Fall 2023 Capstone Portfolios

Students were able to help local media organizations and UT Athletics peek into the minds of students (and others) through three Digital Innovations Capstone projects this past fall. Matching seemed to be the theme as groups worked to connect football fans for away games, younger audiences to a traditional entertainment brand and personalized destinations for all Texas travelers.

Taught by Associate Professor of Practice Christian McDonald, students utilize human-centered design to create innovative media solutions. Students in the senior-level class work as teams to survey the public, research issues and brainstorm solutions to prototype. Teams often work with outside entities to explore specific or general challenges.

This semester, one team worked with Tyson Bird of Texas Highways magazine to create individualized travel suggestions for readers with a goal to improve audience engagement. The team used prototypes to test a series of questions to pinpoint reader travel preferences. The questions will be used to inform a choose-your-own-adventure type quiz that leads readers to Texas Highways articles and content.

“We know that most of our subscribers tend to lean a little bit older, we know our audience and our Facebook audience is a little bit older,” Bird said. “So we love getting feedback from the students and sort of especially journalism students who are reading all the time and have a very critical eye. It's great to sort of get their perspective on what we're doing and how we can improve.”

Bird shared that students used surveys to figure out what questions would make the game most beneficial for readers. He said the team also worked to structure and sequence the questions in a way that would make the most sense for the game. 

“I think students have a really fresh perspective. They're very candid with their feedback,” Bird said. “They're really willing to experiment with different things that, you know, people who have been in the industry a long time just don't have that same sort of innovative spirit.”

Texas Highways plans to publish their final product in late January and hopes to work with the capstone class again in the future.

Texas Travel Troupe

Melanie Leon-Tejada, Aislyn Gaddis, Dina Barrish, and Hope Gullatt

As the Texas Travel Troupe, we’re working with Texas Highways Magazine to create a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game that matches users with their ideal road trip destinations in Texas. Visit our portfolio here.

Horns Hangouts

Jackson Baird, Kristen Tibbetts and Tristan Stitt

Longhorn football has put a lot of effort into the home game experience, such as games and refreshments on Bevo Boulevard and reworking the Big Ticket to be more accessible. However, there is much less excitement on weeks with away games and we are looking at ways to build an exciting away game atmosphere on or around campus. Visit our portfolio here.