Experience Design Core Studio Courses

students drawing storyboard designs
students at a table with magazine designs
students opening up a security device package
students looking at a projector screen in a studio

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).


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 People Module 1 Module 2
Semiotics Characteristics, Behaviors, Abilities Social (Culture, Relationships, Worldview) Self (Values, Needs, Self-Concept, Personality)


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 reminds us that the people who use designs have their own unique abilities and 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 People Module 1 Module 2
Progressive Disclosure Characteristics, Behaviors, Abilities Role, Emotions, Sensations Attitude, Intention, Attention


The moment a person uses a design, they interact with it. These interactions are composed of micro-moments and impacted by real and perceived factors like thumb size, native languages, physical height, and literacy level. They are also shaped by interfaces. During this course, learners focus on design outcomes such as services, smartphone apps, and brand identities in extreme detail to study interfaces and interactivity. Learners will explore what various design outcomes actually do, what they were designed to do, how they work, and their intended and unintended consequences. Studying and designing 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 Object Module 1 Module 2
Sensory Literacy Characteristics, Behaviors, Affordances State, Function, Meaning Accessible, Useful, Usable


When people experience design, the place, time, and situation that surrounds the interaction impacts the interaction. Stormy weather can make it hard for people to see signage outside a post office. Low light levels can heighten the mystique of a museum exhibition. A smartphone's location features can enable users to map their progress during a tour. Place and context affect these interactions, so studying situations is imperative when exploring experience design.

Details about content in each of the Experience Design Studio courses.
The Basics Context Module
Prototyping Characteristics, Behaviors, Norms Situation, Hierarchy, Interrelationships

The Miami University Bulletin series is the official source of information about the programs and courses of study offered at Miami University. Consult the bulletin for the most up-to-date listings.