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User Experience Design in Heritage - ARC00094M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Patrick Gibbs
  • Credit value: 5 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

User Experience Design in Heritage examines how apps are created within archaeology and heritage to best present interpretations to multiple audiences. Disseminating these assets publicly is therefore a carefully-considered, complex undertaking that draws upon a variety of academic disciplines: media studies, heritage and museum studies, human-computer interactions, user-interface and experience (UX). Students will learn good design principles, structure and navigation, information layering and device tailoring as they design their own heritage app. 

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2021-22

Module aims

Archaeology and heritage studies generates a huge amount of fascinating information about the past.  Much of this is in the form of digital assets, such as movies and images, 3D visualisations, auralisations, databases, etc.  But while such media is engaging and entertaining, on their own they are uncontextualised. Presenting them to the public requires supporting information/metadata that explains and contextualises, packaged within a conceptual structure and visual interface that delivers them in an engaging, accessible way.  Disseminating these assets publicly is therefore a carefully-considered, complex undertaking that draws upon a variety of academic disciplines: media studies, heritage and museum studies, human-computer interactions, user-interface and experience (UX). Understanding these concepts is now a vital skill to those wishing to deliver or commission interpretation in heritage environments.

Students on this course will learn the principles of good interface design and implementation, including:

  • Graphic design fundamentals, to create accessible and engaging digital layouts.

  • Basics of structure and navigation, to assess assets/datasets and conceive of the best ways of structuring them to enable clear and easy access.

  • Information layering, to ensure that multiple audiences and use-cases are accommodated within a digital output.

  • Device tailoring, to learn what devices are suitable for presentation in different situations, and what technologies can be employed to enable delivery.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Engage with digital media of various kinds (sound, visuals, etc)

  • Understand how to bring media together into virtual environments

  • Understand how different media formats communicate to different demographics

  • Create a media montage

  • Understand important concepts such as copyright and the ethics of visual presentation

Module content

To put these ideas into practice, students will be introduced to a variety of software that can be used to create user interfaces for the web, mobile devices and touchscreens, including Adobe XD, Adobe Animate and HTML5/CSS/Javascript web design.  During the four sessions, they will work towards a final ‘output’ project (supplied or of their own choosing), either individually or as part of a group. These can incorporate elements of visitor site orientation (eg. interactive maps, etc), object catalogues, audio representations or perhaps simple game-based interactions.  The outputs will then be presented via the chosen medium at the end of the final session (or potentially as part of a wider show-and-tell session for staff/students from the rest of the dept).


Task Length % of module mark
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
5 minute presentation of multimedia resource
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
1000 word written critique of a virtual or immersive heritage experience
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be given within 4 weeks of the presentation.

Indicative reading

Roussou, M., & Katifori, A. (2018). Flow, Staging, Wayfinding, Personalization: Evaluating User Experience with Mobile Museum Narratives. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 2(2), 32.

Flynn, B. (2008). Augmented Visualisation: Designing Experience for an Interpretative Cultural Heritage. 2008 12th International Conference Information Visualisation, 447–452.

Opitz, R. S., & Johnson, T. D. (n.d.). Interpretation at the Controller’s Edge: Designing Graphical User Interfaces for the Digital Publication of the Excavations at Gabii (Italy). Open Archaeology, 1(1).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.