Herron School of Art and Design

Digital Experience Design II

Syllabus / Spring 2017


HER-V 413


32063 (8:30)
28123 (12:00)


MWF 8:30–11:00am
MWF 12:00–2:30pm


Aaron Ganci


Building off content covered in HER V-4013 (Digital Experience Design I), Digital Experience Design II is focused on the design of a people-centered experience that center around digital media. This course requires senior visual communication design students to reflect upon and utilize the sum of their acquired skills in a final, experience design-driven thesis project. Emphasis is placed on how to utilize technology and digital media to enhance people’s physical, analog experiences. Each student works with real people to identify a problem and craft a solution using the principles of Visual Communication Design, Interaction Design, and User Experience Design. The output of this course will facilitate a series of internal and external evaluation and presentation venues at the end of the semester.


This course provides students with an outlet to plan and enact a semester-long design research project. This project, serving as a capstone to the VCD curriculum, is centered around the design of a digital product or service experience that impacts or improves the lives of real people. Students will leverage many of their acquired skills to successfully complete the course. Topics include prototyping for digital media, trends in emerging technology, people-centered design research methods, usability testing methods 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.

Structure and Process

This class meets 7.5 hours each week. Most class sessions will be structured with individual advising sessions and presentations at each project milestone. As you are in in control of the progression and outcomes of your project, you should utilize class time effectively: meet with the instructor(s), prompt a critique, pilot you solutions, ask questions, and work smart. Additional activities (lectures, tutorials, critique, etc.) may be added to class session at the instructor’s discretion. You are expected to work a minimum of 9 hours outside of class per week to achieve the class goals.

Each student will use a common process to complete their project:

  1. Conduct primary or secondary research.
  2. Identify problem space and audience.
  3. Pose hypothesis.
  4. Conduct landscape analysis.
  5. Define design criteria necessary for successful design.
  6. Develop (at least 3) low fidelity design prototype concepts.
  7. Evaluate low fidelity designs.
  8. Document evaluative research findings.
  9. Refine one design concept to medium fidelity.
  10. Evaluate medium fidelity design.
  11. Document evaluative research findings.
  12. Refine design concept to high fidelity.
  13. Evaluate high fidelity design.
  14. Refine high fidelity design based on evaluative findings.
  15. Collect entire process into cohesive narrative, output as presentation and thesis document.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Define a problem context area that is both urgent and personal.
  • Combine human-centered research methods together to develop a unique and appropriate research plan.
  • 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.
  • Translate a complex, messy research and design process into a succinct narrative.
  • Analyze and discuss how past educational experiences have accumulated and informed design work.


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

9 Jan

Course Introduction; Discussion: the senior thesis process; Intro to Connected exercise

11 Jan

Connected exercise; Check-in on capstone questions

13 Jan

Connected exercise; Check-in on capstone questions

Proposed project/contexts due


16 Jan

No Class: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

18 Jan

Discuss project proposals

20 Jan

Conduct primary or secondary research within context


23 Jan

Conduct primary or secondary research within context

25 Jan

Writing refinement

27 Jan

Introduction to landscape analysis

Research Justification Document due

4 30 Jan

Conduct landscape analysis

1 Feb

Conduct landscape analysis

3 Feb

Introduction to prototyping process; begin low-fidelity prototyping

Landscape analysis due

5 6 Feb

Low-fidelity prototyping

8 Feb

Low-fidelity prototyping

10 Feb

Evaluative testing or individual discussion with instructor

6 13 Feb

Evaluative testing or individual discussion with instructor

15 Feb

Medium-fidelity prototyping

17 Feb

Medium-fidelity prototyping or evaluation

7 20 Feb

Medium-f idelity prototyping

22 Feb

Medium-fidelity prototyping

In-progress critique

24 Feb

High-fidelity prototyping

8 27 Feb

High-fidelity prototyping

1 Mar

High-fidelity prototyping

3 Mar

High-fidelity prototyping

9 6 Mar

In-progress, high-fidelity critique.

Individual discussion with instructor

8 Mar

Individual discussion with instructor

10 Mar

Prototyping process overview document.

10 13 Mar Spring Break
15 Mar Spring Break
17 Mar Spring Break
11 20 Mar No class: Faculty retreat
22 Mar

Discuss final deliverables. Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

24 Mar

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

12 27 Mar

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

29 Mar

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

31 Mar

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

13 3 Apr

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

5 Apr

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

7 Apr

Final revisions to design; Individual discussion with instructor

14 10 Apr

Presentation Day 1

12 Apr

Presentation Day 2

14 Apr

Presentation Day 3

15 17 Apr

Document Refinement, Show Prep, or Poster design

19 Apr

Document Refinement, Show Prep, or Poster design

21 Apr

Thesis Document Due

16 24 Apr

Show Prep

26 Apr

Show Prep

28 Apr

Show Prep

Finals 3 May Capstone Exhibition: Professional night
4 May Capstone Exhibition: Public night
14 May Commencement


Your grade will be broken down into the categories below*. Participation includes: being present and on time, asking and answering questions, helping to improve understanding of course content for others. Your full attention is expected during class time.

Category % of total
Research Justification Document 10%
Landscape Analysis and Design Criteria Document 10%
Process overview document (Available soon) 10%
Senior Thesis Presentation (Available soon) 10%
Senior Thesis Document (Available soon) 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 (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


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.

The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed. (Website)

Lo Min Ming. "UI, UX: Who Does What? A Designer's Guide To The Tech Industry." http://www.fastcodesign.com/3032719/ui-ux-who-does-what-a-designers-guide-to-the-tech-industry

Luca Leone. "How do you design Interaction?" http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/07/21/how-do-you-design-interaction/


Attendance Policy

Being present and active in this class will have a positive impact on your design skills and abilities. What you learn in this class and your growth as a designer is directly related to your engagement with course projects and in-class discussions. I plan the semester around how I can most effectively impact your learning within the time we have together (a.k.a. our class sessions).

Attendance will be taken every day so I can track trends. If you start missing a significant percentage of class sessions or I see a decline in your work, I 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, Responsibilites, 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 Spring 2017 Academic Calendar and Finals schedule.