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Rethinking Exhibition Experience

Rethinking and designing the 360-degree experience for the Design Exhibition at IIT Guwahati, Department of Design. 
The project is a submission for the course DD 604 Environment and Experiential Design

This project aims at

- designing for the perception of experiences.

- creating a framework for planning and designing experiences.

- exploring aspects that elicit intended experiences.

- writing a white paper


About Ishanya

Ishanya is the annual design exhibition of the Department of Design, the aim of Ishanya is to create a platform for budding student designers of B.Des & M.Des to showcase their academic work in search of funding and recognition. Ishanya also hosts lectures and talks from experts in the field of design.

People at Ishanya

campus residents

Outside Visitors





Project journey

Primary study

Major User pain points identified

  1. Exhibition registration

  2. Networking

  3. Information about exhibits

  4. Noting down ideas and inspiration

  5. Connecting to a particular student/professor/project for collaboration

  6. Comment/Feedback on exhibits

  7. Knowing the Schedule of exhibition events

  8. Exploring the venue and its facilities

  9. Finding a volunteer 

  10. Storing projects in the university database (university need)

Methods of study

  • Interviews

  • Retrospection

  • Survey

Setting a Direction

Planning the exhibition experience with emotions:

Exhibitions are places of exploring and acquiring new knowledge. Yet it is likely one gets bored by doing same actions over and over, i.e see an exhibit, read about it and interpret. It is generally seen that after some time, observers start to skip exhibits based on visceral judgement. Some observers take a break in order to refresh from the iterating task. 

For visitors to enjoy the exhibition, its experience needs to be designed at predefined touchpoints. For Ishanya, the exhibition experience was divided as follows with an intention of evoking specific emotions.

Group 51 (1).png

Invoking an emotion

Linking emotions and perception of experience

Humans experience the world with their 5 senses. The perception and meaning of the experience is a factor of past experiences and current immediate environment. To deliver a designed experience the medium of delivery of the experience should be generic to increase the probability of communicating the experience, perception and meaning too.


Alongside is a list and mapping of emotions(right) and a generic medium(centre) of delivering those emotions, embedded within the experiences through the targets(left)

Product, Interaction & emotions

Information and emotions

Digital experiences and emotions

Smart-Glasses & Smart ring

These glasses are aimed at designing for amazement, interest, and trust. Both devices synchronise as a visitor puts them on. A 15-second onboarding by a mascot shows the interactive features and how the devices will be useful to the attendee. New interactions would a visitor would amaze a visitor while generating curiosity to explore more interactions during their time in the exhibition. The learning curve to use the gadgets will be kept gentle with only necessary intuitive interactions. Within a minute of using the glasses, the visitors will get an entirely different perspective on the exhibition with a new way to interact with the space. This would cultivate interest towards the exhibition. Within 15 minutes of using the glasses, the visitor gets familiar with the controls and would begin to trust the device as a personal belonging. This develops the user's trust in the exhibition, resulting in a positive feeling when the visitor exits the exhibition later.

Apart from these experiences, the glasses also track the feeling of boredom through behaviour. If the user has skipped or gone through 3-5 exhibits quickly (30-60 sec), or the visitor is idle for more than 5 minutes, etc. When boredom is detected the glasses nudge the user with interesting tasks to refresh the user. The visitor is free to ignore these nudges.

Convenient Connect

Everyone in the exhibition is either a part in putting up the exhibition (participants, designers, organizing team, etc) or a visitor. Information of everyone other than a visitor is already stored. This fact can be leveraged to connect people more conveniently in order to induce the feeling of connectedness and openness. The possibility of getting connected involves increment in knowledge and connection. It increases interest in people and exhibits, consequently, increasing student outreach.

The smart glasses track user faces in vision. If a face takes significant focus for a longer duration, say 40 seconds, then the UI prompts a ‘request to connect’ option. The observer can then request for the contact, provided the observer has given his/her phone number and Instagram id and has followed Ishanya on Instagram. On the other hand, all the non-visitor profiles can opt for an option- ’open to connect’ and ‘no connect’. If ‘no connect’ option is chosen, no prompt appears for anyone regarding the person. 

The effort here is to leverage the data collection to eliminate the process of asking for the number, reciting the number, dialing the number, typing the name, saving the contact and then giving a missed call to avoid error in information transfer.

The Infinite Wall

This is a digital installation that aims to make the user experience of awe, excitement and amazement. It is a virtual wall in the exhibition and discoverable through glasses. The wall contains design knowledge from all visitors of Ishanya. The wall accommodates design related comments and thoughts. A visitor can contribute to the wall when he/she discovers it. To contribute, the visitor gazes an input field on the wall. After 2 seconds, the field enlarges and occupies 80 % of the screen space. The Input format has the visitors photo name and year of visit to Ishanya automatically filled. Further, the input format has double quotes in which the visitor can enter thoughts through voice command. When the user presses the joystick on the ring, the input is activated and the visitor can see speech converted to text. Navigation and deletion is possible by joystick controls. After the input is confirmed, the visitor's contribution appears on the wall with the name.

The wall is infinitely high, and one can scroll the wall by hand gesture to access other visitors' thoughts. The perceived vastness (length of the wall) is expected to induce the feeling of awe, while the discovery of the fact of other visitors contribution to the pool is expected to bring in the diminished self-feel with increase in a sense of being a part of a bigger whole. The translucent input field with blue neon lines is expected to evoke the feeling of amazement. The interaction of voice input is expected to make the visitor feel important reflecting the history of documentation of wise words from important people in the past.

Conceptualization on direction (Ideation + Goal)

Major Literature reviews

Peak End Theory - Daniel Kahneman

The peak-end theory is a psychological rule in which an experience is evaluated and remembered based on the peak (most intense) point of the experience and/or the ending of the experience. It seems our recollection of events is impacted greatly by this interpretation of events experienced rather than the experience as a whole.

The experience and interactions are consciously designed to spike the emotions at specific touchpoints. Triggering subtle pleasurable experiences when the interest starts dropping will avoid negative peaks from occurring. Consequently, visitors will have a memorable experience that is positive.

The Unconscious Mind - Sigmund Freud 

On the surface is consciousness, which consists of those thoughts that are the focus of our attention now, and this is seen as the tip of the iceberg. The preconscious consists of all which can be retrieved from memory. The third and most significant region is the unconscious. Here lie the processes that are the real cause of most behaviour. Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see.

Theory of Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow is a mental state where the person is engaged in an activity where they are fully immersed with a feeling of energized focus, involvement, and success during the activity.

When we link emotions to interactions and triggers, we essentially tap into the medium to reach the unconscious mind. These triggers then elicit emotions from the unconscious mind. When they surface to the conscious mind in the realm of awareness, these emotions become feelings that an individual can try to articulate.

Since a lot of new interactions like the handling of smart glass and smart rings are used, it is important to have intuitive interactions that keep the challenge: skill ratio within limits and not let the emotions become too overwhelming or too simple to not touch the intended peaks.

Imagining a visitor’s emotional journey

Yutika Mittal - 24 yrs | Female | Student Visitor

Yutika Mittal is in IIT Guwahati to visit Ishanya 2025. She got to know about the event from her PhD friend in DOD. Yutika has been on campus for about an hour now and has visited the department with her friend. She now is about to visit the exhibition.


It’s a sunny day and Yutika is a bit frustrated due to the heat and sweat. But the visit to the department has made her curious and excited about the students’ projects. She is having a great time with her friend. She had to walk around the campus, so she is exhausted. She has finally reached the exhibition venue and her friend already knows about the exhibit so she would catch up later. The cool environment feels soothing against the heat outdoors. There are a lot of new faces and Yutika is confused about what to do now. She finds a 6ft tall screen that welcomes her as a visitor and reflects her image on the screen. Yutika goes closer to the screen with interest to find out that it is a smart station. The station then greets her again and asks her in to smile as it clicks a photo. It then displays an ID card format with the clicked picture and prompts to fill other details. After filling in the details, it dispenses a smart glass with a ring and requests Yutika to try it on. Yutika then puts on the glasses with curiosity and now can access the augmented world while aligning the gaze point of the glasses at an augmented button saying “Get started” on the screen. The smart glass's UI guides Yutika with an animated gif showing possible uses of the smart ring (scroll option and click option to select the artefact in gaze).

Yutika now clicks on the button and can see a virtual pointer, directing her to a storeroom to keep her bag temporally. Yutika is relieved of her heavy bag. With the help of the ring, Yutika accesses the menu with excitement to find possible things to do in the exhibition and where to get started.

In no time she starts visiting and appreciating the exhibits. 45 mins later (when the glasses detect falling interest/boredom) the glasses notify Yutika about the lecture commencing in 5 minutes. Yutika choses to go the lecture and the glasses navigate her the way to the venue. In the hour-long lecture, Yutika is highly inspired by the application of design. The lecture was exciting and amused her about the working of design. She is perplexed after the lecture and feels that she has more to learn.

After the lecture, there is a small refreshment break. Smart glasses show her the way to the refreshment area. Yutika wonders about the refreshments as her hunger kicks in. As she is eagerly waiting to get her snack, the gaze point on the glasses detects an intractable object when locked on a person. Yutika curiously selects by pressing the ring and details about the person are displayed. Yutika finds this enjoyable and uses this feature as an opportunity to start a conversation and familiarize herself with the crowd. Knowing more people makes her experience more enjoyable and friendly as she finishes her snack.


After gladly eating the snack Yutika heads for the exhibition with a thought of brushing through the remaining exhibits. As she is about to enter the exhibition area, she notices an augmented installation. Curious Yutika approaches it and finds the name of the installation as ‘The Infinite Wall’. The glasses prompt Yutika that she can navigate through the wall by infinitely scrolling it sideways. The wall is full of design knowledge and quotes by various people on the infinite sides. Yutika is overwhelmed and full of awe looking at this wall. The default place of the wall shows great thoughts about design including thoughts from the people who have visited Ishanya earlier. One of the quotes that can be seen first is “To enjoy the true potential of design, hunt for the details.” (a quote to nudge the observer to meticulously go through the rest of the exhibition). The wall also flashes a countdown with a notification that “you can contribute your mark to the infinite wall in *countdown* time”.

Yutika is now excited and is looking forward towards this opportunity. With high spirits, she once again starts visiting the exhibits. After going through all the exhibits, she enthusiastically visits the Infinite Wall to make her mark. She now notices a new augmented button saying, “Make your mark”. On a gaze selection, a new levitating popup appears with her photograph and name along with an input field for the text saying-” You may contribute your words through speech” with a voice icon and a prompt to activate it by the ring. Overwhelmed Yutika excitedly presses the ring button and the recording activates. Yutika says “Design is an endless ocean which provides a medium to discovery and learning new things”. This text appears on the input field as Yutika releases the ring button. She confirms the mark by gaze selecting the ‘confirm’ prompt. A 5-second-long animation of her words being carved on the wall is played with her name mentioned below. Seeing this Yutika is full of awe and a feeling of achievement runs through her. Yutika now heads to the station from where she got her glasses and ring. The tall screen acknowledges Yutika and requests quick Feedback from her. Yutika cherishes with contentment as she gives in her valuable feedback. As Yutika returns the gadgets, the screen reminds her to take her belongings from the store room - “Do not forget your belongings! Thank You for being a part of Ishanya!”. Yutika gets her backpack and waits for her friend at the exhibition’s entrance with heartfelt satisfaction. After returning back to her university, Yutika shares this experience with her friends, recollecting her nostalgic memories. 

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