As a network for research and expertise the PRAXLABS in Siegen-Wittgenstein and Dortmund (NRW, Germany) exists since 2009. They combine a network of local research, industry and application partners with different settings, e.g. the home setting, public places and virtual communities. Scientists, industrial companies, public institutions and user can joint the network and work together on different developments and designs.

We see our research and development purpose as a close symbiosis between the application field and the actors. In this case the importance of user inclusion is our main focus. The users can be actively involved due to the requirements of the research purpose. Currently there are more then 100 users which take part at research activities in our increasing panels.

Taking care of these contacts allows us to embed developing techniques in identifiable practices and also to evaluate and improve this embedding. We also offer users through close cooperation opportunities to participate actively in the process of innovation and thus to develop new solutions. This emanating early concepts and prototype applications can also be discussed in addition to most long-term tests in practice and everyday environments in a laboratory test environment at the University of Siegen, tested and further developed. The circular research and development process is extended to include the early exploration of the appropriation and usage behavior across the actual application context. This step has the advantage that context-specific usage problems or unintended usage patterns can be detected more quickly by integrating ICT solutions into the daily life of users. This information gained can be incorporated directly in the improvement of user acceptance, in the usability as well as in the development of the functional scope of ICT solutions.

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