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Experience Design

Design is about creating experiences for people. When considering solutions to complex socio-technical problems, designers give special attention to the interplay of the social and physical context, information, and user behavior.  The goal of this team-based assignment is to envision a provocative, interactive, intelligent service/system that supports a defined goal within one of the design briefs listed below. The solution must meet the needs and/or desires of a target set of users at a specific location. Teams face the challenge of working in emerging design spaces where there are no existing protocols to inform them as to what people might either desire or find socially unacceptable.

To communicate your user research and design concepts, teams will create two design artifacts: a slide show  and a large poster.  Teams will be comprised of 3-4 people based on how students fill out the team formation survey on the important links page.

Learning Goals 
  • Doing user research and synthesis 
  • Ideating and refining concepts
  • Integrating sensors, displays, and other interactive technologies
  • Conducting interviews 
  • Cultivating empathy toward users and creating personas
  • Creating a moodboard and color scheme
  • Sketching and storyboarding
  • Developing and implementing a design language for multiple screens/artifacts
  • Pitching ideas to others (clients, managers and developers)
What to do
Your team's goal is to perform human-centered research around one of the design briefs outlined below.  Your team will conduct interviews, make observations, and create personas to articulate your key insights about the problem. You will generate ideas, and create storyboards to illustrate your vision for future solutions. Building on your user research, you will create moodboards and develop a design language specification. Following your design spec, you will design a photo-based slide show that illustrates your concepts, as well as a large-format poster for the final critique.  

First, depending on your assigned topic below, you will be put in contact with students who have already started investigating these design briefs. The contact person can give you access to their Google drive folders and list of local contacts. Build on this prior work as much as possible.  
  1. User research. Get to know your particular topic inside and out. Read all the information that has already been compiled and think about specific challenges. Edit the existing interview guide and add questions of your own.  Reach out to existing contacts and start discovering your own. Each student on the team should conduct at least one interview with a stakeholder. Make sure to use the consent form and record audio of the interview where possible.  Each team member should listen and take notes on one of the teammates interviews so that everyone has a chance to both interview and analyze an interview. As a team, summarize the key insights you've learned about the problem and the stakeholders/users.  
  2. Personas. Based on insights from user research, create (at least 2) personas that illustrate the archetype stakeholders in your problem context. This will help give your designs more focus.  
  3. Moodboards.  Drawing inspiration from your user research and personas, create a list of adjectives that captures the essence of the emotional experience you want to create with your design ideas. Then, using this list of words, create a moodboard as a collage of images that have a consistent mood and feeling with a relatively small set of colors. The moodboard will be used to select colors, typefaces, and design elements for your design language specification. 
  4. Storyboards.  Write at least six scenarios that describe problematic situations for your stakeholders and illustrate these as storyboards. Each storyboard should clearly communicate the context, the problem, the proposed solution, and a resolution.  We will share storyboards in class and get feedback on your stories and concepts. After a round of iteration, the team should get feedback from at least 2 stakeholders to help you choose and refine a single design concept.  
  5. Design language specification. Based on your moodboard, a design language specification shows your team's choices for colors, typefaces, and design elements. Your design language should specify how to indicate a visual hierarchy across digital and physical media (your slides and poster, respectively).  
  6. Slide deck. Create a slide deck designed using your team's design language that describes your user research insights and your novel ideas for how to solve them. Your slide deck should include the following:
    • Title page with your team name, date, team members and emails
    • 1 slide to introduce the challenge
    • 3-5 slides on user research insights about the situation, stakeholders, and problems
    • 3-5 slides on your novel ideas for how to solve the challenges
    • Conclusion slide with contact information and acknowledgements
  7. Large-format poster. Create a large poster with vertical layout at a size of 54" x 36" designed using your team's design language. The poster should introduce the challenge, share insights from user research, and introduce novel ideas for how to solve the challenges (same information as the slide deck), but it should also show your process materials (personas, storyboards, moodboards, design language spec).
    Design briefs
    Each team should pick one of the following briefs.  

    1) Traffic:
    Residents of San Diego deal with congested freeways going northbound in the morning, and even slower going southbound in the evening. Investigating and addressing the underlying causes of traffic as well as possible infrastructural, behavioral, or policy-wise changes can reduce the ever-present frustration of traffic and dependence on cars. (see more...)
    2) Parking:
    As the population of San Diego continues to grow, parking becomes a more pressing issue. This provides opportunity for innovative solutions to maximize existing parking infrastructure and generate more effective practices for future parking areas. (see more...)

    3) Accessibility:
    The San Diego community provides transportation services to elderly and disabled people through different organizations. By collaborating with these organizations, we can develop novel methods to help expand and improve upon existing accessibility for this population. (see more...)


    On the important links page, follow the link to create an A3 team folder (use your last names as the name of the folder). Your team folder should contain the following:

    • PDF of slide deck design (see above for details)
    • PDF final poster design (see above for details)
    • Subfolder with all your process documentation (user research, personas, storyboards, moodboards, design language spec, and all iterations of the final artifacts)

    Grading Rubric

    Grades will be based on the following:

    User Research (25%)

    • Did you understand the context and prepare questions to guide your interview?
    • Did you use the consent form?
    • Did you provide enough context for the readers to understand the insights from the user research?
    • Did you structure the points of view in a clear manner?
    • Do you support your key insight with evidence such as quotes, images, audio clips?
    • Did your team effectively synthesize user research across interviews?
    • Is your user research comprehensive?

    Personas (5%)

    • Do your personas sound coherent and credible?
    • Is enough information given for your personas to be contextualized?
    • Are your personas clearly communicated? Is there clear emphasis on how they can be used?
    • Are your personas informed by your user research?

    Moodboard (5%)

    • Does your moodboard present a holistic mood or emotion? 
    • Did you create a list of words to inform your moodboard?
    • Did you consider a diverse source of inspiration for moodboards?
    • Can a palette of colors, a set of type faces, and design elements be distilled from your moodboards?

    Storyboards (10%)

    • At least six scenarios are provided
    • The storyboards clearly communicate the setting, problem, solution, and resolution?
    • Do your sketches improve through iteration?
    • Did your team gather useful feedback from at least 2 stakeholder on your storyboards?

    Design Language Specifications (5%)

    • Is the language specification visually appealing and effective in communicating the design details?
    • Does the design spec draw inspiration from the moodboard?
    • Does the design spec provide details on how to implement a visual hierarchy in your poster and slides?

    Slide Deck (25%)

    • Does the slide deck clearly introduce the challenge, user research insights, and proposed solutions?
    • Are the proposed ideas novel and practical as solutions to the challenge?
    • Does the slide deck use the design language specification consistently?
    • Does the slide deck have visual appeal and does it communicate information clearly?

    Poster Design (25%)

    • Does the poster make use of hierarchy, image, and grid?
    • Does the poster clearly introduce the challenge, user research insights, and proposed solutions?
    • Are the proposed ideas novel and practical as solutions to the challenge?
    • Does the poster use the design language specification consistently?
    • Does the poster have visual appeal and does it communicate information clearly?
    • Does the poster include all other process materials such as personas, storyboards, mood boards, and design language specifications?
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