IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Affordance! [blog reflection #5]

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

The object that I will focus on is a hard-plastic water bottle with a straw attached to the lid. Whilst brainstorming alternate uses for the object, I stayed within a very safe range of uses. Like a bottle for other cold drinks or a pancake pourer. These uses are quite similar to it’s initial use.

Whilst using the materials around me I began to physically brainstorm the objects hidden or alternate uses. I first used it as a thermal bottle to store either hot or cold drinks and keep them at their temperature. However, after been given some more time I began to think outside the box. I could take away a simple element to the bottle (the lid) and create a completely different use for such a simple product (a vase).

I think the activity allowed me to really expand the way I thought about products. A simple change could go a long way in this design activity. I started coming up with other ideas such as an object that could be filled with heavy items to be used as weights or a shaker as a make-shift musical instrument.

It changed my perspective on simple objects, allowing myself to branch out and be as analytical and creative at the same time. It made me question if I was given this water bottle, not knowing what its use was, what would I use it for/as.

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.

The exercise provided me with a great deal of perspective and sparked a lot of creativity. It made me think outside the box and challenged my thinking, to think about what the product currently does but also what it has the potential to do, with a few changes.

For example, with the Papaw ointment tube, I began exploring it as a soft plastic tube and I wasn’t really sure how to go about exploring its affordances or hidden affordances. After some time of brainstorming and letting go of what I was already familiar with, I realised how many other uses it could have, like being used as a spatula for painting.

Overall this activity inspired me to think outside of what I already know and provided me with the insight to use my creativity to enhance current designs in order to improve them or expand their range of uses.

Bodystorming! [blog reflection #4]

1) How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

It was clear for us as a group to identify the problems and the feasibility of the designs as well. I think that it was a good way of being realistic of how the ideas would work in a physical sense. Though we were lacking anything close to a similar environment, even an empty room would have been useful it was still quite interesting to see the ideas come to fruition. For some ideas we found ourselves adding to them and adapting to the reality of the ideas as well. Adding elements through this process was great in terms of making the ideas better, however if we had more time to do this they could have been developed even further.

2) Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?

Following the initial sketching and verbal discussion of the problems and potential solutions, we were able to refine our designs through bodystorming. We went through each solution step by step and worked through how they would work in a physical sense. Although it was a bit rushed and we weren’t able to nut out all aspects of the ideas, it was a great way to refine the ideas still.

3) What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

The difficulty I found in bodystorming was actually physically carrying out the design idea. This was particularly due to the time we had to complete the entire activity as well as the spacial constraints. It was great in that there was visual perspective which allowed us to narrow down and refine our design ideas. However, it did not allow us to fully immerse ourselves in that environment.

4) Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I believe bodystorming is helpful in aiding to the creation of solutions. It provides a clear perspective but also an alternative way of seeing and analysing the problems. I think it is quite helpful in ironing out small details that could otherwise be overlooked.

RESEARCH REPORT POSTER PDF-page-001Feedback from peers:

  • I didn’t know that people grow plants for aesthetics
  • Have you thought about existing competitors (ie. plantwi)

  • Tell me more about maintenance vs. artificial plants

  • Great names of the concepts!

  • Tell me more about how users would feel about growing artificial plants and its perception amongst users?

  • Have you thought about linking to recipe websites?

  • How do the plants grow in the pot for concept 1?

  • Tell me more about urban farming…so interesting!

  • I’d like to hear about competitors please

  • I didn’t know that people’s plants died because of too much sunlight

  • Have you thought about organic/nutrition as a method of promoting sustainability?

  • I didn’t know that most people don’t know why their plants have died

Creating Personas! [blog reflection #3]

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

    The experience of creating a single persona from different users’ perspectives was definitely an eye-opening experience. I had never done something like that before. It was a good way to discuss various data and having a group discussion regarding the data was very helpful as well.
    Through the exercise I found that although we were able to find a commonality between the 4 people, 4 was definitely not a substantial number to make a proper persona. It would have been more beneficial to create a persona based on more people. I think if we got into larger groups after we had created the first persona, it would have been beneficial in further analysing the data.

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

    I think it generated empathy to some extent however, if more in-depth questions were asked, or we had more time to really analyse the interviewee, it would have added a lot more value and possibly more accurate as well. I would have planned my questions prior to interviewing the other person as well, in order to have a good flow of questions and a good variety too.

Affinity Diagrams! [blog reflection #2]

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

I think this exercise helped me build empathy with prospective users through understanding and in a way ‘being in their shoes’ through the personal interviews. By focussing on one interview each meant that we could fully understand and spend time on one user.

In addition, then working with other members of the group made it easier to understand how the challenges users faced were different or similar to each other. If I hadn’t worked with others, it would have been a very narrow view of prospective user needs.

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

Clustering the information was extremely helpful in a way that I did not realise it would be. I think it is a great way to fully understand the customer and their needs. In addition, I feel as though it was a more effective way of uncovering the problem areas in the interviews. Whereas, if I was to solely read about it and write notes it would have been a lot harder for me to understand user needs.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?

The first challenge would have to be that we had only read our own interviews which gave us less of an idea of the general topic, as opposed to having an understanding of all or most of the interviews. This meant it took longer and was a little more difficult to understand other members post it notes. So if I had read the interviews prior to the class I would have had more of an understanding for the other members in the group.

Secondly, our group didn’t have a clear process of how to sort out everyones post it notes which meant that it was a lot of jumping around the place. We found it challenging to stick with one persons post it notes and go around in that way. It took us some time to figure out how we were going to get through everyones notes. I think it would be better to go one by one post it note and to be sure to stay on topic.

I also would have liked more time for processing and looking at the interview to ensure that I wrote clear and concise notes on the post it’s. Working so quickly meant that I didn’t quite finish writing my notes and neither did other team members. I think next time if I was able to write more succinct notes as well as taking some more time to consolidate the information it would make the process a lot easier.

Lastly, categorising the notes into sub-categories and reducing them to 6 to a column was extremely challenging. We didn’t have a clear way of sorting them and ended up realising we had doubled up in some instances as well. Maybe if we start with over-categorising rather than under-categorising it would have been easier to cluster.


Sketchnoting! [blog reflection #1]

Hello fellow bloggers!

When I tried sketchnoting for the first time, I won’t lie it was a little daunting.

So what exactly is it? Traditional vs. Sketchnoting

Sketchnoting is a note taking form in which visual images and quick sketches are combined along with simple text to enhance the information.

The difference between the two would have to be in the images/sketches that are drawn within the note taking. These sketches make it easier for understanding processes or topics. It involves the note taker almost thinking ahead in order to encapsulate all the information in the most efficient but straight forward layout to the topic at hand.

Does it facilitate the communication of my ideas or does it prevent it?

In my opinion, I found that sketchnoting allowed me to retain more information I wrote down compared to traditional note taking. This may be as I am more of a visual person. It also made information simpler for me to understand, forcing us to only record what is really important. Sketchnoting motivated me to stay engaged during the talk as well as luring my attention in, instead of getting sidetracked or distracted.

The pitfalls to this technique would include the fact that with note taking it is usually done quite quickly. So if you were to spend more time than you have on sketching an image, it is likely that you would miss other points to be recorded, unless you are quick and confident with the process.

In addition, depending on the layout or actual content on your sketchnotes, it may make very little sense to others, and may need to be carefully planned if it was intended to be shared with others.

Personal Challenges with sketchnoting:

The biggest challenge I had with sketchnoting was my urge to be perfect with it. Being a bit of a perfectionist, making the visuals look appealing and having the perfect layout takes time for me. It is something that I wanted to plan out. However, during the excercises I found that the less I thought about those things, the easier it was to sketchnote. The way that I was understanding and relaying that onto paper, was completely fine and logical in a sketchnote format. Something I was quite surprised with. After the initial fear or insecurity of sketchnoting passed, I found the technique quite enjoyable and opened my perspective to note taking. I realised that I actually was able to retain more information as well as the obvious aesthetic appeal to sketchnoting over traditional note taking.

Until next time!



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