Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 800810-B-6
Aesthetics in Communication
Course info
Course module800810-B-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionDutch
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Commun. and Inform. Sciences; TSH: Department Communication and Cognition;
Is part of
B Communication and Information Sciences
dr. R. van Enschot
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J. Schilperoord
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
Starting block
SM 2
Course mode
RemarksCaution: this information is subject to change
Registration openfrom 20/01/2021 up to and including 20/08/2021

Students are able to:

1. explain the important theories in the field of aesthetics (e.g. Fluency theory, Appraisal theory);

2. explain how the aesthetic experience of an artifact relates to its effects on usability and persuasion; 

3. explain and evaluate methods that can be used to measure the aesthetic experience and effects;

4. analyse and evaluate aesthetic artifacts on the basis of the theories discussed;

5. manipulate an aesthetic artifact, theoretically justify and test the manipulation(s) in terms of aesthetic experience and aesthetic effect (usability, persuasion).


New media such as apps and websites are not only about usability but also about pleasure. You prefer to use an application that delivers pleasure and use it for a longer period of time. A pleasurable experience is also called an 'aesthetic experience'. The communication products that can evoke such an aesthetic experience are also called aesthetic artifacts. Examples are interactive applications, websites, infographics and advertisements. Aesthetics is important for anyone working in the field of communication and media design.

In this course, three related topics will be discussed. First, properties of aesthetic artifacts are addressed at the level of form (e.g., Gestalt) and content (e.g., visual incongruities). This knowledge helps you to analyse, evaluate and design aesthetic artifacts. Secondly, influential theories about the aesthetic experience are discussed, such as the Arousal Theory, Fluency Theory and Appraisal Theory: why do we like what we like? Thirdly, aesthetic effects are discussed. For example, what is the link between aesthetic pleasure and usability? And between aesthetic pleasure and persuasion? The methods for measuring aesthetic experience and effects are also discussed.


(1) Individual analysis. You analyse an existing, self-selected aesthetic artifact based on the theory discussed (20% of the final grade),

(2) Group assignment: empirical research project. You formulate a research question based on the theory discussed, choose an aesthetic artifact from one of your individual analyses, manipulate this aesthetic artifact and compare the different versions in terms of aesthetic experience, usability and/or effectiveness. You report your findings in a research report (40% of the final grade).

(3) Exam consisting of open questions about the theory (40% of the final grade).

All tests need a minimum of a 6 to pass the course.

Contact person
dr. R. van Enschot
Timetable information
Aesthetics in Communication
Required materials
List of literature
Palmer, S.E., Schloss, K.B., & Sammartine, J. (2013). Visual aesthetics and human preference. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 77-107, doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100504 Tractinsky, N. (2013). Visual aesthetics. In M. Soegaard, & R.F. Dam (Red.), The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction (2nd Ed.). The Interaction Design Foundation. Online beschikbaar via
To be announced
Verdere literatuur wordt aangekondigd via Canvas.
Recommended materials
Individual analysis

Group assignment


Final Result

Kies de Nederlandse taal