Master thesis – It’s getting serious!

A whole semester has passed since my last blog article (”About throwing everything aside and starting over”), so there’s a lot to catch up on. Let’s not waste time and dive right in: As mentioned in my last blog entry, I changed my master thesis topic from “Augmented Reality in Education” to “UX Case Study: Designing a mobile application to support self-management and therapy of patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)” (working title for now). For further details on the topic, please read my previous blog entry.

During the past couple of months I did a lot of research on my topic in order to write my exposé, which I soon will hand in. The course “Proseminar Master Thesis” helped a lot during this process, as we had the opportunity to write a first version of our exposé, have it peer reviewed by fellow students, improve it and finally have a one-on-one feedback session with our professor.

My exposé still needs a few adjustments here and there, but it’s at an advanced state already and I’m confident that it will be approved by my supervisor Anika Kronberger, so I can start with the “actual work”. At this point it is to mention that I will be writing my thesis from abroad – from Lisbon to be specific – which will probably bring some challenges as well, but working and communicating remotely has worked out well for the last two years of the pandemic, thus I think that it will also work out for writing a master thesis 🙂

I also had two very insightful meetings with two professionals in the field of interaction design – Orhan Kipcak and Martin Kaltenbrunner. I talked with each of them for half an hour about my topic and received valuable feedback. With Mr. Kipcak I talked a lot about the environment of conducting my thesis. For example he recommended to do research on ongoing projects and studies in the field of my topic in order to get access to valuable data or even collaborate with organizations and people. In this context he recommended several platforms and organizations where I could start my research. Furthermore he underlined the importance of actively involving my supervisor Mrs. Kronberger since she has good connections to other study programs like Midwifery or E-Health as well as to organizations outside of the FH. The talk with Mr. Kaltenbrunner was more about the topic itself and which hurdles could occur in my plan. The most important thing he mentioned was that it is very important to do a proper competitors- and market-analysis of a) existing diabetes apps and b) pregnancy-related apps in general. The first step should be to find out if a new app even makes sense or if it would be better to enhance/adjust an existing app so it fits the needs of GDM patients without re-inventing the wheel. I was/am aware that this could become a problem and it helped a lot to get an opinion and tipps from an expert on how to handle that. Maybe I will have to adjust my plan during the process, but I believe that this is only natural and common.

All in all I now have a more clear plan of my scope, possible hurdles and next steps and am looking forward to start with writing things down.

What are my next steps?

  • Finish my exposé
  • Fill out the official form of the exposé for the FH and hand it in
  • Get the go from my supervisor
  • Start working!

That’s it for now, thanks for reading 🙂

About throwing everything aside and starting over

A fresh start

Although the topic “Augmented Reality in Education” is super interesting and definitely has potential for a master’s thesis, I realized that I don’t want to pursue it further. I originally chose it because I had little prior knowledge about AR and wanted to “plunge into uncharted waters”. However, I soon realized that it didn’t really fit my strengths and interests.

Therefore, I used the past semester to find a new topic for my master’s thesis. I started off with writing a list of requirements. My Master’s thesis should…

  1. … have societal relevance and added value for people/the environment
  2. … focus on visual design and user experience, since that’s where my strengths lie
  3. … be realizable from abroad, since I’m planning to go on Erasmus

Having my list in mind, I started brainstorming. I read articles and abstracts of existing Master’s theses in the field of UI/UX design, I browsed through design platforms like Behance and collected examples, ideas and inspiration. So I made a looong list in the notes app on my phone with raw ideas that came to my mind during research. In the end that list ranged from female leaders in the interaction design field to accessibility issues to family banking to blood donation to pet adoption… and more. As a next step I started to narrow that list down and came to the conclusion that I wanted to work on a UX case study for some mobile app or web application following a design process (e.g. Human Centered Design Process, Design Thinking). I felt that I was finally getting somewhere, but the most important part was still missing: The concrete topic. A mobile app for WHAT? There is already an app for everything, I thought – What could I possibly create that would have an impact? That was when I realized that talking to other people might help. So I asked my sister, who is a doctor, if there was anything in her daily life at the hospital which could be improved by digitalization. And actually there was a lot ;). Ranging from analog patient files to rehab programs for stroke patients, she had some ideas where I could see potential. But it should be something that was within the scope of a Master’s thesis (e.g. digitizing the complete patient management system of a whole association of Austrian hospitals was not). In the end there was one idea left, that would perfectly fit my plan as well as my skills: A mobile app which would help pregnant women with gestational diabetes (GDM) to keep track of their blood sugar, diet, exercise and therapy.

What is GDM?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common complications of pregnant women affecting up to 20% and can lead to many unfavorable outcomes for both mother and newborn. Hence, screening pregnant women for GDM and adequate treatment is essential for the short- and long-term outcome of mother and child. Being diagnosed with GDM comes with major effort including exercise, nutritional therapy, blood glucose monitoring and documentation four times per day, medical appointments every one to three weeks and in many cases insulin injections. Thus, patients tend to struggle with their compliance. Especially doctor appointments can be time-consuming, as patients usually have to document their measurement data in an analog diary. These data are then manually reviewed by the doctor and compared with data stored directly on the blood glucose meter to check for the patient’s reliability (Alfadhli, 2015). 

The road ahead

Based on this medical procedure, the aim of my thesis is to find out how a mobile app could support the process of monitoring and analyzing blood glucose data and which advantages it could have for both the patient and the doctor. There are already several diabetes-monitoring apps on the market but none of them appear to be tailored to GDM patients. Therefore, this project offers the potential to specifically address the requirements and needs of GDM patients and provide them with a digital monitoring solution as an alternative to an analog diary. The concrete idea is to design and evaluate a high fidelity prototype of a mobile app using the design thinking process, which is an iterative process that includes five phases. Potential features of the app are:

  • automatic data transfer from the glucose meter to the app as well as the possibility to enter relevant data manually
  • automatic generation of comprehensive statistics with the ability to detect limit violations
  • reminders and notifications (e.g. blood glucose measurment, insulin injection, exercise)
  • suggestions on diet and exercise based on previously entered data
  • well-founded information about GDM (e.g. videos, articles, FAQs)
  • possibility to download a report for the doctor.


After spending so much time researching, brainstorming and talking to people I think I finally found a topic, that I “burn for” (as we say in german). I think the app could really help people affected by GDM and isn’t just another useless app on the market. As the Erasmus application required an abstract of the thesis topic, I have already written a preliminary research proposal and I am happy to have DI (FH) Anika Kronberger, MA as my supervisor.



Alfadhli E. M. (2015). Gestational diabetes mellitus. Saudi medical journal, 36(4), 399–406. 

Bring Data Art into your home.

The starting point.

Smart home, smart meter, these terms are sprouting from the floors in the home sector like no other. Everyone wants to live more comfortably and more simply. Everything should be smart and make everyday life easier. Mostly, however, these are lifestyle products, but less about things that inform about the general own consumption. Ok. For the most part understandable – you’d rather be entertained instead of seeing what you’re consuming. I think, however, something fundamental must be changed in this attitude and rather the advantage to be seen, if one understands the own consumption, analyzes and in the best case responsibly can steer.

Searching for the right data. 

My concept should be mostly about the own energy budget, it should be prepared data that arise from water and electricity consumption and generation. Therefore, data of the suppliers, costs, and the various influences on the price, the energy network in particular of the suppliers, as well as the own data in the household, through electricity meters, smart meters, etc. are of interest to me. This data should then be put into a meaningful relation, updated in real time and reflect the information in two modes: informative + abstract. Thus, the product can be used as an informative overview and control terminal, but also as regenerative data art to become a lifestyle product.

What is Data Art?

Data art or also referred to as data-driven art is based on data sets and thus conveys emotions. Compared to data visualization, which only visualizes data, or generative art, which creates emotions by chance, the art of creating data art is that it is explained in an understandable and appropriate way. Data art can be many things, from images, videos, interactive works or physical representation, so-called data physicalization can also be encoded sounds or music, this is then called data sonification. But this is relatively difficult, because pleasant tones and a sound spectrum generated by data do not always harmonize.

Source: Art or data-driven,come from the artist’s imagination

Next steps.

The next steps will be: Clearly define the concept and also the scope and find out the perfect target group for it. Also, I want to get more familiar with the already existing tools for energy budget measurements and determine which program and tools I need to implement the project.

Tutorials I’ve watched.