Herron School of Art and Design

Designing People-Centered Experiences

Syllabus / Fall 2015


HER-V 400


33019 & 33019


MWF 12:00–2:30pm (8w1)


Aaron Ganci
Helen Sanematsu


Designing People-Centered Experiences is a succinct, 8-week course about the experience design industry and it’s processes. This course provides a methodological overview of experience design from the perspective of a visual communication designer. By exposing the range of design activities associated with experience design, this course prepares visual communication design majors to make an informed decision about which capstone course they will take in the second 8 weeks of the Fall and the Spring semesters.


This course provides students hands-on experience with context-based design research to facilitate a better understanding of the experience design activities. Special attention is devoted to exposing the similarities and differences between the Service Experience, Interaction Design, and Interface Design professions, their disciplinary activities, deliverables, and process. Students will apply research tools and methods to seek better understanding of human factors (issues of audiences and contexts), and apply strategic design tools for generating and integrating solutions. Students will engage in individual and team-based approaches to problem solving.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • frame the context or circumstances of a design problem in an insightful way
  • conduct research by adopting appropriate tools and methods to investigate design contexts
  • visualize an existing experience and its parts
  • draft a plan on how to address weaknesses in an experience
  • describe the relationship between people, interfaces, interactions, and experiences
  • enact a problem solving process that involves the simultaneous creation and evaluation of multiple alternatives
  • establish purposeful relationships among elements of a solution and between the solution and its context
  • identify personal strengths within the experience design field to better inform decisions about their capstone project


In the schedule below, you can see each day's class activity. When assignments are due or you need to bring materials to class, it is noted in the schedule with this icon:

Schedule is subject to change at the instructor's discretion

Project overviews:

Week Class Topic

24 Aug

Course intro and syllabus; What is an experience and how do we talk about it? What are the elements of an experience? Wake up to now Mapping exercise.

26 Aug

Intro to Project 1: Conveying and Articulating Experiences; Define groups and places for Project 1; Discuss methods for observation

28 Aug

Discuss initial data; Analysis of data in order to convey; Overview to deliverables for Project 1.

Initial observational data


31 Aug

Analysis of additional data; work on Convey demonstration

Second round of observational data

2 Sept

Convey experience Demo Day 1

4 Sept

Convey experience Demo Day 2


7 Sept

No Class: Labor Day

9 Sept

Build rough (on wall w/post-its) Articulate map

Individual sketches of rough map.

11 Sept

Designing Articulate high-fidelity map


14 Sept

Refine high-fidelity map

16 Sept

Final critique of printed Articulate maps. Introduce Project 2: You gotta eat. Define groups by mode, Start investigating journeys

Articulate deliverable due

18 Sept

Mode groups present list of journeys, Each group selects one journey, start to articulate experience with map, investigate back-end of experience

Present list of journeys


21 Sept

Journey map in-progress critique (group meetings with instructors)

23 Sept

Select value and begin investigating

Journey articulation map (pre-value)

25 Sept

Investigate value, begin exploring concepts on how to integrate value into experience


28 Sept

Small group presentations about value integration concept

Presentation: User goal statements, Concept for integrated solution, initial artifact concept sketches

30 Sept

Small group presentations about value integration concept

Presentation: User goal statements, Concept for integrated solution, initial artifact concept sketches

2 Oct

Work through issues of high-level branding/visual design elements


5 Oct

Artifact prototyping and testing

7 Oct

Artifact prototyping and testing

9 Oct

Artifact prototyping and testing


12 Oct

Narrative construction

14 Oct

Narrative construction

16 Oct

Narrative construction

You gotta eat. Group narrative (including articulation map) and individual artifact designs due


Your grade will be broken down into the categories below*.

Category % of total
Project 1: Convey and Articulate 30%
Project 2: You gotta eat. 70%

*Categories and percentage breakdown subject to change.

How Attendance might impact your grade

It is important that you are present for class. Excused absences (course conflicts, illness, death in the family, etc.) will be allowed with documentation. You have two unexcused absences in this course. Every absence after three (starting with the fourth absence) will result in a 5% reduction in your overall grade. For example, if you miss 4 classes, you will receive a 5% reduction; if you miss 5 classes, you will receive a 10% reduction. We hope that this policy stresses the importance of being present and active in class.

Absences % reduction from overall grade
1-3 0%
4 5%
5 10%
6 20%
7 30%
8 50%

Late work

Every assignment in this course will be due at the beginning of the class of its defined due date. Work that is not handed in via the method requested by the instructor (OnCourse, email, etc) by the predetermined time will be considered late. The consequences of late submission fall on sliding scale, increasing in severity over time. If late work is handed in within the following parameters, the grade will be reduced in the following ways:

Due date/time – same day, end of class -10%
Same day, end of class – same day, end of day (11:59pm) -15%
Next day (midnight – 11:59pm) -20%
Any subsequent day -50%

Focus and attention

As with anything, what you get out of this class is directly related to what you put into it. When Helen or Aaron are lecturing, we expect your undivided attention. Working on projects for other courses during this class time is not acceptable. We live in the 21st Century so many (or most) of you will use computers to take notes during lectures or discussions. Please resist the urge to use that time to use social media, watch youtube, etc.

Grading scale
A+ 100-98
A 97-93
A- 92-90
B+ 89-87
B 86-83
B- 82-80
C+ 79-77
C 76-73
C- 72-70
D+ 69-67
D 66-63
D- 62-60
F 59-0


Required: This is Service Design Thinking, Stickdorn and Schneider, BIS press Design Thinker

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. “In The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage”, B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore

B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. "Welcome to the Experience Economy." Harvard Business Review.

Buchanan, R. (1995). “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking”, in The Idea of Design, Buchanan and Margolin, eds. Cambridge: MIT Press, pp 3-20

Garrett, Jesse J. 2010. "The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond" (2nd Edition).

Cooper, Alan. 2014. "About Face 4: The Essentials of Interaction Design."

Career Services

Herron Talent

HerronTalent.com is Herron’s online job and internship database where employers on- and off-campus post full-time, part-time, freelance, and internship opportunities. Students can login using their IUPUI username and passphrase to browse jobs and contact employers when they see opportunities they like.

Herron Career Services

Herron Career Services guides students through the process of career exploration and assists with cover letter and resume writing, job search strategies, interview techniques, and lots more. Students can make an appointment with the career advisor at www.herron.setmore.com. They can check out the Herron Career Services website at www.herron.iupui.edu/student-jobs for resources that can help them find jobs and internships while in school and connect with opportunities, professional organizations, and other venues for professional development that can be useful both while in school and after graduation.


General Course Policies

All university approved course policies apply to this course. To reference the policies about course withdrawal, disabilities, academic integrity, and more, please see http://registrar.iupui.edu/course_policies.html.

Academic Integrity

Pay careful attention to the university policies on Academic misconduct. Cheating, fabrication, dishonesty, interference, and especially plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course. You can find more information about these topics in Indiana University's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilites, and Conduct.

Other important links

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  • Here are links to the 2015 Academic Calendar and Finals schedule.