A group of past and present University of Indianapolis experience design students shared their knowledge by preparing an experience for the Meeting Professionals International World Conference. The students were able to present their designs through a fictional event that they staged for MPI. This conference offered real world experience for the students by giving them a platform to explain the importance and various uses of experience design.
During this three day conference, attendees were able to take part in an interactive event planning scenario created by Chair for Experience Design Samantha Meigs and her students. The students created a simulation in a fictional town they called Ludensvilla and used props and characters to create an event for Ludensvilla’s Verde Luna, also known as the Green Moon festival. The opportunity allowed students to showcase their experience in event design.
The offer to design an experience for MPI was given to Meigs and her students this past academic year through a colleague in the field. The purpose of the conference was for members of MPI to expand their knowledge of education and play.
“Many people try and make experience design too complicated,” Meigs said. “It is what it sounds like, designing experiences.”
Meigs said their fictional town was as a centerpiece of the event, allowing others to interact with one another to create something unique.
“We wanted a fantasy that wasn’t a recognizable one,” Meigs said. “It works better for people to work in a fantasy world because then people don’t bring too many preconceptions to it.”
By giving Ludensvilla a small background and plenty of working and moving parts and characters, the town felt more realistic. Meigs expressed the event as excited even though it held challenges. The team was able to pitch their view of experience design and extend the knowledge of how it can be applied to many fields and markets.
Alumnus Austin Baker helped out on this project and worked on the imaginary town that the group presented. Baker said that the students working on the project took pride in showcasing their work for UIndy at such a larger event with over 60,000 members involved.
“It was just a really cool experience because this was the first time we had been playing in the big leagues,” Baker said. “This was a conference that cost $1,000 for someone to attend and we got to create something for it.”
Meigs said she wants people to see and understand that the events around them have been designed by a team just like that of this group of UIndy students.
“This area of work is much better recognized in European countries and on the coast, and I fear sometimes that my folks [EXD students] feel like they are out there lonely because we don’t have that type of industry excitement here that you would have if you were in Orlando, Florida for example,” Meigs said. “This conference was a wonderful way of seeing that yes, this field is vibrant and growing.”