design of technologies that have fat users in mind. From this, we may derive designs that allow for (potentially more) equitable considerations of fat bodies in embodied computing technologies.

This topic involves lots of reading and analysis as well as some design work. It may also include prototyping if the student is interested in including this. Bachelor theses might be concerned with only partial steps of this project.

Uncomfortable Wearables (Informatics)

Body-worn technologies, also known as wearables, are often assumed to lead to comfort, increase convenience and be overall positive for the wearer. This is, however, not necessarily the case for disabled people. Drawing on cripping theories, this project would investigate the design and prototypical development of decisively uncomfortable wearables as a mode to critique the normative expectations and exclusionary effects of existing approaches.

This topic involves exploratory design and prototyping. Bachelor theses might be concerned with only partial steps of this project.

Old Topics (to give you some ideas)

Genderfair Language Plugin (Informatics)

Automated translation is everywhere, but often texts are translated using only binary gender models even if the original text was aiming at genderinclusive language. Similarly, many texts originally written in German fail to adequately use genderfair language. Students choosing this topic will develop a browser plugin that allows people to modify the displayed text according to a genderfair schema of their choice.

This topic involves programming (scripting) and testing. Bachelor theses might be concerned with only partial steps of this project.

Reverse Search for Sign Language Libraries (Informatics)

Digital libraries for signs in different sign languages usually allow for searching along distinct words or glosses. This is useful for people learning sign languages later in life, though less useful for signers learning an otherwise verbalised language such as English or German. Students choosing this topic will be involved in the need assessment, algorithmic development and UX implementation of a reverse search sign library for Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS). While at least basic proficiency in ÖGS is desirable, it is not strictly required. However, students are expected to have some familiarity with any kind of sign language.

This topic involves ethnography, prototype development and testing. Bachelor theses will only be concerned with partial steps of this project.