Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of the Arts, English and Media


The user experience of disruptive technologies is insufficiently understood by industry and academia as discourse is typically centered around the impact of new technologies on existing services, business models, and their respective industries. This thesis seeks to address this gap in knowledge and develops an original framework, the Disruption-Experience Model (D-E Model), for identifying and describing user experiences of technologies that have been perceived as disruptive. The D-E model involves three interlinking concepts: stabilisation, which is a sustaining experience whereby thoughts, feelings and practices are reinforced; destabilisation, which is a dysfunctional experience whereby thoughts, feelings and practices are undermined; and transformation, which is a novel experience whereby thoughts, feelings and practices are dramatically shifting. The methodology for the thesis draws on principles from ethnography, and 28 participants were recruited from the city of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia for the investigation of two case studies: the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service Netflix and the augmented reality (AR) mobile gaming application Pokémon GO (PoGO). By observing online discussions, talking to Netflix and PoGO users directly through interviews and participating in walk-alongs, I found that the user experience diverges from some of the established perceptions identified from the literature and public discourse. Netflix has been perceived as a dramatic disruption for the Australian television industry, but in terms of the user experience it was mostly a continuation of existing viewing practices, with internet piracy as the middle-man. PoGO was perceived as disruptive in different ways by different people, with game changing implications for the AR, marketing and mobile gaming industries. However, users were less interested in the innovative aspects of the game and more excited about experiencing Pokémon in a new way and being part of a historical, cultural moment. This thesis provides nuance to conversations of disruptive technologies by including the point of view of the user, and the D-E Model can be useful for understanding experiences of other technologies—or potential disruptions—in the future.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.