Dr. Diana Löffler, the winner of the Beatrice Edgell Prize 2018

The Faculty of Human Sciences at the University of Würzburg awards the Beatrice Edgell Prize since 2006, “in memory of a pioneer of the women’s emancipation, to honour the remarkable results of young female researchers”.

This year the Prize has gone to Diana Löffler for her thesis project “Color, metaphor and culture – Empirical foundations for the design of the user interface”. The doctoral research project was supervised by Professor Jörn Hurtienne of the Department of Psychological Ergonomics in collaboration with Professor Takashi Toriizuka, Nihon University in Japan.

Diana  Löffler has kindly agreed to answer some questions about her research.

What are the methods and the main results of your research?

In my PhD thesis “Color, Metaphor and Culture – Empirical Foundations for User Interface Design”, which was awarded with the Beatrice Edgell award 2018 from Würzburg University, I developed a theory that predicts and explains universal color meaning in specific contexts, such as weight perception, distance and temperature estimation, or involving more abstract ideas such as security or affection.

The theory is backed by an extensive literature review on color psychology and formalised as mathematical equations (linear regressions). The predictions of the theory were empirically tested in 8 studies in the lab and online with a total of 540 German and Japanese participants.

How you results apply to user interface design?

As a result of the thesis, we developed a smartphone app that can be used by user interface designers. The app has a color picker and tells designers which meaning a color likely transfers in a certain context and how this meaning can be changed based on hue, saturation and brightness.

What are your next reasearch projects?

I am currently working in the field of assistive robotics, addressing questions such as: “What is a ‘good design’ for a social robot?” and “Do we transfer our behavior from human-robot interaction to human-human interaction?”. From time to time I am applying the results of my PhD work to robot design, for example to let a robot express emotions in a way that is easy to understand through the use of colors.


Dr Diana Löffler is a postdoctoral researcher in assistive robotics at the chair for Ubiquitous Design at the University of Siegen (Germany). Diana has a background in Psychology and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on optimizing computing systems for human wellbeing and translating insights into actionable results for industry applications.

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