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Syllabus for

Academic year
DAT156 - Aesthetics of interaction
Syllabus adopted 2013-02-20 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPIDE
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Computer Science and Engineering, Information Technology

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Block schedule: X

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0111 Project 4,0c Grading: TH   4,0c    
0211 Written and oral assignments 1,5c Grading: UG   1,5c    
0311 Laboratory 2,0c Grading: UG   2,0c    

In programs



Univ lektor  Sus Lyckvi


DAT155   Aesthetics of interaction


For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

The requirements for the course is to have successfully completed a Bachelors degree within Computer Science or equivalent or the following courses:

  • Man-machine systems, 7.5 credits
  • Graphical interfaces, 7.5 credits
  • Interaction design methodology, 7.5 credits
  • Prototyping in interaction design, 7.5 credits
or similar. Or similar means that the student must be trained in practical design work within diciplines of interaction design, multimedia design, product design or architecture, and that they have taken at least one course in Human-computer interaction or Man-machine systems.


After the course you should have a clear idea of some aesthetic ideals and how to design according to them, giving a valid design rationale.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

When we say "aesthetics of interaction" we are not referring to visual appearance only. Aesthetics of interaction is about all aspects of an artifact; not only how it looks but also how it behaves, interacts, feels, sounds etc. Within interaction design there are a number of different aesthetic ideals. Many claim usability as their aesthetic ideal, but there are others too; some say that we should design for pleasure, others that we should design for play, others yet design to criticize whereas others advocate user exeprience. In this course we will look closer at the current design ideals within interaction design and discuss and practice how to design for them.

After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Know how to describe and relate to common ideals within interaction design
  • Know how these ideals are rooted in other diciplines
  • Know how to analyze and discuss an certain design in terms of aesthetic ideals and deign goals.
Skills and abilities

  • To design towards a certain ideal, making it permeate all aspects of the artifact
  • To combine several ideals in design, weighing design decisions against each other
  • To be able to motivate ones design decisions as being based on an ideal
  • To give and receive constructive feedback
Judgement and approach

  • Be able to select and apply approaches and theories from related fields in order to discuss and attain a certain aesthetic ideal
  • Be able to choose a suiting aesthetic ideal (or combination of ideals) depending on context and users
  • Be able to establish and clearly express ones own view on aesthetic ideals in interaction design


Content includes, but is not limited to:

  • Common aesthetic ideals within interaction design
  • Interactive artifacts as Gesamtkunstwerke
  • Analysis of various aesthetic aspects of an interactive system or object
  • The connection between design objectives, design rationale and aesthetic design decisions


The course features both practical and theoretical parts, as well as work in groups and individual work. Lectures, literature and literature seminars give a theoretical foundation, which are immediately put into practice. Focus is upon turning analysis and reflection into practical action. Focus is also on exchange of thoughts, feedback, designs and ideas. Hence, the course requires active participation; participants will spend most of their study time at school, working in pairs or groups.


Selected academic papers and book excerpts


The course is examined through three modules, namely:

  • Exercises, 2 credits (Fail/Pass)
  • Literature assignment, 1.5 credit (Fail/Pass)
  • Individual project/home exam, 4 credits (Fail, 3, 4, 5)

In order to pass the entire course, the student needs to receive Pass on the first two moules and at least 3 on the third module.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.