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Experience Design Core Studio Courses

Experience Design Studios: Project-based learning that applies content through design thinking and making. The Experience Design Studios rotate content every semester. Each course includes a module called “The Basics” where projects center on fundamental experience design outcomes.

Experience Design Studio | ART 650

A synthesis studio where design theory and methods are applied via goal formulation, problem definition, and design solution production. Design, development, deployment, and testing of experience design outcomes involves independent and collaborative work. Learners will meet off-site for one “Destination Weekend” each semester to research and design in a different location.

Learners will be able to:

  • Develop high-definition design prototypes for digital, service, and physical outcomes.
  • Analyze existing design outcomes and their intended and unintended consequences.
  • Plan the experience design process from problem definition to outcome testing.
  • Create multi-sensory design outcomes that delight while balancing usefulness and usability.

Studio courses emphasize learning through work on problem-based projects. This work involves iterative design processes where the creation of outcomes and ensuing critique from students and instructors facilitate learning. Examples of work that takes place in this course are in the table below.

Details about what work will happen in this class.
Concept Activity Tools & Media Processes Outcomes
Prototyping Design a physical prototype to meet an assigned need Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, cardboard, drawing tools,  ideation, iteration, storyboards, paper prototyping, critique physical prototype, video documentation of prototypes, process book
Video interfaces to display customizable information Design a screen-based video board used to direct parking Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe XD, Adobe After Effects comps, critique, iteration, mockups, ideation, image research, material studies, typographic hierarchy visual interface system plan, experience map, video presentation

Experience Design Studio Course Content

Each semester, following a four-semester cycle, the subject matter covered in the Experience Design Studio rotates. During their degree progression, students in the xdMFA will participate in the Experience Design Studio four times, covering all four topics. Each content area (listed below) addresses an aspect of human experience from the perceived (internal) factors to the real and tangible (external).

Meaning-Making

People make meaning about what happens to them and the world around them in different ways. When experience designers consider this fact, they are able to design and assess outcomes that are culturally relevant and in turn, more effective. Studying meaning-making challenges designers' bias and broadens perspectives that not everyone shares the same values and priorities.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
The Basics Topic 1 Topic 2
Semiotics Worldview Social Norms

Storytelling

A series of steps are involved anytime someone interacts with a designed outcome. Approaching experience design as storytelling guides the development of procedural outcomes like services and smartphone apps—integrating concepts from literature like introductions, rising actions, and resolutions. Storytelling also stands as a reminder that the people who use designs have their own unique storylines that impact the ways they perceive and interact with design outcomes.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
The Basics Topic 1 Topic 2
Progressive Disclosure Motivation Feeling (Physical and Emotional)

Interaction

The moment a person uses a design, an interaction takes place. These interactions are composed of micro-moments and impacted by real and perceived factors like thumb size, native languages, physical height, literacy level, if there's an emergency situation, and many, many more. Exploring interactions in detail allows experience designers to collaborate with stakeholders and create more effectively and inclusively.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
The Basics Topic 1 Topic 2
Sensory Literacy Ability Usability

Materiality

Physical things are made up of materials. Each material has a voice—soft, plush velvet communicates a very different feel than cold, hard steel. Some materials are helpful to folks who use designs and some materials can be harmful. By taking a long, close look at materials and designing with the external in-mind, experience designers can learn to select, work with, and implement the right materials for the activity.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
The Basics Topic 1 Topic 2
Prototyping Affordance Context

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