IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 09: Visual Story Telling

How did thinking in terms of shots and scenes influence your approach to communicating your design concept?

Our first attempt at creating a video script in the tutorial focused on  a video around a narrative that explained features.  This had a conversation style interaction between two actors throughout the video.

The main structure we came up with in the tutorial was:

  • An establishing shot – set the scene
  • Focus on the main actor to show expression of annoyance – demonstrate an experience that can be improved using the app
  • Swish pans between characters having conversation to demonstrate features and also problems
  • Scenes of the primary actor interacting with the device in the shopping centre using tracking and point of view

What we found was this was not engaging and did not demonstrate one of the primary design attributes of the product which are game elements.  Our initial video script was boring.  Given the 1 minute time constraint on the video, a lot more can be demonstrated in that time period without conversation.

What motivated your choice of storyline structure?

The main motivation for the first design was the example video of previous years entries. Upon reviewing this structure we came up with a completely new approach based on the game elements of the design; a sustainability shopping race.

The motivation to change and come up with a new structure was based on us reflecting 0n how engaging the video was, and how much we found could be demonstrated in a minute using conversation style interactions, versus demonstrating key interactions with the device without conversation.

Can you think of an exemplar from a film that uses the same structure?

No, we drew inspiration from video games, maybe a cross between super mario kart and super metroid.

What choices did you make about audience and style? Were they related?

The user of the product is the general public. We assume this as the primary audience of the video.  The style of the video aligns to the them of ‘having fun’, we believe that people can relate to this through their personal experience in shopping centres.

Sample video of us testing our script


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Blog Reflections 04

Thoughts on lessons learned..

Reflective listening

Reflective listening is a form of rapport building as well as gaining understanding of a customers point of view.  Describing back to the interviewee what they were saying shows to them that you understand their point of view.  If you relate to their point of view without judgement then you can build rapport.

To elicit feelings and emotions, I used follow-up questions that included some form of emotion in the question to get them to talk about feelings.  I think timing is also quite important.  If you relate or respond back to the interviewee at the right time it allows you to drill deeper rather than changing the topic and skimming the surface.

Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

Interestingly there was quite a difference in the quality of notes taken between when written during and written straight after.  The notes taken during were very much short and factual whereas the notes taken after where much more descriptive and emotive.  Even though we were specifically focusing on what we can feel, taking notes during disrupted the experience so that it was hard to feel what was happening. I can see this method of writing without thinking working for shorter experiences but perhaps not so useful for longer ones.




Experience modelling

This was a very fun exercise but also very informative in terms of how much senses affect the experience that we have and also inhibit or enable our actions.   Multiple senses working at once (with sight being reduced) can give us enough information to have a general awareness of the situation.  Having vision impaired while trying to complete a specific task that relies on vision such as reading directions becomes quite difficult. With a public transport scenario,  having other queues such as voice or bells gives some further indication to what is happening.




Blog Reflections 03: Creating Personas

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?

Creating rich and expressive personas by drawing out demographic and behavioural variables really does rely on the quality of the data captured.  In the tutorial, the questions and the limited responses were hardly enough to create a persona that was meaningful, but it definitely gave me practical skills by running through the process.

That been said, there were behavioural variables that we were able to identify that were used to provide more traits of character rather than than demographic or stereotypes.

I can see that with more data and a focus on questions that drill down into the 5 Ws, to get to emotion, behaviour and values, the personas created would be much more realistic and capture the essence of the character.

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

I don’t think that the persona that was created based on the interviews was empathetic with the users.   Re-reading what I wrote, the language used captured some empathy, but it needs to be re-written in first person and to really capture emotional traits in the wording.  What I wrote summed it up from my perspective, loosing some empathy in doing so.

What I wrote was very succinct (and hard to read).  People tend to be much more expressive when talking through emotions so this needs to be reflected in the wording.





Blog Reflection 02: Interpreting Data

Affinity mapping exercise

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

In reviewing the transcripts, I highlighted the activities that the customer were performing, how they perceived the experience to be and potential needs that were unsatisfied.  Putting myself in their shoes by being able to understand what type of person they were as well as what they enjoyed or did not enjoy allowed me to empathise with them as well as to express the experience in the voice of the customer not in mine.

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

Creating natural relationships between key phrases in the transcripts allows for a common need to be surfaced.  It conveys the meaning behind the phrases rather than just the phrases.  The customer doesn’t necessary express their needs in a way in which it is immediately obvious as to what is the meaning behind it, this process allows for that to surface.

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

One of the challenges was the dynamics of the group and agreeing by consensus.  I don’t think that this is a bad thing though, nor would I change it.  The perspective of different people allows for a different viewpoint to be debated.  The other challenge was to articulate the meaning behind the phrases in the voice of the customer in a positive phrases that clearly articulated the meaning.   It was easy to come up with the meaning, not so easy to be expressed as the voice of the customer.  With practice this would become a little easier.  Another challenge was preparedness of the group and the ability to complete the process in the timeframe.  I think the individual tasks could be completed prior to getting together for the mapping exercise.

Blog Reflection 1: Sketchnoting experience

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

I am interpreting traditional note taking as using an approach such as the Cornell system.   With a system like this, note taking is broken down into a number of steps, with the first being to capture the key concepts or focal points of the topic in a short textual form.  There are further steps that then require contextualising and linking the concepts together.  These steps happen shortly after the initial capturing of the notes.  This system is effective, but not quick.

In sketchnoting, capturing key points, conceptualisation via context and linking occur simultaneously.  This along with the impact of visually representing concepts allows for rapid ideation.  Sketching skills affect the interpretation of the concepts, the ideas conveyed are understood based on the visual representation rather than just key worded phrases.

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

Based on my skill level in sketch noting, the communication of my ideas is very basic.  With a basic sketch that visualises a process such as in Exercise 4, the process can be captured quickly.  The experience and emotive state created  when enacting the process is also captured in the sketch, which communicates more than just the steps of the process.

My communication is limited based on my skill level to sketch ideas.   Using a mind mapping approach,  I can more rapidly portray concepts, links and context.  Over time my skill level will improve to remove this limitation.

3. Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

I found it hard to be expressive in the sketches.  I needed to add words to compliment each sketch, so that it could be correctly understood.  I use mind maps quite frequently, I found that I quickly reverted to linking together concepts via key phrases and arrows, out of a matter of habit.

Before sketching each concept, I had to think what would be a good representation of the concept visually, and then try to create that via the sketch.  This was a slow process, inhibiting me in capturing the detail.


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