University of Technology Sydney

95566 Digital 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 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Computer Science
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

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


Experience-centred design is concerned with designing for the richness of human experience with the wide variety of new technologies and media that are available. We can become excited by the potential of mobile computing, social media, customised and localised apps, and the ways in which they interact with each other. But the real excitement of experience-centred design is in the impulse to use these developments to give people the chance to have a richer life, to include people who might otherwise feel excluded, and to ensure that everybody has a chance to have their say, especially those who often feel voiceless.

This subject introduces students to the conceptual ideas behind user experience and experience design, and builds their understanding of the nature of human experience and its mediation by technology. The subject also introduces students to the practical processes of experience design by allowing students to work on a real-world design project with real users, supported with advice and input from practising professionals, and in a context of peer support and feedback. Students can explore approaches that engage users as participants in the design process, with a view to understanding relationships between users and designers in experience-centred design. Working on this project with others allows students the opportunity to engage critically with the theoretical and practical interdisciplinary approaches to information and interaction design.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. define experience-centred design, and its differences and similarities with other types of interaction design approaches
2. critically analyse how people experience technology, digital content, the role of sociality, and how such experiences can be supported or designed
3. apply appropriate theoretical concepts to accurately describe, critique, analyse and evaluate user experiences that arise through-and-during interactions with information technology
4. refine their understanding of experience-centred design through critical application of theoretical concepts to the design of a digital project and evaluation of that project
5. develop an understanding of using interpretive and qualitative approach to experience-centred design dialogical approaches to design, whether they pertain specifically to information and interaction design, or are more widely drawn from other design disciplines
6. explore and develop approaches that engage users as participants in the design process, with a view to understanding relationships between users and designers in experience-centred design.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Socially Responsible: FEIT graduates identify, engage, and influence stakeholders, and apply expert judgment establishing and managing constraints, conflicts and uncertainties within a hazards and risk framework to define system requirements and interactivity. (B.1)
  • Design Oriented: FEIT graduates apply problem solving, design thinking and decision-making methodologies in new contexts or to novel problems, to explore, test, analyse and synthesise complex ideas, theories or concepts. (C.1)
  • Technically Proficient: FEIT graduates apply theoretical, conceptual, software and physical tools and advanced discipline knowledge to research, evaluate and predict future performance of systems characterised by complexity. (D.1)
  • Collaborative and Communicative: FEIT graduates work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams, communicating effectively and operating autonomously within cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural contexts in the workplace. (E.1)
  • Reflective: FEIT graduates critically self-review their own and others' performance with a high level of responsibility to improve and practice competently for the benefit of professional practice and society. (F.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject includes face-to-face classes and practical activities throughout the semester, constituted by readings, group work and design project development. You will receive feedback from your peers, the teaching staff, and guest industry professionals to improve the quality of your work. You will gain most from the classes if you prepare in advance and participate in the online and class discussions. This will include reading the prescribed documents, completing the required work and completing the necessary homework.

Canvas will be used in this subject for discussions, activities, assessment progression and submission, a question and answer forum and subject announce¬ments. More details of the group discussions will be given in classes and in the Canvas discussion board.

As a student in this subject you are expected to attend and participate in all classes, actively contribute to online discussions, and complete your assignments by their due dates.

This subject is 6 credit points. This means that throughout the semester you should be spending an average of 9-12 hours per week on this subject, including the class time.


Assessment task 1: Music listening Design Research report


This task is intended to be the research that informs your Design Project. Therefore, this task is linked to Assessment Task 2.


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

C.1, D.1 and E.1

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Under 2000 words, not including references


This task will be assessed according to the degree to which you are able to:

  1. clearly describe, explain and justify the value of a type of experience that is appropriate and meaningful to the users identified;
  2. present a coherent and detailed review and critique of related efforts through background and desk research, and identify relevant research questions to pursue during user research;
  3. produce a coherent report that contains arguments and ideas that are thorough and detailed;
  4. use Harvard Referencing correctly in a research report;
  5. integrate, include and apply the theories of Experience-Centered Design in the report.

Assessment task 2: Music Experience Design project


To provide provide students with opportunities to practice a humanistic Experience-Centred Design methodology to to reimagine/redesign a digital technology system/app or service that can better support desirable and appropriate experiences


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 4, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

C.1, D.1 and F.1

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 50%
Length: Rationale 2000 words

This task will be assessed according to:

  • how comprehensively you have applied and reflected on your research findings in your overall design
  • how effectively you have justified your design decisions with appropriate reference to your own research and other theories of experience, information and interaction design
  • evidence of learning and progression at each stage of the project, including what inspired you to revise your ideas.

Assessment task 3: Class and online participation


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, D.1, E.1 and F.1

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

2000 words


The contributions you make should be carefully considered and written, and you will be assessed over the semester according to the extent to which you:

  • engage with other people’s contributions and provide constructive feedback
  • refer to and reflect on readings from the textbook and other reference materials
  • incorporate your personal and professional experience
  • show evidence of and offer ideas from wider reading and research, which may include suggesting additional resources relevant to the topic
  • appropriately acknowledge the sources you used in Harvard style.

The online discussions are open-ended, but this does not mean it is acceptable to simply do a mass posting at the end of semester. See Assignment 3 description on Canvas for instructions and further details.

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.

Required texts

Experience-Centered Design: Designers, Users, and Communities in Dialogue by Peter Wright & John McCarthy

Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics Jan 2010, Vol. 3, No. 1, Pages 1-123. You should be able to access this e-book from UTS Library.

Recommended texts

For a more practical how-to approach: The Elements of User Experience, Second Edition: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse Garrett (available online from UTS library)

A lot of the foundational ideas and concepts can be found in this very valuable website:

Other resources


In this subject Canvas will be used to:

  • post announcements about this subject from the subject co-ordinator
  • provide electronic copies of the subject outline, PowerPoint slides, readings and subject documents
  • provide a forum for different threads of discussions
  • provide links to other digital resources and websites
  • send and receive emails between lecturers and students
  • inform you of your grades via the Gradebook.

Facebook: closed group

This subject will also trial the use of a closed Facebook group for group discussions and sharing of web resources.