IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Tutorial 06 : Experience Prototyping (acha5823)

Blog Reflection 06

1) How did physically acting help to explore ideas?

During the bodystorming exercise, we picked the topic of ‘of sleeping in airplanes‘.  Everyone (except Laura who was in-charged of taking picture) took part in role playing of different scenarios trying to have a most comfortable sleep inside an aircraft. This exercise put primary importance on context of the environment inside an airplane. From the group performance, we had physically experienced the situation of being surrounded by strangers of different background in a tight space. We tried out the scenario of trying to sleep while baby crying; trying walk pass two passengers to go to the toilet from a window seat. These scenarios let every one of us experienced ‘passengers’ behaviours, reactions and responds. From here we were able to gain much better understanding and empathy of air plane users and explored possible ideas for different scenarios.

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

Group performance through bodystorming explored existing design and working relationships inside an air-plane. This exercise also let us simulated ‘passengers’ interactions of the service analysed their experiences and examined their responds and behaviours toward different scenarios. During the performance, we uncovered some omnipresent problems and revealed unexpressed expectations which too often happened inside an packed plane. We played out 6 different scenarios. The first one was narrow space between rows  of seat. Second scenario was about limited legroom for stretching exercise to prevent jet lag. The third scenario was baby crying uncontrollably while other passengers were trying to have a good sleep. Then we played out the forth scenarios where window seat passenger wants to go the toilet. The fifth scenario we had was how stewardess trying to wake passengers up for meal. The last scenario was about intoxicated passengers with disruptive behaviours.

IMG_4740 Mind map 2

6 different scenarios

Scenario 3: Baby crying uncontrollably

Scenario 4: Passenger trying to get back in to his seat while other passengers are sleeping

Scenario 4: Stewardess serving meal to passengers

IMG_4739 Mind map

Our group’s mindmap

We came out with the proposal of an enclosed soundproof compartment for mother travelling with an infant, the tiny but comfortable room comes with the right furnishing and equipments just like a small nursing room. From this exercise we also envisioned a solution to have all seat installed with moving mechanism, when a window passenger press the button, the same row of seats as well as the front row will gently move backward and forward slightly to allow him/her to get to the toilet more easily.

3) What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

Bodystorming involves role playing and improvisation of a product or service, this may be strenuous for some especially those who are introverted or not expressive enough to play a different character or some who are not imaginative of a non existed service/product.

Ideally the group performance should take place in a location where the product or service will be examined, complete with necessary artefacts in the environment. In this case economy class of an air-plane

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

Not at all! Not for our group. In fact we found this exercise is helpful for us to experience different scenarios and functions of existing a designed service. It helped us to find ways to fine-tune or improve existing services, and even helped to generate new ideas to enhance  existing services.

Tutorial 05: Ideating (acha5823)

Blog Reflection 05

1) 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?

Almost every things in our daily life were designed according to mainstream consumers’ needs. A kettle that works and looks like a kettle, a filing cabinet looks and works like a filing cabinet, etc. Of course industrial designers, engineers are working every day to make improvements on design and functions based to our needs.

Being in the position of an extreme user let me went wild with my imagination to explore the unknown territory. My mind was transformed into an individual with extreme, unusual and exaggerated need and requirements that no product on the market can meet what I wanted. This exercise let me understand the possibility of pushing user’s boundaries to the limits. To have breakthrough ideas, designer must think outside the square like no one else in order to create something truly unique and innovative and how to make it far beyond the normal expectations.


2) Did any of the other design thinking techniques (design provocations cards, stories, storyboards, etc) help you to work though ideas and collaborate with your group members?

Yes, design provocations cards, stories, storyboards help to generate more ideas along the way. Especially working in a group where everyone went through the cards, the stories, the storyboards, these helped to multiply far more ideas than brainstorming on my own.



Tutorial 04: Empathy & Defamiliarisation (acha5823)



1) Briefly reflect on the lesson learnt from each exercise
a) Reflective listening

To have empathy to another person is to pay full attention and understand what he/she is talking, and to listen every words mindfully.

To achieve that I have to possess good listening skills, let the person express him/herself without any interference, judgment or question. This lets him/ her express his/her feeling, emotions, experience, ideas and thoughts freely. When the speaker finished talking, reflect back by restating the key words and the feelings to him/her, this allow the speaker to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on how they feel. Let him/her know that I am doing my best to understand them through their message.

Reflective listening helps with greater understanding of not only what is being said but also the content, feeling and meaning of messages.

b) Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

Immediately after watching both videos, I wrote down every spontaneous thoughts and ideas without my usual restriction of self criticism. These were thoughts that flashed across my mind that particular moment, all were raw materials without being processed through the conscious mind. The whole uninhibited flow of writing without thinking helped me loosen up my fear of making mistakes, and this also let me ‘see’ both videos from a whole different dimension.

If I were to write with my usual analytical mind, then I will just be seeing things as they are and will not see anything out-side my familiarity. It is part of human nature that we conform to whatever we are familiar with and we stop thinking outside the norm.

c) Experience modelling

An ‘eye opening’ exercise to be in the shoes of someone with partial visual impairment. After experiencing a familiar place with the sense of sight, with the glasses covered with layer of cling wrap reduced visibility. It’s really intimidating and frustrating at first because all of a sudden my clear vision was reduced and not able to see thing clearly as before. I had to familiarize myself the exact same place and things through the signal of colour, tactile and sound.

Even with so much design considerations putting in for visual impair individual to help them with sense of hearing and sense of touch with every technology. I think it is still quite challenging to get public even with reduced visual capability.

2) Complement your reflection with photographs of the process

3) Include a scanned copy of your defamiliarisation forms (public transport)

Tutorial 03: Creating personas (acha5823)



1) Describe your experience of creating personas from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 person interviewed to form a 

There were four of us in the group: Laura, Alison, Yamin and myself. We are all 
students from different background. 
We used the same life style practice we shared as our subject for interview:  
Grocery shopping style and behaviours at supermarket. 
We took turn to interview each other with list of questions closely related to 
the grocery shopping.

Interview with Laura (female/ age 24/ student /working part time) :

Tell me about the last time you were at the supermarket?
L: Only weekend because of busy work/studies schedule. Buy lots of things to 
store for a week or two. Shop at Woolworths Burwood, sometimes Coles in 
Strathfield .  Even though Coles is at where I live, it is not that convenient 
it has smaller variety. Woolworths Burwood offers much larger variety.

Do you always shop on your own? 
L: On my own most of the time, occasionally with friends.

How long do you normally spend at Woolworths?
I think it takes about 1 hour 30 min. Because I only do my grocery shopping 
once a week, that is why I need to spend a bit of time there.
What motivates you to use this service?
L:  Convenient and large selection of products.

What are your favourite features?
L: Self checkout system, no need to wait in the counter where people buy lots of 
things. Self checkout is much quicker. Open til late, sometime I go at 10 pm and 
it closes at 12. Clear categories by display.

What causes you frustration or preventing you from doing something?
L: I wish Coles at my suburb is bigger and often better price.

What would be your ideal expectation?
L: Larger stock and product range. More self checkouts.

What items you usually buy? Do you have a shopping list?
L: I plan my shopping list in advance, they are Woolworth in house range.

Your most frequent section? Which aisle do you always go first?
L: Fresh food, snacks, milk. Sometime gardening, that’s my hobby.

Whom do you buy for?
L: Myself!


Interview with Alison (female/ age 21/ fulltime student) :

Tell me about the last time you were at the supermarket?
A: Last Wednesday, in fact it was after my gym session. I shop at Coles twice a 
week on Wednesday and Saturday after gym because it is just right below my 

Do you always shop on your own?
A: Alone. I like to do my grocery shopping after gym when I am in the so called 
“healthy eating lead to healthy living”  mood.

How long do you normally spend at Coles?
About 1 hour 30 min. I go around checking things out.

What motivates you to use this service?
A:  Convenient location and long trading hours.

What are your favourite features?
A: It is convenient shop and long trading hours.

What causes you frustration or preventing you from doing something?
A: Fresh produce sometime may not be the freshest. Then I will buy the same produce at smaller independent  grocers.

What would be your ideal expectation?
A: Wider range of fresher produce and food.

What items you usually buy? Do you have a shopping list?
A: Typical Coles’ range of items. I don’t plan my shopping list, I buy whatever cross my mind.

Your most frequent section? Which aisle do you always go first?
A: Fresh produce. I want to eat the freshest food I can find to stay healthy.

Whom do you buy for?
A: All for myself.


Interview with Nasha (female/ fulltime student) :

Tell me about the last time you were at the supermarket?
N: I went to Aldi this afternoon (Tuesday). I usually go on Saturday but it’s all
depend how busy are the studies/assignments or whether if I run out of things.

Do you always shop on your own?
N: Yes. I do grocery shopping on my own. This are for household stuff, not retail

How long do you normally spend at Aldi?
Half an hour I guess. I usually go in buy the things I need and leave.

What motivates you to use this service?
N:  It stretches my budget further. Aldi’s range of products are far better value
for money compared to the other big two.

What are your favourite features?
N: Cheaper range of product across the board. Also their weekly special promotion.

What causes you frustration or preventing you from doing something?
A: The distance. Even though walking is a form of exercise  but hand carry bags
full of shopping can be tiring.

What would be your ideal expectation?
N: Larger range of products and self checkout counters.

What items you usually buy? Do you have a shopping list?
N: Usually tea, soy milk, almond milk and free range eggs but I check the pantry
to see what is needed. Sometimes I do buy spontaneously if I come across item that I need and it is on special.

Your most frequent section? Which aisle do you always go first?
N: Tea and milk.

Whom do you buy for?
N: Myself.


Interview with Yamin (male/ age 27/ fulltime student) :

Tell me about the last time you were at the supermarket?
Y: I was at Woollies after weekend day out.  I went there to stock things up. I 
want to eat fresh so I make sure to go twice a week to get fresh fruit and 

Do you always shop on your own?
Y: Depend, sometime with friends.

How long do you normally spend at Woolworth?
Y: I need to go through aisle to aisle to find things I need, it takes about 1 and a half hour.

What motivates you to use this service?
Y:  It’s just convenient, I guess just like everyone else to shop at a supermarket
closest to where they live. 

What we your favourite features?
Y: Close to where I live, a wide range of products and open til late, I can hop 
in anytime before 12am.

What causes you frustration or preventing you from doing something?
Y: The store gets busy on Sunday evening, checkout lines are always long.

What would be your ideal expectation?
Y: Of course quicker checkout time, self served or staff managed checkout counters.

What items you usually buy? Do you have a shopping list?
Y: I don’t have a shopping list, just buy whatever that I need. 

Your most frequent section? Which aisle do you always go first?
Y: Definitely the drink section but I always go to fruits and vegetable section 
the moment I step into Wollies.

Whom do you buy for?
Y: Just for myself.


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

I consider my final persona workable in generating empathy from users. However, 
there are limitations to it as it was created based on interview with just 4 
individuals who shared the same background as student, that would confine the 
buying pattern to a certain style and the spending power to a certain limit 
(albeit some of the interviewees are from wealthier background).

To have a successful persona, I would conduct interviews with larger groups of 
users from various back ground, that will bring in much wider range of different 
users’ needs, wants , interests, frustrations, requirements etc. This will help 
to identify a more accurate users’ motivations, expectations and goals that 
responsible for driving behaviour. These information will able designer to create 
an ideal persona which is a quintessential user that represent the needs of larger
 groups of users, with regard to their goals and personal attributes and 

Tutorial 02: Interpreting data (acha5823)


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

As a society, every individual is different; their needs, necessity and requirements differ from one to another. While it may be easier to presume a standard set of users’ wants and needs a cross the board, but when others have even the slightest differences, the essential requirements will not be alike.

This exercise involved data collection from prospective users of different walk of life. These users  engaged in similar activities but their needs and expectations varies, at times even in opposite ends of the spectrum. The users’ data were analysed and organized into distinctive themes. This process helped to set aside my beliefs, concerns and preferences while thinking about the users. I put myself in thier perspective and reality, to validate their point of view, feelings regarding the situation they are in. In turn I have much better understanding and clearer views of their needs, desires and pain-points.

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

These clusters of users’ information are invaluable data in the process of design research. They were made up of multiple related issues, facts, ideas from human centred perspective and they were in complex tangled. To understand user needs, all their interests, motivations, frustrations,  requirements were written on post in notes and paste on the wall. These ideas were then sorted into different themes; ideas that are related in some ways were grouped together, others ideas that were interconnected were grouped together and so on. This process helped to break down the data into manageable sizes and provided more insights to see the connections between the themes. Everyone in the our group contributed to the affinity diagram grouping process, this helped to provide a logical way to capture themes that have developed and can then be understood as well as utilised for design research.

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

It was a team activity, the results were completely dependent on the group members involved in creating them. In our group, some members wrote ideas, some dealt with statements, while others made descriptions. This made grouping the notes into the right theme harder, especially there might be a numbers of notes that most likely related in more than a group. Another challenge was not having enough time to read each interviews, this made it a challenge to keep track of important ideas to be included in the diagrams

Prior to the affinity diagram, more time should be given to group members to discuss the approach in creating the diagram. Everyone should be given more time to read and pick the key points.

Tutorial 1 : Sketching as a thinking tool (acha5823)

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