Digital Experience Design I / Fall 2015

Assignment Overview

Civic Web Design + Open Data

Due: 16 December 2015, 12:00pm
Submit via Canvas
HER-V 403 | Fall 2015
Instructor: Aaron Ganci


The Open Data movement has been gaining momentum over the last few years. Civic organizations, governments, and even private groups have been publishing huge data sets for the public to access and utilize for themselves.

Broadly,“a piece of data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.” (From

People-centered designers are uniquely positioned to take these raw data sets and format or present them in desirable ways. Even though the data is open and publicly accessible, the vast majority of citizens don’t know how to access the data or make sense of it. That’s where you come in.

For this project, you will find a context where open data could improve a citizen’s experience with their community. To get you started, the Open Indy Brigade has provided us with a overview of existing open data sources. You will integrate one or more open data sets like these to create solutions that enable citizens to utilize this information in a desirable way.

Open data sources

Indy Open Brigade's Review of Indiana and Select Federal Open Data Sites

Project objective

The prompt for this project revolves around civic-mindedness and civic agency. When formulating your project, you should ask yourself a HMI question like this…“How might I improve a citizen’s experience or relationship with their city through open data?” or “How might I enable citizens to be more informed about their city or community through open data?” “How might the government make the data they collect more accessible to citizens?”

Reading and Links

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: Data and Design in Innovative Citizen Experiences by Cyd Harrel

Smart Chicago

MIT's Civic Data Design Lab


This project will serve as a practice round for your capstone work. That said, you will define the deliverables for this project. Your output must involve a digital interface in some way. How you chose to prototype or communicate your solution is up to you. I also need a persona + goals one-sheet (printed 8.5x11).

Grading criteria

For this project, you will be graded on the quality of three facets of your work: concept, execution, and communication.

1. Concept

How strong is your solution concept? Convince me that working in this context is a useful endeavor.

2. Execution

What level is the quality of visual design and attention to desirability triad.

3. Communication

How well have you communicated the problem, concept, and design solution as unified narrative (Do I get a clear idea of what your product does and how it improves a citizen’s relationship or experience with their community?). Curate the viewer’s (a.k.a. my) experience with your artifacts. Giving me a pile of files at the end of this project will not result in an awesome grade.


Suggested process steps:

  1. Find a problem through either primary or secondary research (in what contexts could open data improve a citizen’s experience?)
  2. Identify representative data (what kind of data is needed to facilitate this experience?)
  3. Conduct iterative prototype process.
  4. Generate High-fidelity mocks.
  5. Communicate problem and solution.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this project, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the benefits (personal, civically, etc.) of using your design ability for civic good.
  • Discuss the importance of open data.
  • Isolate civic-focused problem spaces that can be improved with technology/open data.
  • Format raw data in a desirable way.
  • Individually identify appropriate deliverables for the task at hand.
  • Curate the way you communicate your design.


Category % of total
Project 1: Pay for parking 10%
Project 2: Sharing with Tech 50%
Project 3: Civic Web Design 40%

*Categories and percentage breakdown subject to change.

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%
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