INTERACTION DESIGN

If you are interested in design and technologies, the University of Sydney’s Bachelor of Design Computing is for you. This undergraduate program is the only one in Australia that provides specialised training for a career in the emerging fields of interaction design and creative technologies..

From mobile apps to wearable technology and interactive environments, there is a high demand for human-centred design and experiences driven by technology.

In this program you learn how to create elegant, high‑caliber, commercially viable products and services. You will gain a toolbox of skills in visual design, digital media production, coding, prototyping and user experience design. Most importantly, you will be taught to recognise and use tools that address specific social and commercial challenges, to solve real-world problems.

The program includes four design studios, which focus on specific themes, such as mobile apps, data visualisation and interactive product design. Through these studios you will build your portfolio and be well prepared for a career in this exciting, high-growth and highly paid industry. You can also take electives from other faculties. For example, you are eligible to graduate from Design Computing with a minor in Information Technologies (IT). Our independent study options, as well as the optional honours year, allow you to further develop your skills in a specific area and work on your own project ideas.

Careers

Graduates from the Bachelor of Design Computing typically find work in one of the following areas/roles:

- interaction designer

- user experience designer

- creative technologist

- front end designer/developer

- web designer/developer

- digital producer

- multimedia strategist

Through the Faculty’s strong links with the creative industries in Sydney, many of our students receive job offers during their final year. We host regular careers events to connect industry and our students.

Profiles

EMILA YANG

"I studied a Bachelor of Design Computing (Hons) and graduated in 2014 with the University Medal. Since graduating, I’ve worked on many interesting projects as an Experience Designer at Massive Interactive – including the Emirates in-flight entertainment system and the interface for Foxtel’s set-top box. I’ve also been involved with start-ups, co-founded Edisse as the primary designer, and designed a mobile chat interface for OpenLearning as a front-end developer."

NATALIE SCHAFFER

“I was unsure what career I wanted, but I have always had a creative streak. When I attended the design computing seminar at the University of Sydney, I was captivated and knew this was the course I really wanted to do.

“This degree has helped me so much for my future after university. The degree coordinator often holds careers events at the University for all design computing students to attend. One of these events led me to apply for an internship with Razorfish, which I am super excited about commencing.

“Through my study exchange I was also shown the world of design abroad. I now have connections in the UK if I choose to work overseas.”

ANDREA LAU

“The studios in the Bachelor of Design Computing ensure that you consider the brief and understand users’ needs. That’s essentially the same as industry. The courses set you up to be a great project manager as well as technically skilled at design.

“Data visualisation is multidisciplinary. You need to understand the visuals and how to make your content engaging as well as understand the theoretical side that underpins the work you do. It’s hard to find people who tick all those boxes, so we’re pleased with the graduates of Design Computing that we’ve hired.”

EMMA CHEE

You don't have to be a programming genius or technical whiz to do DesComp. You just need to be interested in design and be genuinely curious about how things work. The Design Computing studio environment and small lectures make for an excellent creative environment. In the final third year studio, I developed a jacket that would guide the wearer through the city without the need of a screen.

At the time, I wanted to develop what I initially called the Urban NavJacket, but I knew the technology and my skills were lacking. So instead, I completed Honours, travelled, and then worked a full-time job for a year. Whilst in-between jobs I found a bit of time to work on my own projects. I started to reboot the old code, and at the same time I was fortunate enough to meet up with one of my Design Computing classmates who happened to work at a company eager to establish a 'wearables' division. They needed some ideas, so I was brought in as a researcher/consultant. From there, I began developing and they began marketing what is now called the Navigate Jacket. The jacket was most recently featured in Vogue and showcased at GroupM’s mLab, alongside the likes of Google Glass. I think a lot of it was luck, but also knowing which trend was on the rise.

GARRY TAULU

I started working at Syple Technologies towards the end of my 2nd year of the Design Computing program. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work on huge projects that span various industries which are being used by thousands of people everyday.

Studying in the Design Lab of FADP was a great experience. The lecturers and tutors were very supportive and it was great to be surrounded by such a diverse range of peers, united by a love of design, technology and all things geeky!

Studying the Design Computing program has given me the ability to be effective in my role of designing solutions for various clients. I learnt the very important skills of iterative design and ‘questioning everything’ along with enough technical knowledge to allow me to communicate with developers involved in projects.

My advice to current and future students is to continually build, whenever you find a little annoyance in the world try and design a solution for it.

Mark Mitchell

My studies in Design Computing have equipped me with a diverse range of technical skills and design methodologies that can be readily applied to solve problems in an innovative way, as well as practical skills that allow these solutions to be rapidly implemented and evaluated. The studio work on large-scale projects created a stimulating environment for teamwork, critique, and innovation, and allowed me to explore my creative interest: intersecting design with technology and art. I hope to stay surrounded by design as theory, design as practice, and design as art: applying my knowledge to creative projects, or researching new innovations in the field of interaction design.

Curriculum

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
SEMESTER 1
DECO1012 Design Programming
DECO1006 Design Thinking
DECO1014 Digital Media Production
DECO1015 Visual Communication
DESA1555 Safety Induction And Competency Unit
SEMESTER 1
INFO2120 Database Systems 1
DECO2010 Designing Social Media
2 electives
SEMESTER 1
DECO3100 Information Visualisation Design Studio
2 electives
SEMESTER 2
DECO1008 3D Modelling and Digital Fabrication
DECO1013 Sound Design and Physical Computing
2 electives
SEMESTER 2
DECO2200 Interaction Design Studio
2 electives
SEMESTER 2
DECO3200 Interactive Product Design Studio
2 electives

You will take a total of 60 credit points (typically 10 units) as electives. You must take 18 credit points of Technical Electives and 18 credit points of Arts Electives. At least 6 credit points from each of the Technical and Arts streams need to be at second year level or higher. Your remaining 24 credit points can be split across Technical, Arts and Faculty Electives. Some sample subject areas from which you choose your electives are suggested below:

Technical Electives Arts Electives Faculty Electives
Computer Science(INFO) Digital Cultures(ARIN) Object Design(AWSS)
Electrical Engineering(ELEC) Marketing and Advertising(MKTG) Independent Study
Mechatronics and Robotic Experimentation(MTRX) Psychology(PSYC) Photography(AWSS)
Information Technology(INFO) Physics(PHYS) Advanced Interaction Design(DECO)
Information Systems(ISYS) Nanoscience and Technology Principles of Animation(DECO)
Business Information Systems(ISYS) Web Design and Technologies (DECO)
Management Honours Preparation

Note: These are subject areas and not individual units. Some units from other Faculties may have prerequisite requirements. Check the handbook for more information on individual units.

Learn more about Design Computing electives.

How To Apply

Year 12 Applications (UAC Admission)

Year 12 applicants (and those who completed a gap-year in the year preceding the course commencement) must apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Applicants are eligible for the Flexible Entry scheme

Non-Year 12 Applicants under the age of 21 (UAC Admission)

If you have completed the HSC or equivalent, and/or tertiary study, apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Your application will be evaluated by combining your ATAR and any applicable tertiary grades.

Applicants are eligible for the Flexible Entry scheme.

Mature Age Entry Scheme

If you are over 21 years of age and have not completed the HSC, its equivalent or more than one year of tertiary study, you can complete an approved preparation course through the University Centre for Continuing Education (CCE). Once you have completed this course, you can apply through UAC for entry into your degree of choice.

Contact the University Centre for Continuing Education for more information. You can call the Centre on (02) 9351 2907 or visit their website.

International Applicants (Onshore):

If you are an international student completing your HSC or equivalent within Australia or New Zealand, apply through the University Admissions Centre (UAC). You will be considered for a place based on your ATAR score. You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme.

International Applicants (Offshore):

If you are an international student studying overseas (with the exception of students undertaking the HSC equivalents in New Zealand), you must apply directly through the University of Sydney’s course page.

You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme. Find out how to apply directly or where to find an agent at the dedicated international student homepage http://sydney.edu.au/future-students/international/undergraduate/

International undergraduate academic entry requirements

Check the International undergraduate academic entry grade requirement for Design Computing here

For a full list of international qualifications that are accepted by the University of Sydney for entry to undergraduate courses, visit the Recognised International Secondary Qualification page.

International Mature Age Applicants (Onshore and Offshore)

If you are over 21 years of age, are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen and have not completed the HSC, its equivalent or at least one year of tertiary study, you must apply through the University of Sydney’s International Office.

You are not eligible for the flexible entry scheme. Find out how to apply directly or where to find an agent at the dedicated international student homepage http://sydney.edu.au/future-students/international/undergraduate/

International undergraduate academic entry requirements

Check the International undergraduate academic entry grade requirement for Design Computing here

For a full list of international qualifications that are accepted by the University of Sydney for entry to undergraduate courses, visit the Recognised International Secondary Qualification page.

Transfers into the degree

There are no direct transfers into the Undergraduate Degree and all applications should be directed to UAC. Where students have partly completed an architectural degree at another institution, credit may be awarded. Please download our FAQ document(PDF) for more information on what standardized credit may be available to you.

Flexible Entry

The flexible entry scheme is available to Bachelor of Design Computing applicants who fall under one of the following categories:

  • Year 12 applicants

  • Non-Year 12 applicants under the age of 21

  • Mature age applicants who are Australian citizens.

Flexible entry is designed to assist the University of Sydney to identify students who may not have achieved the required ATAR, but nonetheless demonstrate an aptitude for studies in Design Computing.

More details on flexible entry are available on the Alternative Entry Pathways page.

FAQs

What subjects should I choose in Year 11?
There are no prerequisites but there are two subjects which are 'assumed knowledge'. These are Maths and Advanced English. Interpretive subjects such as History, Visual Arts and Geography are also recommended.

Where is the Faculty Located?
The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning is in the Wilkinson Building at 148 City Road, Darlington as are the Tin Sheds Gallery and Art Workshops. For more information, please see our How to find us page.

What textbooks do I need?
Most students do not buy textbooks as they have access to one of the best Architecture libraries in Australia, the Sci-Tech Library which is located close to the faculty. Some course notes are purchased throughout the program.

What equipment do I need?
On orientation day, you will be issued with a list of recommended equipment, along with prices and addresses of where to buy at a 10% student discount.

Do I have to be good at maths?
Mathematics is assumed knowledge, but it is not a prerequisite. This means you can get into our program without studying 2 unit maths. A maths elective is available in 1st year for students wishing to catch up.

Do I have to be able to draw - I have not done art or any technical drawing before?
You don’t need to have been taught drawing at school – we will equip you with the skills you need. Drawing is one of the design communication skills that is taught in first and second year.

Where can I park?
Most students come by bus or train. Many senior students and most international students live in the area. City Road has on-street parking which is subject to clear zones at peak hours and is heavily monitored. The Seymour Centre carpark on Shepherd Street offers parking for a reasonable daily rate and is only a few minutes walk from the Faculty.

Where can I eat?
We have a cafe in our building for coffee and food, otherwise you can eat at Wentworth Building on City Road about 100m from the faculty. There are lots of great cafes on campus as well as in Glebe and Newtown which are both in walking distance.

Any questions about Design Computing?
Contact the Acting Program Director Dr Oliver Bown

Student Work

James Dumesny
TransLens

This project demonstrates how physical information such as printed material or hand-written notes can be augmented with associated digital information. The goal is to enrich both the digital and physical content by providing a means to access them both at the same time.

The digital augmentation is provided by a projector positioned overhead. Markers on the table below determine where the digital augmentation will appear. The markers are constructed from reflective safety tape. They reflect infrared light from a series of infrared LEDs attached to the projector. This reflected light is picked up by an infrared camera and processed to find the position of each marker on the table.

Ben Murphy
John Duncan
Delineative Rocks

This work uses the Microsoft Kinect depth camera and an Arduino board to allow people to control a re-purposed remote-controlled car through gestures. Moving their arms people can steer the car, which leaves traces of this interaction on the canvas underneath.

This work plays on two themes. The first explores the ever-changing surroundings and inner workings of The Rocks. The second is the idea of appealing to the right audience; we are seeking an interested and engaged audience that is keen to participate. While the shops and business within The Rocks and the skyline are ever changing, The Rocks themselves remain unchanged and stand as a tribute to Australia’s past. Our project will not work unless the crowd interact and give the work their attention. It pushes the audience to take interest in the work in order for them to see its full potential.

Geoffrey Lazarus
The Story of Plastic

The Story of Plastic is an infographic that details the lifecycle of plastic from extraction to disposal, and its polluting effects on our environment. It identifies the harmful aspects of each stage of production including the flawed nature of the various forms of disposal. Supporting statistics and facts illustrate the scope and severity of the harm plastic causes to our environment, while solutions are offered to combat these issues.

Amelia Lewis
Ronan Brett
Lucy Matchett
Little Boxes

Little Boxes is an interactive, digital time-capsule that allows viewers not only to become a part of the piece directly but also to explore digital information in an interesting way. Various wooden boxes of different sizes, shapes and designs are scattered around the space, each with their own screen stored inside. On entering the space, visitors are prompted to do two things; log into their Facebook account and choose a month and year they wish to view.

In so doing the visitor will be able to view varying content through the boxes, relevant to the selected time. Whether it is a newspaper article, song, Facebook status or even a photo of you from that month. However, the boxes don’t just display your personal history; they combine your history with those who have previously viewed the work, allowing you as a viewer to interact with society’s past and your own personal history alongside those who have previously interacted with the work

Tamara Chahine
What the bus

This project explores ways of improving the experience of public transport in Sydney through commuter-led efforts. Sharing and visualising data about the performance of transport services can potentially aid designers, researchers or government bodies in deigning more informed transport solutions that adapt to the way services are actually used by commuters in Sydney.

What the bus’ (www.wtbus.net) is a mobile application designed to allow commuters to share information about the performance of their buses in Sydney. The application allows users to easily contribute information about the location, lateness and fullness of their buses while they wait

This information is then combined with existing timetable information and fed back to commuters in a number of different ways: first, by enabling users to view real-time reports about their buses; and second, in the form of various data visualisations.

Ryan Gavan
Austin Lin
Morgan Carter
Gangs of the Rocks

This game pits the Gangs of the Rocks, who dominated the Rocks area in the late 1800s, against each other in arcade style mini games. Users are prompted to scan their fingerprint when they first approach and from this they are assigned to a gang. Their fingerprint is then stored in a database; repeated visits will assign them to the same gang, they have no choice

Each gang has advantages and disadvantages, and the gangs are not evenly balanced. Some may be significantly better than others, but the player can do nothing about this. They play the games with the skill set they’re assigned.