Autor: Dr.-Ing. Marcus Jenke

USE-Ing. and IRNAS: Partnership for User-Centric, Cost-Effective, and Innovative Solutions in Global Markets

Collaboration for the Development of Better, User-Centric Devices

IRNAS and USE-Ing. have officially announced their partnership to develop innovative and user-centric solutions for various industries. The two companies are pooling their resources to promote sustainable and long-lasting solutions that are tailored to the needs and workflows of users.

With a broad spectrum of industries and sectors, including consumer goods, medical technology, and security technology, USE-Ing. and IRNAS will jointly shape the future of the industry.

Experienced team develops user-centric solutions with IRNAS partnership

USE-Ing. is composed of an interdisciplinary research and design team of experienced usability engineers, psychologists, HMI, and UX designers. This team has developed a deep understanding of users and their needs in their professional everyday life and is capable of identifying and addressing technological challenges to ensure a better user experience.

“The partnership with IRNAS enables USE-Ing. to have a more agile and reliable solution creation process,” says Marcus Jenke, Managing Director of USE-Ing. “The experienced collaboration with such a highly professional and motivated team allows us to focus more on overcoming the challenges that come with designing the most user-friendly and pleasant user interaction possible, without stumbling over the hurdles of technical implementation. True user acceptance is only sustained in the long term if thoughtful ergonomics and usability are maintained and can be found in the final product on the market.

The unique combination of in-house manufacturing and multidisciplinary engineering experts with comprehensive experience in building devices using rapid prototyping methods allows IRNAS to develop cost-effective and time-optimized solutions for various industries. The solution design that enables an intuitive user experience significantly increases satisfaction and product success.

“The partnership with USE-Ing. enables IRNAS to offer an overall better development service,” says Luka Banović, Product Development Lead at IRNAS. “Working with a company that specializes in engaging with users at such a profound level like USE-Ing. makes our life as a product development house much easier. Well-thought-out products last longer and are not so quickly outdated. This aligns perfectly with the vision and values of IRNAS, not just to manufacture more devices, but to keep the devices that come to market as relevant as possible for as long as possible, thereby creating the greatest added value.

Both our companies are based in Europe, but they offer their products and services on the global market, assisting some of the largest companies in the most demanding sectors in the introduction of innovative solutions.

About the companies USE-Ing. and IRNAS

USE-Ing. GmbH is a German human factors engineering and design service company with the mission to develop technology for and especially with users. Since 2018, USE-Ing. has become a renowned provider of professional services in the fields of human-centered product development, UX/UI design, ergonomics, usability optimization, and user-centered innovation. Involving real users at the right time and in the right way in the product development cycle is our distinguishing feature in the market. In the context of digitalization, automation, and demographic change, we support industrial companies from medical technology, aviation, and mechanical engineering in the user-friendly design of products. That’s why USE-Ing. recruits professional users who co-design and evaluate high-tech products throughout the entire development process, thus ensuring that “the right thing is built before it’s built.” 

IRNAS is a custom hardware development company based in Maribor, Slovenia. Since 2011, IRNAS has evolved into a visible, well-established design house covering many industrial areas. IRNAS offers electronics engineering, firmware development, software development, prototyping, and automated testing, as well as design for manufacturing and production management. With its constantly evolving in-house production capabilities, IRNAS ensures that it remains one of the fastest design and prototyping companies in this part of the world. IRNAS is one of the few EU-based design partners of Nordic Semiconductor and develops specialized solutions with BLE and mobile connectivity. In the past two years, IRNAS has also focused on becoming an expert in the integration of machine learning in devices. Their expertise in this area has been further advanced through a development partnership with Edge Impulse.

We are happy to support you holistically and user-centered in your development process. If you are interested, our experts are at your disposal with advice and action. Get in contact


Here you can find the link to the article at IRNAS:

Human-Centered-Design, a Corporate Philosophy

Understanding the intrinsic value of the Human-Centered-Design maturity

The term “user-centered design” traditionally refers to the development of interactive systems, such as physical products like machine tools or digital services like cloud-based management dashboards, with a focus on the actual user. In the endeavor to further optimize these interactive systems, the human-centered approach has long been of relevance not only in selected phases of development.
Looking at the guiding principles of global players, one can recognize the penetration of the HCD approach (Human-Centered Design) down to the lowest levels.

This not only brings advantages for the later users in our modern work world through a positive user experience and effective, efficient, and satisfying interaction with these systems. The more deeply the “human-centered” approach is embedded in companies (so-called HCD maturity), the more stakeholders are influenced by it. Thus, it would be wrong to consider such a level of maturity merely as an effort. Instead, it represents a source of sustainable and socially responsible innovative strength. This can be used to create superior products and services as well as a more desirable work environment.


„HCD affects industries such as medical technology, not only impacting the professionals who often represent the primary users. Developers and product owners feel that their individual strengths and personality are valued and utilized, and that they can engage in responsible and meaningful work. Patients feel secure and acknowledged through this focus on health, safety, and well-being in dealing with human-centered interactive systems.“


But where should one start? In the daily work jungle, such approaches may seem more ideological in nature, or aren’t they?

Often, it helps to first gain clarity about the associated activities through a clear and holistic structure to be able to tackle the first steps purposefully. The ISO 9241-220 provides the corresponding framework in the form of the holistically oriented HCD process model. In this model, HCD activities of various process categories (levels) are structured in the context of internal company processes and hierarchies. These range from everyday, operational work in and around projects to organizational and structural processes up to the overarching corporate strategy. Within these categories, numerous sub-processes can be carried out to improve the overall HCD maturity level. While at the highest level, guiding principles and corporate policies need to be aligned with human-centered design to sustainably increase the HCD maturity level, only the individual necessary actions in the daily development routine of experts in their respective fields lead to an initiative (introduction of HCD processes) and constant (operation of HCD processes) advancement of the HCD processes.

Prozess modell
Based on ISO 9241-220:2019-03

Central to this is the human-centered quality, which can extend across all areas, from specific product interface quality to the work quality of development teams. Potential HCD processes must first be identified, which are possible at all levels of the HCD process model.


„HCD processes must first be planned and managed and brought into the right usage context. Subsequently, the requirements are specified, which are to be shaped through human-centered design. These must then be evaluated by the decisive and representative users using appropriate metrics within the respective HCD process.“

To iteratively improve these in the respective areas, it is therefore essential for all participants to understand and comprehend the following aspects: the purpose of an HCD process, such as tapping into new customer segments through information about new usage contexts and user needs – the associated benefits, such as claiming more market shares through knowledge of the necessary usage requirements and relevant acceptance criteria and the ability to effectively utilize them in development – the translation into outcomes, such as faster and more comfortable operation in the respective work task, which can lead to the consolidation of an innovative and forward-looking company image – through human-centered activities, such as continuous usage context analysis in the respective product development process, which is to be carried out sustainably and socially responsibly.

Responsible handling of such HCD processes always involves a constant assessment of the associated potential opportunities as well as expenditures and risks in the context of developing interactive systems. Achieving a “human-centered design” maturity level thus represents not a sprint, but a marathon, in which, however, every step in the right direction pays off.

Contributions in this topic field

Standards & References

Learning from the User – Contextual Interview

The contextual interview - a combination of observation and questioning of users

Known as a contextual interview or Contextual Inquiry in English, it enables the direct learning of various aspects about the user themselves, the usage, and the usage context from the product’s user. The combination of observation and questioning uncovers relationships and backgrounds that can be incorporated into the product development process.

Therefore, the contextual interview is sensibly placed at the beginning or in the creative phase of the product development cycle. In the five-stage Design Thinking process, the method can be used in the “Empathize” phase, which aims to build an understanding of the user. In medical technology, the contextual interview can be used as a User Research method for creating the Use Specification in the Usability Engineering process.

Preparation of the Contextual Interview

A contextual interview should be well prepared. This includes selecting suitable participants. It is advisable to consider each user group of the product.


It is often useful to include participants with different experiences to allow various perspectives on the product. For example, a relatively new user and a long-term, routine user can be approached for a contextual interview. The wider the range of participants, the more diverse and comprehensive the usage of the product can be captured.

Furthermore, thematic focuses and relevant questions to be emphasized during the interview should be prepared. A guide should be created for a structured process. However, the interviewer should also flexibly adapt the questioning to the observed aspects and the individual answers of the interviewed user. Often, the questions become sharper with each conducted contextual interview, as the understanding of the relevant aspects continuously expands.


The contextual interview is conducted in the field, i.e., in the user’s usual usage environment. Firstly, the user is observed during interaction. The questioning follows in the second step.

During observation, it is recommended that the interviewer remains as inconspicuous as possible in the background to avoid influencing the usual workflow. In some cases, it may be useful to ask occasional intermediate questions during the observation, but care should be taken not to throw the user off track.


„The less stressed and uncertain the user feels due to the observation, the more authentic and representative the observed use of the product is.”

To enable a detailed analysis at a later point, it is advisable to document the contextual interview using video or audio recording. This allows the interviewer to focus on the conversation and conduct it smoothly without interruptions for writing. Alternatively, the questioning can also be recorded by a note-taker. While this risks losing nuances of the conversation, it significantly accelerates the evaluation. A combination of both documentation methods enables the evaluation to be conducted based on the notes and to refer to the video or audio recording in case of uncertainties in the notes.

Topics of the Contextual Interview

Aspects that can be captured in a contextual interview include workflows, the individualization of the product, and difficulties in interaction. Also, when and how often the product is used can be of high relevance.

Observing the user allows the capturing of implicit knowledge. Implicit knowledge refers to knowledge that the user can apply in the relevant situation but otherwise cannot easily articulate in theory.

The best-known example is tying shoes, which is a daily task for most people. Yet, the exact procedure is difficult for many to describe. The same phenomenon can occur with the user’s routine interaction with a product, making it challenging to capture implicit knowledge in a general survey.

The work environment and influences such as noise or lighting conditions, as well as dependencies and communication with colleagues and superiors, can also be relevant factors and captured via the contextual interview. The use of aids or the transfer of information or products are often meaningful aspects that can be observed and questioned. For example, if data need to be imported or exported into the system, difficulties with the compatibility of file formats can arise, making integration into the user’s overall workflow difficult.

If the interviewer notices unusual interactions or user irritation during observation, these can be directly addressed in the interview. Specific behaviors can be questioned, thus uncovering connections and optimization potentials.

Working with the Results

After conducting the interview, the notes or video/audio recordings should be evaluated promptly using appropriate methods. The results can then, for example, be transferred into personas and scenarios suitable for communicating the results to all project participants.

Uncovered pain points and optimization potentials can be directly transferred from the evaluation into product development.

The disadvantage of the contextual interview is the time required for execution and evaluation. However, the method is well suited for a thorough, empirical analysis of usage requirements. It is particularly suitable for the further development of an existing product or for integrating a new product into an existing workflow.


Standards & References