IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind


Ahmed Sabeeh Abid

Projaction – Assessment 3: Project Presentation

Group Name: Projaction

Team Members:

  1. Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)
  2. Joseph Wakim (jwak9113)
  3. Hema Shunmugham (hshu1423)


Projaction – Project Presentation


Tutorial 8 – Evaluation – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)

As a User

Q1. What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

So when it was my turn to be the user, I was given Task#3 (Find a paper at the library site). I thought that it would be a little complex but when I started performing it, it turned out to be pretty easy and quick. I found the USYD Library website easy to use and everything was placed where I thought it should be. It took me less than 2 minutes to perform my task and everything went pretty smoothly. After I completed my task I felt pretty confident and I would definitely use this website more frequently.

Q2. What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

I found the thinking aloud part a little distracting while performing my task. Also as long as things were going well and there wasn’t anything to complain about, I didn’t feel the need to think out aloud. I later realized that this was not the correct way to go about this technique as my observers couldn’t figure out exactly what was going on in my mind. Since I performed my task in a very short time there wasn’t much that I said, hence my observers felt a little neglected.


As an Evaluator

Q1. What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

During the physical observation, I was able to record the verbal and nonverbal behavior of my users. I was able to record exactly what my users said at a certain point of the task. Since everything was also being recorded, it was really helpful to go over it again and see at exactly which point of the interface the user made that remark. This technique was useful as it pinpointed the exact places or features of the prototype which the user liked or disliked. I was able to jot down the exact quotes of the users along with their facial/bodily expressions, which provided information in terms of the severity/intensity of the usability issues identified.

Q2. What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

Video recording of the whole process was a great idea. We could easily go all over it again and make sure we observe each and everything. However, there was one issue with the recordings as well. Since there was only one angle from which the video was recorded it was really difficult to capture both the user’s face/body and the prototype’s interface. Only one of them could be focused at a given point so it was frustrating at times to figure out at what point in the interface user made that comment/gesture. A good solution to this would be to capture interface screen as well and then run it parallel to the video recording of the user.



Tutorial 7 – Interrogating Affordances – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)

Q1. Choose one of the objects you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?

The three objects that I brought for this tutorial were a plastic disposable spoon, a UHU glue stick and a small grooming scissor. The object I am going to choose for this question is the plastic spoon. Normally, these plastic spoons are used for parties and picnics. They are mostly very cheap and light weight and are usually disposed after their use. As I sketched this spoon and started to analyze it, I realized that there is much more to it then we normally notice. I noticed that the handle is long enough that even a person with a relatively bigger hand can easily use it. The handle also had a small dotted pattern which provided friction for a firm grip. However, as it was made of plastic it can be easily broken and can only hold a limited amount of weight. One of the perceptible affordance was that the depression allows for things to be held in. The thin and lengthy handle of the spoon can also be used as a screwdriver in some cases. It can also be used to cut soft materials such as cakes or pastries. However, if it is used to cut through hard materials/food it is likely to break. Also unlike the steel spoons, this spoon can be used in a microwave as well.



Q2. Given that affordances is a relational property between a person and an object, how did the manipulation of the object and the person’s abilities inform your understanding of the concept? Did it give you inspiration or insight for how to work with affordances as a designer? Discuss this through the specific objects you explored in the exercise.

I did a lot of experimentation with my partner in terms of manipulating the object as well as limiting one person’s abilities. Although using the cling wrap or aluminum foil didn’t help us much so we decided to wear gloves and use tape to stick both hands together tightly and then interact with the object. It was surprising to realize that after wearing gloves I wasn’t able to feel the rough pattern of the spoons handle which was there for the purpose of a firmer grip.

I then blindfolded my partner and asked her to use the grooming scissor I brought to cut the paper in a circle and use the glue to paste it table. She tried a couple of times but wasn’t able to cut the paper in a circle like shape. When it came to pasting it, she could easily identify which end of the glue was the bottom one just by touching it, and performed that task with ease.

Overall, this whole exercise was an inspirational one as I have never experienced using these everyday object with such manipulation. It made me realize how certain features of your design can be helpful in certain scenarios which we normally take for granted.



Tutorial 6 – Experience Prototyping – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)

Q1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

The problem that our group was allocated was “Improving doctors waiting rooms”. We started jotting down all the issues we thought are present in the existing waiting rooms. Everyone in the group had something new to add as we all had been through different experiences. After we had made the list of all the existing issues, we assigned roles to each one of us and started acting out a scenario. We thought that we had covered everything in the list but it was surprising that a lot of new things came up while acting which we didn’t thought of before. Physically acting out the problem added a totally new dimension to my thought process and made me see things in a more realistic manner. I would definitely say that this technique takes you to a totally new level of empathizing with your users.

The issues and their tentative solutions
The issues and their tentative solutions

Q2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through body storming? In what way?

Yes absolutely. Once we started acting out our scenario we realized a few environmental variables that we had missed before. For instance, while acting out, one of us pretended to be a new patient entering the doctor’s clinic. According to our scenario the receptionist was very tired and busy using his phone and didn’t notice the arrival of the new patient. Thus we had totally missed out how a new patient is supposed to gain receptionists attention upon arrival, esp. if the patient is in need of an emergency help. We realized this problem through body storming and added a bell on the reception table to call the attendants if they were not present already.

Our Solution
Our Solution

Q3. What was difficult and challenging about bodystorming?

The difficulty that I faced during bodystorming was the lack of actual infrastructure. We lacked the furniture and setting we wanted to be in the room where we acted. A lot of things were not actually there and we had to imagine them in certain places. Also we lacked the props we needed for acting. Thus we had to use alternate things that we could find lying around, which were totally different to what we actually wanted.

Q4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I think that while acting out a situation, we sometimes tend to exaggerate than what actually happens. Also we create our own scenario and setting according to what we think happens actually in real life, but in reality no one setting/scenario is exactly similar to another one. Thus all of our solutions and ideation only takes place in that limited scenario that we have created for ourselves, which might not fully portray the real world.

Our concept map
Our concept map

Supporting Community Activism Through Technology

aabi0651 - Research Summary Poster

Feedback and My Responses


Tell me more about this. Could this data be sold?
The public data collected from social media forums is then processed keeping in mind various criterion. After this raw data is turned into useful information and is in large enough quantity that it is capable of delivering concrete results/conclusions, this data will definitely have a monetary value and can be sold.

How do you create awareness for non-activist people?
My concept 1 mobile app caters the needs of both activist and non-activist people. It is open for all and anyone can register on the app. Once non-activist people have registered their interests on the app they will constantly receive notifications of the ongoing events and activities in their surrounding area, based on those interests. This is how they will be aware of what’s going on around them and then can contribute to it if they are willing to do so.

How can you get people’s email id? What about privacy issues? How do you deal with it?
This question was regarding my initial concept 2. I have clearly mentioned in my concept that only PUBLIC data will be collected i.e the data which people have already made public for everyone to see. Hence there is no question of privacy issues. As far as the collection of data is concerned it can be done through various APIs e.g Facebook API allows you to fetch public data from people’s profiles. Lastly, we can only get email Id’s of those people who have made it public on their social media profiles.

I didn’t know about Periscope
Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein. Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers, who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. Users of Periscope are able to choose whether or not to make their video public or simply viewable to certain users such as their friends or family.


Tutorial 5 – Ideating – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)

Q1. How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

This tutorial was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a perfect example of allowing yourself to “think outside the box”. Our group was allocated the extreme user case called “The Trekkies” and we were supposed to imagine ourselves as sci-fi, high-tech fanatics. Soon all of us started having plethora of crazy ideas and which kept on pouring in continuously till the end.

The good thing about this tutorial was that we were not limited to the real world constraints. In fact we were not even limited to the constraint of time, as we had to imagine something (i.e. use of telephone booth) in future to come. This was a lot different to how we have been generating ideas previously, in which we had to keep in mind certain limitations. Even though we were free to come up with any ideas how insane they may be, by the end of it when we analyzed, a few of our ideas were actually really good and implementable. This was really surprising to see none of us was expecting this outcome.



Q2. Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

As soon as we were allocated the extreme user case, crazy ideas started pouring in from all the group members. And this went on for the rest of the time and we didn’t even felt the need of using the design provocation cards at all. When we moved on to making stories and narratives, almost all of us had something interesting to add to the scenario in the story. This way our story turned out to be pretty engaging as well.

Luckily, we had a fine arts graduate (Rezan) in our group, who used his doodling skills to help us better illustrate our story. All of us first drew our own versions of the storyboard to see how different variations of the same story could turn out. Finally, we took the best scenes/suggestions from each to create our final storyboard. The whole process was definitely a collaborative one.

The collaboration was not just limited within each group because as we presented our stories to everyone else, we received more ideas/suggestions/feedback from other groups as well.


Tutorial 4 – Creating Personas – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)

Q1. Describe your experience of creating personas from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or did it make more sense to create a second different persona?

The activity our group chose was the second one, namely “Catching a public transport”. Since all of us were students and had pretty much similar routines I have to say that there were a lot of common things. The ages (22 – 29) and cultural background in our group did provide a diverse demographic data but it was not of much help considering the problem we were discussing. Also, since all of us were in the same degree and had a similar weekly schedule, we pretty used public transport in the same frequency. We came up with around 10 variables and made charts to see any similarities within out data set. As expected, there were a lot of clusters in every variable chart indicating a lot of similarities. Most of us also shared similar motivations and frustrations as well.

Conclusively, I have to admit that the persona we created did actually summarized all of our problems collectively, but we needed more diverse data set to come up with varied personas. Thus it made more sense for us to create a second different persona as well.



Q2. Do you think your final persona(s) was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?

I think that our final persona did actually catered all our findings from the interviews. But since as I have already mentioned, had we been able to interview a diverse group of people, we would have a much better insights. So this is definitely one of the things I am going to change next time.

Another problem we faced was that many of us were not that frequent users of public transport so didn’t have much to say during the interviews. It would be better to interview people who use public transport more frequently to come up with better personas.

As far as our interviewees’ were concerned for this activity, our persona did manage to generate empathy with the users by translating their statistical data into a much more detailed story like narrative.


Tutorial 3 – Interpreting data – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)


Q.1 How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users? 

The process of building empathy with the prospective users started right as I started reading the interview transcripts. The interview provided great insights into the user’s life. The transcript document of the interview did a great job of expressing user’s actual emotions and sentiments as well, through the use of well-articulated interjections like “Mhmmm”, “Alass”, “Ohh” etc. These proved really helpful as reader, to understand and visualize what the interviewee’s live emotions have been like.

Also the interview was pretty detailed and informal and the fact that the interviewee’s answers are so long and detailed and sometimes even irrelevant, proves that the participant felt relaxed, causal and open during the whole process and was not restricted by the interviewer in any way.

Reading through the whole transcript allowed me to see everything from participant’s point of view and develop a better understanding of problems the user has gone through and the ways how the user tackled them. Furthermore, sharing and discussing my notes after the interview with my group mates helped me identify the common and major user needs.

Q.2 How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs? 

After identifying my users need and noting them on yellow sticky notes, we then shared our findings with our group. This was everyone was able to pool in their findings and finally we had a much bigger and reliable data set which covered a diverse range. Clustering the information was helpful as we were easily able identify common user needs. We were then able to categorize the data under common themes and further classify them. Finally we ended up with sort of converging hierarchical structure with different colors of sticky notes representing different levels. This method proved really helpful to view the user’s need in an organized more meaningful fashion.

Q.3 What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

I think the difficult part in the whole process was identifying similar problems and categorizing them under a specific domain. Some of the user needs were really unique and some of them overlapped into various categories.

Also due to lack of time I was not able to translate the whole interview into user needs. The interview was really long and it was difficult to filter out only the relevant and useful details.

Q.4 How would you do it better next time?

Since now I am aware of the whole process of Affinity diagram, I will start identifying the requirements accordingly the next time. I will use more than one color of highlighters. And then as I read through the interview transcripts I would use a specific color for similar needs. This way I will be able to avoid repetitive user needs.




Tutorial 2 – Sketching as a thinking tool – Ahmed Sabeeh Abid (aabi0651)


Q.1 How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Well it has its pros and cons like everything else. For those who are good at drawing and doodling, this technique can come in pretty handy. But for the others, it is a little difficult to adapt. One of the major reasons being that it is time consuming and you are unable to focus on both drawing and taking notes simultaneously. It surely needs a lot of practice to get used to this technique for those who are new.

On the contrary, this technique is much broad and is not just limited to 26 alphabets. You can treat your page as a canvas and explore all the space available freely and in whatever shapes and forms you like. In other words, it is a much more expressive visual communication language which can pretty much convey your idea with just a glance rather than reading through all the text like you would do if it were traditional note taking.

Q.2 How does this visual approach facilitate communication of your ideas? Conversely, how does it prevent it?

The best thing about this technique was that there is no one specific way to convey your message. Through this technique I can sketch note a same lecture in so many different ways which subsequently be conveying the same information. Thus I did not feel restricted as to follow some specific format and text.

Sometimes it gets frustrating when you are unable to draw what you are trying to draw and spend too much time correcting it. Thus you miss some important bits of the lecture meanwhile.

However, if the end result turns out to be good, it’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also quick in terms of conveying the information and easily comprehensible by a broader range of audience.

Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

Since I am not good at sketching, so I spent too much time correcting my drawings. Thus I missed some important bits of the TED lecture. I need to learn some quick doodling tips in order to be more expressive with as little strokes of pencil as possible.

Secondly it also kind of proved a challenge for my multitasking and time management abilities. I had to listen, write and sketch simultaneously in a limited time which was a little more difficult as to our traditional note taking which only involves listening and writing.




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