Course syllabus


DAT666 / DIT66 Concept-Driven Interaction Design lp4 vt24 (7.5 hp)

Course is offered by the department of Computer Science and Engineering



After the course you should have a clear idea of some conceptual and aesthetic ideals and how to design according to them, giving a valid design rationale. Designing interactive systems is often, but not always about designing for efficiency in a user-centered manner. In this course, we explore theories and alternative approaches to interaction design as a complement to user-centered design. We acknowledge the need to design for efficiency, but aim instead for playfulness, criticism, embodiment or various emotions (e.g. fear, joy, comfort), all of which are supported by the conceptual framing of the design. In this course we will look closer at different fringe theories within interaction design, and discuss and practice how to design with them through the analysis and development of design concepts. 

Content includes, but is not limited to: 

  • What concept driven design means and how we can design with a concept as the main motivator.
  • Fringe theories and methods in interaction design and how they relate to and complement more widespread approaches.
  • Analysis of the concepts behind interactive systems of artefacts.


The following learning outcomes and contents are taken directly (and unabridged) from the syllabus:

Study plan at Chalmers

Study plan at University of Gothenburg


Learning outcomes -- Knowledge and understanding

KU1: Explain what "Concept-Driven Interaction Design" means, and give an account ofsome of the alternative theories, programmes, and approaches within the area of interaction design.

KU2: Describe concept-driven design methods as well as their underlying theories.

KU3: Analyse and discuss a certain design in conceptual terms.


Learning outcomes -- Skills and abilities 

SA1: Analyse experiences grounded in the conceptual framing of interactive systems or artefacts.

SA2: Choose and apply suitable design methods, informed by theory and context.

SA3: Be able to motivate one's design decisions in relation to the concept one is designing for.

SA4: Design towards a certain concept, making it permeate all aspects of the artefact.

SA5: Give and receive constructive feedback regarding concept driven design.


Learning outcomes -- Judgement and approach 

JA1: Be able to apply and identify approaches and theories in order to discuss, motivate, and design concept-driven artefacts.

JA2: Be able to conclude and discuss the ethical and societal consequences of designing towards a certain concept. 


Content includes, but is not limited to…

C1: What it means to design driven by a concept

C2: Fringe theories within Interaction Design

C3: Analysis of experiences provided by an interactive system or object

C4: The connection between design objectives, design rationale and design decisions



The course is given in English. 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 engaged with each other, working in pairs or groups.



The course covers the following four overarching topics (all of which consist of 1-2 lectures, one literature session and one design exercise):

  • Concept-Driven Design
  • Design Programmes
  • Slow Technology, Soma Design, Speculative/Critical Design, and More-Than-Human
  • First-Person Methods

The examination comes in the form of taking part in mandatory activities. The only graded element is an individual project (a design task), which is given at the start of the course; the intention is not that students should start with it right away, but in this way they know from the start what is being expected, and in addition they can start pursuing a suitable topic and idea. Then, the last two weeks of the course are spent creating this design and the presentation of it.


Mandatory activities

Exercises + feedback sessions

Literature seminars

Individual project


Voluntary activities



Relation between the learning outcomes, the content, and the parts of the course

Lectures:KU1, KU2, KU3, SA1, JA1, JA2, C1, C2

Literature + Literature seminars:KU1, SA3, JA1, JA2, C1, C2, C3

Exercises: SA2, SA3, JA1, JA2, C1, C4

Crits: KU3, SA1, SA3, SA5, JA1, C3, C4

Individual project: KU3, SA1, SA2, SA3, SA4, JA1, JA2, C1, C4



There is no book in this course. Instead each topic will be introduced with a lecture, and 1-5 accompanying papers which will be analyzed and discussed in the literature seminars. All literature can be downloaded from the course’s Canvas pages.



The course is examined through three modules, namely:

  • Exercises, 2 credits (Fail/Pass)
  • Literature assignments, 2 credit (Fail/Pass)
  • Individual project, 3,5 credits (Fail, 3, 4, 5)


In order to pass the entire course, the student needs to receive Pass on the first two modules and at least 3 on the third module. If you fail one or more parts, you cannot get a final grade, but you will get a grade and the credits for the parts you did pass. 


 To cheer you up…

…a student that has achieved extraordinary well – for instance by being very active in class, sharing knowledge, improving other's work or working hard on common projects – but still does not quite match up to certain final grade, might get that anyway. 



This is the first run of this course! It is an adaptation of Designing User Experiences, a course that ran for many years before. We now focus more on concept-driven design and less on understanding UX




Mafalda Gamboa (


Sjoerd Hendriks (

László Sall Vesselényi (



Constantina-Edesa Filios! (


The guiding schedule is on Canvas and overrules TimeEdit. TimeEdit shows only the rooms booked.



Course summary:

Date Details Due