Logo CUO | Social Spaces

Centre for User Experience Research (CUO)

CUO | Social Spaces is a joint research group of KU Leuven, iMinds and MAD-faculty (KHLim, LUCA, PHL), consisting of the Centre for User Experience Research (CUO) (located in Leuven) and Social Spaces (located in Genk).

The Centre for User Experience Research (CUO) is a research group within the Institute for Media Studies (IMS) of the faculty of Social Sciences at the KU Leuven, and is part of iMinds.

CUO | Social Spaces' multidisciplinary team of 30 researchers and designers specializes in social design of interactive applications and artefacts. Our work is based on the principles of inclusion, participation, social interaction, sustainability, open design and experimentation. We research and design in the domains of Art & Culture, Future Health and Media & Entertainment. CUO | Social Spaces follows an iterative design process actively involving users and other stakeholders. We do this by participatory design, mapping the context, creating prototypes & artefacts and evaluating the user experience.

Visit the CUO | Social Spaces website for more information about our projects.


13/06 - Tangible, intuitive, interactive interface (TIII) event 24th June 2013

The TIII-team at Howest | Industrial Design Center, organizes an event on Tangible, intuitive, interactive interface (TIII) on June 24th, 2013 during “Week van het Ontwerpen”.

You can participate in several hands-on workshops and interactive demo sessions.

They find it very important for their user group to come together and talk about the future interfaces in an interdisciplinary team. By offering them a networking platform, they try to stimulate their partners to cooperate with each other and throw together their expertise to create new and wonderful things.

This event will offer their user group the latest insights in the world of TIII. During the workshops, participants will get the opportunity to actively learn more about the TIII philosophy. Topics that will be handled are Smart Textiles, gestures recognition, Makey Makey, and paper prototyping.

Afterwards they end this day with interactive demo sessions where participants will get the chance to ask questions about TIII created by students and companies

Because of the interdisciplinary character of TIII, they focus on a broad target group. Knowledge about this subject is not required in order to participate.


Registration is required! Go to www.howest.be/tiii to sign in.


Date: 24/06/2013

Location: Magdalenastraat 48 8500 Kortrijk 


06/05 - Workshop on participatory design for persons with impairments at Interact 2013

Are you interested in participatory design and do you work with users with impairments? We organize a workshop on participatory design for persons with cognitive or sensory impairments at Interact 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. This workshop will be held on Tuesday September 3rd.

Workshop on participatory design for users with impairments

Involving people with impairments in the design process is very challenging, especially when impairments affect cognitive functions or communication. People with such impairments may have substantial problems with thought processes and communication, including understanding abstractions, sequencing thoughts and actions, understanding symbols, and interpreting social cues. Many participatory design techniques are based on these processes and are therefore not usable, or need to be adjusted for people with impairments.

Workshop aims

This workshop aims to exchange experiences with participatory design techniques that were designed for, or adapted to people with impairments. Since many of these techniques are highly focused on specific target groups, a further aim is to extract general principles and to generate guidelines for involving users with impairments in the design process.

Who should attend?

Researchers and designers who have been involved in one or more design-oriented project(s) involving users with impairments are invited to participate. After this workshop, a call for papers will be launched for a special issue (on the topic of the workshop) of the journal CoDesign.

Important dates

  • May 15: application deadline
  • May 24: notification of acceptance
  • September 3: workshop date
  • September 4 to 6: Interact main conference

Further information & contact

Please visit our project website for the workshop’s programme and to apply for the workshop: http://interact2013impairmentsworkshop.wordpress.com/. For more information and questions, please contact Karin Slegers: karin.slegers@soc.kuleuven.be

We hope to see you in Cape Town in September!

23/10 - Kick-off Event CUO | Social Spaces on 27 November

As part of the integration of the KU Leuven and its university colleges, the Centre for User Experience Research (CUO, iMinds) and Social Spaces (MAD-Faculty) have merged into a joint research group called CUO | Social Spaces. In order to celebrate this new joint research group, we invite you to this first of two events on Tuesday 27 November in Leuven. A combination of interesting speakers and practical workshops will give you a glimpse of the topics our group is working on.

Registration is free but required via http://twikilist.com/CUO%7CSocialSpaces-27112012-LecturebyMarianneObrist

Detailed programme:

Welcome reception

Introduction by David Geerts

Keynote: Marianna Obrist
The Enigma of User Experiences:
How Memories Shape our Relationship with Technology

Interactive technologies have faded into our environment and have become an essential part of our everyday life (e.g., work, leisure, education, health, etc.). Our knowledge about how people really experience this invasion is still limited in order to steer design and development decisions. In particular the shift from pure usability towards user experience (UX) research challenges academia and industry practices. This talk will focus on the experiential aspects when interacting with technology, providing examples from different contexts and domains. In particular, the talk will bring to the fore the need for recognizing and exploring nuances of user experiences as a necessary step for designing for an overall positive experience. Although there is already a lot of knowledge on how to design for UX itself, Marianna Obrist will argue for the need to study memories of experiences in order to design better user experiences.

Marianna Obrist is a Marie Curie post-doc Fellow at the Culture Lab at the Newcastle University, UK. The focal point of her research is on user experience (UX), UX studies, methods and evaluation. Over the last years, Marianna was Assistant Professor in the HCI & Usability Unit of the ICT&S Center at the University of Salzburg, Austria. She holds a doctoral degree in Communication Science from the University of Salzburg. More information on her research can be found on her website http://obrist.info

Workshop UseWell: Roadmap to User-Centered Design

In the Usewell project CUO | SocialSpaces, together with project partners from industry, developed a Human-Centered Design toolkit for small companies or organizations. The toolkit contains an essential selection of techniques for creating innovative and usable products or services. In this workshop you will get to know our toolkit by applying it to your design questions. 

Food and drinks


News archive