Max Walter



History of the HFG

Application Design and Design History

…In a Nutshell.

In the third semester we had the opportunity to work on the history of the HFG as part of the subjects design history and application design.

The project began with a long research phase. We searched the digital resources of the university, worked our way through technical literature, interviewed long-standing lecturers and searched the university archive in the basement. We then visualized the results of all this research by building a prototype for the website.

The Task

In the third semester, the university was looking for volunteers who were interested in the history of the university and could imagine working on the HFG website in the fields of application design and design history. After a short time a team of six students was formed.


It was clear early on that research would take a long time in the initial phase of the project. The university was very accommodating in this respect and we were given a locked work room to which we had access 24/7.
We were allowed to look through old bachelor's theses in the university archive under the supervision of the responsible staff, some of which were stored there for decades. Especially in the early phase it was very difficult to find a starting point. We had a huge amount of research material that we didn't know where to start.

We also had the opportunity to talk to 10 long-time lecturers, some of whom had already studied at the HFG and then returned to Schwäbisch Gmünd for a teaching position after some time in the professional world.
All this gathered over time on the walls of our project room.

First Prototypes

The results of our research then led to the first prototypes. These ranged from simple one-page to 3-dimensional visualizations that require scrolling along the Z-axis of the website and almost every variation imaginable.
During this process, however, it becomes clear that many of the variations can be reduced to a timeline along the X-axis. You can look at the timeline on a 10 year scale or zoom in to a 1 year scale.

Final Prototype

Final Prototype

For the final prototype we decided on a five-line timeline with horizontal scrolling direction. Consisting of university facts, persons, projects, student life and historical context.


This line contains facts such as changes in the university name (which is fixed on the y-axis for overview), major curriculum changes, the introduction of new courses of study and individual special events such as the major renovation of the main building in 2009.


Rectors, lecturers and guest speakers of the Traditional Wednesday Seminars can be found here. As with the university names, the rector is fixed on the Y-axis according to his term of office.


Here you can find final projects of the individual courses of studies which can be filtered by color if required.
If you switch to the 1 year scale you can select individual projects and you can read more detailed information about the product or the work with the help of an article.

Student life

An important point for us from the very beginning was that we also illuminate student life at the HFG in our visualization. Since we know from our own experience as well as from our research that studying at the HFG is more
than just completing various lectures and examinations. Strikes, protests and demonstrations, studying at the HFG
has always meant that students have had
to deal with current world events and that
this has always been the case, even beyond
their project.
This interest in politics and world history we wanted to convey at all costs.

World historical context

Since both student activities and projects were often related to current world events. We decided to insert a small column above the timeline which shows important historical milestones in order to put projects and student life in a direct social and political context.