Designing People-Centered Experiences / Fall 2018

Assignment Overview

An Experience and Its Parts

Due: Friday 12 October
Beginning of Class
Submit via Canvas
HER-V 400 | Fall 2018
Instructor: Aaron Ganci and
Helen Sanematsu


Redesign the experience of being a Herron student over time.


In this project, we will ask the fundamental question "How might we improve the experience for Herron students over time?" As current Herron students in your final year with the school, you are experts in the student experience from several perspectives.

You will work in groups of 4 to identify a specific problem space to work with, however, please consider the full range of a student's experience with Herron:

  • College Discovery + Decision
  • Application
  • Transition to College
  • First Year Experience
  • Excelling in the major
  • Graduation
  • Alumni/Advocate

You can choose to design an overall experience that spans this 15+ year journey or identify a specific segment within it. The scale of the experience you design will depend on the scope of the problems you identify.

You must design a continual sequence of phases and touchpoints. Each group member should align with one phase. Each phase needs an artifact. All the in the service artifacts need to feel like a 'set' of related items. A viewer of your final piece should say “I understand the problem they were trying to solve. I can visualize the new experience. Based on what they showed me, it looks like a really good idea.”

Project Process

Use this process structure as a way to start your work:

  1. Understand current situation and problem
  2. Devise design research (or other) methods will give you a clear picture of what exists today
  3. Communicate the existing state of the experience in terms of stakeholders, touchpoints, artifacts, action flow, etc.
  4. Propose a prototype of the new experience and gather feedback from others.
  5. Design flow of the new experience; identify touchpoints and artifacts within an experience map (see 'Deliverables' below).
  6. Design tangible artifacts, objects, interactions, or procedures necessary to facilitate the experience.
  7. Tell the story of your new experience in a concise, sharable format. (hall display)

Learning Outcomes

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

  • draft a plan on how to address weaknesses in an existing context through a system-level solution
  • 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


As a group, you need to produce one Experience Map that narrates your designed experience. Individually, you will each design one artifact or interface that is part of the experience journey.

The map and the artifact designs will be graded separately. Your overall grade for this project will be calculated by averaging together the two grades together.

However, each person can determine how much weight each grade receives. For example, if you take on most of the work for the map, you may weigh the map grade at 80% and the artifact grade at 20% of the overall grade. If you balanced the work, you could weigh them at 50/50.

Ultimately, you will need to deliver a printed poster display (consisting of a map of your designed experience and poster for each of your designed deliverables) and submit PDF versions to Canvas. If it helps describe your design, you may also deliver a separate printed or physical prototype.


You can receive up to 200 points for this assignment. It will be assessed on the following criteria:

Individual Artifact/Interface/Deliverable (100 points total)

Desirability (35)

(Considered elements: Clear that the solution is useful, useable, and enjoyable based on user goals)

Refinement (35)

(Considered elements (all related the artifact itself): Masterful use of the elements of visual design to improve clarity and aesthetics, the design feels integrated with the overall experience, selection and use of type, color, imagery, final prototype produced at an appropriate fidelity)

Communication (20)

(Considered elements (all related the communication about the artifact): effective use of narrative to describe function and experience, visual design and layout of poster, professionalism of artifact renderings)

Craft (10)

(Considered elements: spelling, cropping, resolution, scuffs/dings, how it hangs, etc)

Experience Map (100 points total)

Exposition of concept

Storytelling (30 pts)

(Considered elements: engaging narrative, deliberate effort to show alignment, visual design used to provide emphasis, it is clear when we should move to the individual posters)

Visual Design (30 pts)

(Considered elements: type choice and use, color choice and use, layout, image quality, overall consistency of visual system/gestalt)


Global desirability (30 pts)

(Considered elements: the goals are evident and relevant, the overall experience meets the persona's goals, thoughts and feelings are clear and help tell the story, you’ve made your story show off your concept as well as possible?? Uh oh where does this go, if it’s even relevant?)

Craft (10)

(Considered elements: spelling, cropping, resolution, scuffs/dings, overall installation, etc)


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

Category % of total
Articulating Experiences 40%
An Experience and Its Parts 60%

* 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 (Canvas, 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. Many 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