About

I am a sociologist and inter­ac­ti­on designer, providing a unique perspective by combining social sciences, design and technology, with 15+ years of experience creating strategies, concepts and interfaces for specific projects or technology at large (I am happy to send you a link to my interactive portfolio on request).

The distinct feature of my approach is a constructively critical perspective, questions of humanity, privacy, value and values, on how technology integrates with human lives in the big picture. I challenge mainstream practices by holistically investigating their consequences and pointing out truly human-centred alternatives, and promote a holistic consideration of usability and accessibility – not just limiting it to UI questions but building it deep into the core of a concept.

The topics that inspire me the most in my work are non-use of technology – looking at design not only as user-centered but also considering the broader social impact and how it affects those not using it – as well as privacy-aware design – the consideration of personal freedom and privacy at the core of strategies, business models and design solutions – and the question of digital literacy: what are the skills everybody needs to be able to understand the deeper impact of using technology on their lives.

My professional profile is the sum of four specific fields, combined to deliver on the promise of the Critical Interaction Design approach:

My expertise is deeply rooted in my work experience as a designer in dozens of projects. I combine methods to translate human needs and realities into concepts with a deep understanding of interactive technologies’ logic, possibilities and shortcomings. I commonly take the role of peoples’ (or as many refer to them: users’) advocate, giving them a voice through field work and analysis.

Having worked as a designer in agencies for several years as well as running my own consultancy for 5+ years, my approach equally considers human and strategic elements: what is a worthwhile solution, how can it be reached, and how to get all stakeholders on board.

  • Concept and information architecture for B2B/B2C sites (5k€-100k€ budgets)
  • Methodological contributions to user participation processes and service development
  • Strategic involvement in long-term multi-stakeholder projects

I have gathered significant experience in teaching and facilitator roles. Over the years, I have taught and assisted master-level university courses and seminars for media professionals.

I enjoy classical curriculum-based instructing, but my true passion lies in collaborative, workshop-style formats, where I act as a facilitator of the learning process rather than a lecturer. Many of my courses taught have involved real-world client projects.

  • Strategic interaction design course
  • Co-design courses (co-design in health IT, strategic co-design)
  • Usability training for communications professionals
  • Blogging education to journalist students since 2001

My background is in social sciences and despite my involvement in day-to-day project work, I keep close contact with academic research. In any professional collaboration, I enjoy bringing in the research perspective that a team would not have time to assess otherwise.

To me, scientific research is at the same time an important source for fresh thinking that often reaches practitioners with too large a delay, and a creative outlet for my highly analytic thinking and observations.

  • Use of social science methods for design insight
  • Normative values influencing use/non-use choices
  • Research on non-use in HCI

Last but not least, the solid base of all my work is a strong skillset in programming and building digital artefacts. Having worked in web programming since the mid-90s, I still today build prototypes, specific modules or entire production websites myself – based on the latest techniques and advances.

The ability to instantly evaluate technical feasibility and create a quick prototype is a core part of my comprehensive expertise and critical perspective on technology. This website is the best example: an ever-evolving sandbox for prototyping the future of the web.

  • 20 years of hands-on frontend experience
  • Development of WordPress themes/plugins
  • Indieweb advocate (“decentralized social web” paradigm)
  • Ongoing independent explorations on privacy-aware design patterns
  • Numerous projects in UI and UX design roles

I am currently working on a range of research, publishing and development projects around interactive service design and online technology, and as an educator in the field. I am open for new collaborations and assignments.

Since 2010, I have been working as an independent professional, generating and promoting approaches for the benefit of my clients. I also spent some time as a full-time researcher in between.

Before going self-employed, I worked four years for two Finnish digital agencies as an interaction designer and as a senior designer in an insight and strategy team. Earlier, extending more than a decade into the past, I have been working for various employers as web designer, transla­tor, IT trainer, technical writer, teaching assistant and IT assistant.

Master of Arts (New Media)
Aalto University, Media Lab Helsinki, 2011

Master of Social Sciences (Sociology)
University of Tampere, 2003

Vordiplom Soziologie (equiv. Bachelor of Soc.Sc.)
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 2000

For a full CV and references, please contact me with a brief introduction: msg@sebastiangreger.net

I am always on the lookout for projects that allow me to empower people for a critical engagement with technology or where I can put my strategic, scientific and creative potential to use for putting digital technology into the service of people and society.

You can best reach me by e-mail: msg@sebastiangreger.net