Designing shared media control systems

June 23, 2023

Melanie Berger defends her PhD thesis at the department of Industrial Design on June 20th.

Photo: Melanie Berger

Media is an essential part of everyday life. Listening to music, watching a movie, or consuming a video - being entertained by these can make us feel at ease and contribute to well-being. Entertainment and media are often enjoyed with others, bringing people closer together. However, choosing music, a movie, or changing the radio channel when sharing the same room or being in the car can affect everyone’s experience. And we all know how complicated and dynamic deciding on a song or choosing a movie to watch together can be. For her PhD thesis, Melanie Berger highlights the importance of designing media systems and devices to enable co-located people to select and control media content together.

In her research, Melanie Berger demonstrates a number of ways by which we can design for shared media control in order to promote active participation and fairness, consequently enriching shared experiences and sustaining a social bond among co-located people. 

User-centered design

Using a user-centered design approach that focuses on user needs and expectations, Berger explored the design of collaborative, shared media control through various design interventions, experimentally assessed in the settings of a car and the living room in a home.

Melanie Berger


The culmination of the insights from these interventions led to recommendations and the design of support tools for the development of the next generation of media systems with shared control, ultimately aiming to create enriched togetherness and group experiences. These tools aim to help in the application of the key findings from Berge’s research in the industrial context, in research, and in education alike.


Berger’s research project was funded by ruwido austria GmbH, a leading company in the field of premium input devices such as remote controls and keyboards.

The insights and contributions from her research work will be key to designing and deploying the next generation of media control for the living room together with their IPTV-provider clients such as Bouygues, Telekom Austria, and Vodafone.

Title of PhD thesis: Social Control Experience Design A Cross-Domain Investigation on Media. Supervisors: Regina Bernhaupt, Bastian Pfleging, and Bahareh Barati.

Barry Fitzgerald
(Science Information Officer)

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