ARTD 270 Design Methods — Sophomore Level


A hybrid studio and seminar that introduces students to the principles and process of human-centered design through a focus on research and observation outside of the studio. This approach will allow students to address the social and cultural contexts in which designers intervene. Through a series of exercises and projects, students develop competencies in conducting research in specific environments to inform and inspire the direction of their design projects. Students learn how to iterate design solutions and prototypes based on expert input, testing, and user feedback. Students better understand and articulate the tools and methodologies shared by all design disciplines regarding various actions and outcomes: visual communication and the design objects, services, interactions, and experiences. 

Upon completing the course, students are able to: 
— Understand the role of design in shaping a positive future for humanity and the planet.
— Embrace social change perspectives related to systems, sustainability, and design-led social change.
— Enhance critical thinking skills to influence and drive positive social change.
— Investigate research approaches critically to comprehend the interconnectedness of actions and reactions.
— Employ design methods as a form of experimental action research.
— Utilize action research and responsive feedback loops to devise creative solutions for complex issues, aiming for positive social change through design.
Project Overview: Mobile UI/UX Interventions

This project challenges students to tackle complex issues using a blend of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Systems Thinking. By empathizing with users, conducting thorough research, and crafting user-centric solutions, students delve into the intricacies of designing for real-world problems. The project focuses on mobile phone-based solutions, where students are tasked with analyzing a system and designing a new intervention or redesigning an existing one. The deliverables include a mobile app or mobile website login page, a home page, a service page, documented user research, all process work, and a Behance presentation. Through this project, students gain a comprehensive understanding of designing impactful solutions that address both user needs and the complexities of larger systems.
Collaborative Learning

In ARTD 270, we embrace collaborative learning as a cornerstone of the design process. To facilitate this, we utilize Miro, an interactive online platform that enables students to work together seamlessly, regardless of their physical location. Miro serves as a dynamic canvas where students can brainstorm, share ideas, and develop their projects in real-time.
Collaboration in this course goes beyond group work. Students are encouraged to post their individual work on Miro, allowing their peers to view their progress and provide constructive feedback. This open environment fosters a culture of continuous improvement and peer-to-peer learning.
To guide students through their projects, I have developed a Miro template that mirrors the stages of the design process. This template provides a structured framework for students to follow, ensuring that they stay on track and fully engage with each phase of their project. By integrating collaborative learning with the use of Miro, students in ARTD 270 are equipped to tackle complex design challenges and develop solutions that are both innovative and user-centered.

Student Work Samples

This section highlights the creativity, skill, and dedication of our students as they navigate the complexities of human-centered design. Each sample represents a unique journey through research, ideation, and iteration, culminating in innovative solutions that address real-world challenges. You can view these samples on Behance.

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