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Fall 2022    ︎ SUNY Purchase ︎ (DES 3090) Interactive & Experience Design

Introductions & Expectations

(please note that this is pretty long so that you can reference it later.)

Syllabus .PDF

(Better printed version coming next week)


Here is the official description of the class:

A focused inquiry into the process of designing for, and the creation of, interactive platforms for the purposes of entertainment, persuasion, recreation, and/or human enrichment where the viewer is an active participant. This course is an intensive investigation into considerations surrounding interactive, or experience-oriented, design spaces, and samples supplemental readings from sociology, anthropology, and game theory. You will be required to work collaboratively to pursue concepts through a series of physical and digital investigations.

Because this relates to technology, how we approach it will naturally change dynamically to accommodate it. A more contemporary version for this class might be:

An introduction to programming (via Python and Circuit Playground Express) and the concepts of user interface and experience design. Students learn, through making, research, and historical examples about the nature of contemporary interactive platforms and situations and their relationship to industrial design, print design, and media and entertainment. Opportunities for robust collaboration will be presented through collaborative coding, prototyping and testing.


To put it more colloquially, we’ll be balancing looking at and discussing different kinds of artwork, software, and industrial design and attempt to think about the nature of its design and creation. We’ll gain a fundamental understanding of how programming works to inform how we look at and prototype software. The class can be approached in both a more “careerist” UI/UX perspective, that is to say, creating potentially commercially viable app and interface prototypes or a “freakier” fine art manner. Both approaches are also not mutually exclusive from each other.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of programming in Python via the Circuit Playground Express
  • Gain a fundamental understanding of programming in Python via MakeCode
  • Gain a historical understanding of different paradigms in user interface, interactive, and industrial design.
  • Interrogate the understanding of said platforms through application prototyping and collaborative work and discussion.

Required Materials

(If you have an issue with any of these let’s at least talk about and see what is possible to make things work)
  • Computer with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Access to Adobe’s Fonts (through Creative Cloud)
  • A Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive or similar file sharing account with which to share your homework assignments, progress and sketches.
  • Reasonably stable internet connection (when relevant for Discord meetings)
  • Circuit Playground Express (with alligator clips, USB cable, and LED’s) programmed with Python through mu.


As you know, SUNY Purchase, specifically the School of Art+Design, has a rather oppressive attendance policy (emphasis is my own):

There are no excused absences in the School of Art+Design. Three or more absences in any course will result in a failing grade. Excessive tardiness may count as absences. Please see your course syllabi for more details.
This is mostly a good thing, in that it places emphasis on being in class together. However, the realities of life may make this policy feel more draconian than what it was intended to be.

  • Be on time for class, within 10 minutes of the class’s start time, or...ya late.
  • Three latenesses = 1 absence.
  • Being on time, ideally, means arriving a little bit before such that you’re ready to go at the class start time. This is most important for critique if we need to hang up work, or send files to one another.
  • I will send an advanced warning to everyone if I’m in danger of being late.
  • Leaving class early without a valid reason (valid meaning, letting me know before class that you have to leave early) counts as being late.
  • If you leave without explanation more than an hour before the class is done this will count as an absence.
  • It sucks to have to repeat the same thing again, so if you’re late, I will not go back and re-teach any demos or concepts until after a demonstration or discussion is done. Please don’t disturb another student who was on time unless they are ahead and able to help you.
  • If you have a medical condition, job, or something going on personally that prevents you from getting to class on time, completing work, or being in class the entire duration please discuss it with me so I know.

TL;DR be on time and just be in contact with me in advance if you are going to be late or cannot attend class, I will do the same for all of you.

Grading (the class)

SUNY Purchase Grading Guidelines︎

I find most descriptions of the grading process a bit vague. Here’s an attempt to explain each grade letter by what through what two hypothetical people did in a semester for each grade; in as few words as possible.


I have to tell you to stop participating in class discussions & your work consistently goes beyond the boundaries of the assignment (in a good way).  
You are somewhat timid in class but your work possesses a certain je ne sais quoi, or your work is more advanced and you are forced into this class by some twist of fate.


Your work is well constructed and shows a noticable amount of effort and dedication, is submitted on time and you participate frequently in class. You were late to six classes without discussing with me at any point in the semester that you have a job, and your shift ends right before class.
Your work almost always shows an excellent level of effort and exploration, however you struggled significantly with between one and two projects.


You’ve shown up to class on time for every class, you’ve done the minimum requirements for every assignment, and you rarely participate in class discussions and critiques.
You communicate and participate in class discussion, but not to the degree where I’d have to tell you to stop to let other people join in. You submitted several of your assignments late but they showed promise and effort.

D & F

(If you are in danger of getting a D or an F,
you will more than likely be notified in advance)
You did (almost) nothing during the semester, the work you did hand in was multiple weeks late, you have to be reminded (constantly) to get off your telephone.
Your work was extremely shoddily constructed and seems like you made it a couple minutes before class and you were absent for three weeks without letting me know.

All assignments are due on the date outlined in the physical project sheet & project web page. The following conditions constitute a late assignment:
    • You don’t have your project with you in any form.
    • Your project required it be sent in some form (ie via email), in advance and you did not send it.
    • You had an extenuating circumstance preventing you from completing the assignment, however you did not communicate with me at least 24 hours prior to class or figure out an alternative method of delivery.
Late work is subject to the following conditions:
    • Your work will not be critiqued.
    • You may submit your assignment again any subsequent week, however you will lose an entire letter grade for your assignment each week.

The point here is all assignment due dates are (almost always) attached to a critique. Critique is super important to me, and valuable to your development as a designer (and human). A critique where everyone has their work, everyone talks about each other’s work, and everyone has put a suitable amount of effort into their work to help generate conversation is a good critique. I totally understand the reality of doing things at the last minute, however handing things in on time, planning, and communicating with clients and colleagues effectively is part of your job. 

Schedule Overview︎

About me

I live in Ridgewood, Queens with my  cats Cumberbund  (misspelling intentional) and Booger and my partner Hailey.  I’m not going to link my work here, but you may have seen it in other contexts. My art stuff is linked here, and my (currently super out of date) animation stuff is here. I just don’t want any of my work to have any implication about what I consider good in class, but I’m happy to talk about whatever you’d like.

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