Digital Experience Design / Fall 2016

Assignment Overview

Exercise: Speculative Communication

Due: Friday, 2 December 2016
Submit via Canvas
HER-V 403 | Fall 2016
Instructor: Aaron Ganci


Design the concept for a communication platform using near-future technology.


Today, we have many outlets for communication but they are all driven by fairly limiting technology. We are forced to translate our thoughts/actions/emotions into written or spoken language. What if that wasn’t the case? Our communication is also very one-sided, where most of the decisions about the connection are made by the sender. What if the receiver had some control as well? How can we make communication more ‘desirable’ for people in various situations.

We are just around the corner from much more immersive, adaptive digital environments. In this project, you will define a communication platform that leverages commercial technology that is likely to become available in the next 10 years (or so). I want you to push the boundaries on how people might communicate. Think deeply about what might be communicated and how.

Since your solution will utilize technology that may not exist today, you need to devise a way to share the concept. The deliverable here is not a refined set of ‘screens’ but a concise, sharable narrative that describes the problem and solution concept. You will likely need to consider more narrative format (illustrated storyboard, animation, video, or website) to tell your story.


  • Identify a communication protocol made difficult (or limited) by today’s technology.
  • Diverge on the idea of what could be communicated (thoughts/feelings/status/etc).
  • Explore the potential of near-future technology.
  • Diverge on ways to address the problems in the context.
  • Rapid prototype a solution through low-fidelity prototypes.
  • Present your concept in a clear and concise way.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Identify emerging technological trends and identify how they might be leveraged in experiential design solutions.
  • Use a concept scenario as a tool to describe an interaction design concept.
  • Use motion or animation as a tool for communication.


A narrative (storyboard, website, video, animation, etc) describing the new communication experience. I encourage you to think about using motion in some way to describe your design.


This assignment has a total of 75 points. You will be graded as an individual on the following criteria:

30 pts

Desirability of experience

10 pts

Useful (it is obvious why the new concept is necessary)

10 pts

Usable (the product seems like it can be used successfully by the user; functionality is easily understood and accessible)

10 pts

Enjoyable (the solution is presented as being something that will satisfy an experience or life goal of the user)

35 pts

Communication of future experience

10 pts

Clarity of narrative style (story is easy to follow and engaging)

10 pts

Visual refinement of narrative format (polished presentation)

10 pts

Design Solution is presented in clear detail

5 pts


10 pts

Novel use of near-future technologies

10 pts

Your concept utilizes near-future technology in a novel way


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

Category % of total
Communication Platform 70%
Exercise: Speculative Communication 20%
Reflection and Process Journal 10%

*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 all requested methods (OnCourse, email, printed, 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