Herron School of Art and Design

Digital Experience Design I

Syllabus / Fall 2017


HER-V 403




MWF 12:00-2:30pm


Aaron Ganci


Building off content covered in HER V-400 (Designing People-Centered Experiences), Digital Experience Design is an 8-week course focused on people-centered experience design that integrates digital media. By facilitating smaller exercises on digital experience design, this course prepares visual communication design majors for more expansive work in their capstone course, Digital Experience Design II.


This course provides students with an introduction on how to plan for and integrate digital media into experience design solutions. Topics include the use of visual design principles in digital interfaces, narrative construction as a design activity (storyboarding), digital prototyping methods, usability analysis methods, digital user persona development, and a discussion on how trends in emerging technology affect design. Outcomes are wide ranging and include prototypes of mobile or tablet software applications, websites, digital installations, dynamic environments through ubiquitous computing, or large-format screen-based interactions; the only commonality among the outcomes is the inclusion of digital technology.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Conduct observational research with the intention of designing interactions within a digital experience.
  • Use digital experience and interaction design industry terminology knowledgeably.
  • Write personas that inform digital interaction design.
  • Use a concept scenario as a tool to describe an interaction design concept.
  • Prototype artifacts in order to conduct usability analysis tests.
  • Conduct evaluative tests to evaluate the success of a design solution.
  • Identify emerging technological trends and identify how they might be leveraged in experiential design solutions.


There are few principles that should define our collective approach this semester.

Be present, not perfect.

"Design, as a problem-solving activity can never, by definition, yield one right answer: it will alway produce an infinite number of answers, some 'righter' and some 'wronger.' The 'rightness' of any design solution will depend on the meaning which we invest the arrangement [of design elements]."

-Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World, 1971

Outside of a few issues (spelling, craft, promptness), I will never ask you to be perfect in this class. Your daily goal should be to make your best effort, learn from your mistakes, and continuously improve (even if by very small amounts). Rather than executing perfect solutions, focus on being present in class, during critique, and discussions and I promise that you will be a much better designer by the end of the semester.

Be smart about your data

Losing your computer (either from a software crash, hardware failure, theft, or otherwise) is an inevitability. Embrace this and plan for it: have a plan to backup your computer. I recommend having a two-pronged backup strategy. You should have one hard backup on an external hard drive somewhere. If you use a Mac, make sure Time Machine is connected and use it regularly. The other backup should be remote. I recommend using Backblaze for a reliable, seamless, and relatively inexpensive experience: https://secure.backblaze.com/r/019kbx (affiliate link, includes 1 month free).

Be an informed citizen

As a student, you have access to a lot of great resources for free or reduced prices. Take advantage of these while you can. Get your news from somewhere other than Facebook. For example, the Washington Post offers a free subscription for students. Learn how to access it here: http://time.com/money/4671856/get-free-subscription-to-the-washington-post/. You can get the New York Times for only $1/week (https://www.nytimes.com/subscriptions/edu/lp8LQFK.html). Wherever you get your news, get good at assessing the credibility of what you see.

Be forthright

To do our best work together, we need to have a good working relationship. Trust is the cornerstone. Do your best, and if you fall short, be humble and ready to learn. If you need to miss class for any reason, just tell me. Trust me, I've heard it all.

Honesty also works both ways. If something is not going as you would like in this class, tell me. I'm ready to talk about it and work through it. I will always be honest with you, please be honest with me.


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

Week Class Topic

16 Oct

No Class: Fall Break

18 Oct

Introduce Project 1. Meet with CS students to discuss functionality. Lecture, development process (agile); “minimum viable product”

Cooper Chapter 11 (Printout), McKay Chapter 1

20 Oct

Syllabus overview. Problem exploration; How to define requirements.


23 Oct

Discuss concepts, refine them into one workflow. Discuss branding concepts.

McKay Chapter 2

Workflow concepts, branding concepts

25 Oct

Present workflow and wireframes to CS students. Return to studio and make revisions that come out of meeting.

Workflow concepts

27 Oct

Develop brand, have platforms selected. Begin individual design of platform implementation.


30 Oct

Review and refine individual designs with instructor.

1 Nov

Check-in with CS students. Define necessary deliverables needed for next week.

3 Nov

Review and refine individual designs with instructor. (Prepare studio for Designing Digital Experiences Workshop.)

McKay Chapter 3


6 Nov

Check-in with CS students.

8 Nov

Check-in with CS students. Define necessary deliverables needed for next week.

McKay Chapter 4

10 Nov

Design critique in VCD Studio


13 Nov

Check-in with CS students. Define necessary deliverables needed for next week.

15 Nov

Check-in with CS students. Define necessary deliverables needed for next week.

17 Nov

Discuss Project 2 progress with instructor. Discuss Documentation for Project 1 (begin animations if haven’t already).


20 Nov

Work Day

22 Nov

No Class: Thanksgiving Break

24 Nov

No Class: Thanksgiving Break

25 Nov

The Game (Go Bucks!)


27 Nov

Critique: Project 1

Draft of Project 1 Deliverables

McKay Chapter 4

29 Nov

Check-in with CS students. Define necessary deliverables needed for next week.

Lecture: Getting a Job.

1 Dec

Final Project refinements, prepare presentations


4 Dec

Deliver final presentation with CS students about product concept and MVP to ‘client’

Lecture: Capstone Project: Capstone project overview and preparation

6 Dec

Deliver final presentation with CS students about product concept and MVP to ‘client’

8 Dec

Project 1 Deliverables Due; Show and Tell; Party?


11 Dec

Final session


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

Category % of total
Communication Platform 85%
Reflection and Process Journal 15%

*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


Required: McKay, Everett. 2013. UI is Communication: How to Design Intuitive, User Centered Interfaces by Focusing on Effective Communication (Amazon / IU Library)

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

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

Rogers, Yvonne, Helen Sharp, and Jennifer Preece. 2014. Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction. Chichester: Wiley.

Saffer, Dan. 2007. Designing for interaction: creating smart applications and clever devices. Berkeley CA: New Riders.

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.


Attendance Policy

Your growth as a designer is directly linked to your presence in class and your level of engagement while you’re here. Faculty design our assignments and conduct our lectures, discussions, and critiques as learning experiences that are unique to being in school. So show up, and when you’re here, be here. If there’s an emergency message you need to deal with during class time, go into the hallway and come back when you’re done.

Attendance will be taken every day so we can track trends. If you start missing a significant percentage of class sessions or we see a decline in your work, we will request a meeting with you to discuss the cause.  As with all IUPUI courses, we follow the Administrative Withdrawal Policy. This policy basically says that if you miss 50% of the sessions in the first quarter of the course, you may be administratively withdrawn from the course. That withdrawal may have financial ramifications as you may no longer be eligible for a tuition refund. Read more about Administrative Withdrawal Policy.

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, Responsibilities, and Conduct.

Other important links

  • For students with documented disabilities, please visit Adaptive Educational Services.
  • The university has several policies and procedures when dealing with emergencies. You can find many of them, including Active Shooter situations, Bomb threats, Fire, and more at Protect IU. If you have not signed up for IU-Notify, you should now. This service keeps you informed of emergency or weather related events happening on campus. You can sign up here.
  • Here are links to the Fall 2017 Academic Calendar and Finals schedule.

Change Log

Nothing to report