University of Technology Sydney

87749 VC Designing Interactions: User Experience Design

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to experience design, a research-based practice enabling future contexts and interrelationships (to humans, other objects, networks) of a designed product, service or environment guide the design process. The ultimate intention of this method is the creation and the shaping of both the user experience and an artefact's value to defined user groups. Experience design can thus be broadly utilised as a methodology in the design process for any design outcome. This subject aims to introduce students generally to experience design, where it is specifically used in practice in the design of digital products, services and environments.

Students are introduced to: research methods through which to understand current users, user experiences and contexts they are designing into; developing a deep understanding of who they are designing for and their needs; how to apply insights developed through research in the ideation of design concepts; the iterative prototyping and evaluation of proposed solutions in real and prospective scenarios; and skills needed for the presentation of their ideas.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate awareness of and/or engagement with sustainable and socially responsible practices in the practice of experience design
2. Present design processes and concepts in a compelling manner, by articulating and validating them in light of discovered human needs through research methods.
3. Deliver a research informed design response.
4. Iterate and refine a design response through processes of collaboration, testing and prototyping.
5. Develop insights and hypotheses through an analysis of research findings.
6. Employ qualitative research methods from the field of experience design to gather information on a design context and its possibilities and constraints.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Engage critically in urgent ecological issues in practice-led projects. (A.2)
  • Work cooperatively and professionally as part of a team, initiate partnerships with others, take a leadership role when required, and constructively contribute to peer learning. (C.1)
  • Create designs that respond to their context in formally or conceptually innovative ways. (I.1)
  • Advance ideas through an exploratory and iterative design process. (I.2)
  • Source, evaluate and utilise appropriate academic and professional references. (R.1)
  • Employ a range of qualitative research approaches including practice-led visual and material exploration and social and participatory methods. (R.2)

Teaching and learning strategies

Students are expected to commit ~9 hours per week to each 6 credit point subject. This includes the contact hours. The 6 hours remaining each week are for the completion of preparatory activities and assessment tasks.

Time in studio will orient you to specific experience design concepts, methods and theories, studio and between-studio activities and project requirements.

Studio sessions will give you the opportunity to discuss questions about the weekly topic/content with your peers and with an expert studio leader, to collaborate on activities directly relevant to key ideas and to develop your skills as a design practitioner with assistance from your studio leader. Your studio leader will facilitate discussion and offer expert insight and direction where needed, but as students you are primarily responsible for the mood of the studio session.

This subject incorporates a PBL (problem-based learning) strategy. The focus is on allowing students to engage with practical, experiential models of visual communication design. The design methodology of developing creative responses to project briefs continues to underpin the learning experience. Peer learning groups and learning partnerships are encouraged at this stage for students, as individuals and collaboratively in groups to develop their ability to reflect upon and critically analyse their research and design work in order to experience perceptual change and enact their new understandings in progressive design iterations. Emphasis is placed on developing each student’s confidence in processing and refining ideas.


Studio sessions provide important opportunities for you to interact with your studio leaders and peers. Mobile phone and laptop use can be distracting to yourself and those around you. Mobile phones and laptops should not be used in lectures or studio sessions. You will be given explicit information about situations where limited use of these technologies might be appropriate.


Each week before class, you will familiarise yourself with a range of written and visual texts that relate to the subject or undertake preparatory tasks for the next studio session. These are included in the weekly outline and assignment briefs.

Before leaving the studio, you will write an ‘action list’ of tasks you need to complete before the next studio session and assign times in your personal weekly planner to complete these tasks. You may be asked to reflect on how you managed these tasks with your learning group or studio leader in the following studio session.


Learning to give and receive feedback is essential to your development as a professional designer. In peer feedback sessions you will ask your group to give you feedback on ideas and visuals. Try to sit back and listen. Try not to prompt your peers with information about your intentions. You want feedback from as many different perspectives as possible.

Content (topics)

Experience Design

Primary and secondary research methods to gather data on users, user experiences and contexts of design

Reframing design problems through insights from research

Methods for design ideation in response to research findings

Prototyping methods relevant to the field of experience design or user experience design

Presentation techniques relevant to the field of experience design or user experience design


Assessment task 1: Research Folio


For this task, you will be undertaking research activities in order to: discover or gather insights on the context* of your future design concept (its current stakeholders, users, user experiences and environments); as well as defining actionable problem statements by developing a deep understanding of who you are designing for and what they need.

* Details on the context of your design investigation will be briefed in the first studio and provided on a separate PDF available for download on UTSOnline.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 5 and 6

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, C.1, R.1 and R.2

Type: Portfolio
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Quality of engagement with research processes and methodologies 25 6 R.2
The development of relevant insights from research as evidenced in the definition or re-framing of a problem 25 5 R.1
Awareness of and engagement with sustainable and/or socially responsible design practices 25 1 A.2
Rigour and care in documentation of iterative design processes and results 25 2 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Project Presentation and Design Prototype Folio


For this task, you will be ideating designs in response to your research as well as undertaking prototyping methods as a means to test and improve your designs, leading towards a final design concept.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

C.1, I.1 and I.2

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 60%
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Capacity to create a design strategy/concept that responds to a research-defined context 35 3 I.1
Ability to advance and refine ideas in response to exploratory and iterative design practices 35 4 I.2
Ability to articulate, through visual, written and oral presentation, a design project and how it evolved through a process of design 30 2 C.1
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

The DAB attendance policy requires students to attend no less than 80% of formal teaching sessions (lectures and tutorials) for each class they are enrolled in to remain eligible for assessment.