IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



User Research Summary Poster.

Summary Poster aram0333

Blog 6. Bodystorming.


  1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas? The excercise is interesting because it takes you out of your comfort zone. It also forces you to get in the user’s shoes so you are able to evaluate the scenario differently. Mentally you are able to understand the spacial factors and physical demands of an specific situation. You are aware of movement, space, climate conditions etc… I found this very helpful. I brainstorm most of the time and love it. This is the first time I was introduce to the idea of bodystorming.
  2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way? Not so much. We were trying to figure out who was doing what. We were able to debrief later…although we spent more time listing the problem than finding solutions. I believe the excercise does help refine your ideas and understand the problem from a different angle.
  3. What was difficult or challenging about body storming? I believe the hardest part was to get everyone to detach themselves and take the character of someone different. It takes time for a team to get going but once is there the results can be surprising.
  4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems? Role playing is difficult. Envisioning different scenarios requires imagination and an open mind. Nevertheless is effective and helpful especially if you are testing a prototype. All the senses are involved when trying out a new product: how it feels, how it smells, how much it weights are some of the aspects that bodystorming helps you consider ahead.

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Blog 4. Affinity Diagrams.

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

It helped us create empathy because we could relate to the frustrations and needs of the potential users. Some of the stories discuss relationships, the need to socialize with your partner, find directions on Google maps or take out your pet to the vet. Day to day activities. It is not difficult to get in the shoes of the interviewees.

How did this clustering of information help you understand user needs?

The tutorial helped us observe data effectively. It helped us understand our users better because we could categorize specific needs. Nevertheless, some of the clusters were difficult to organize and the hand writing didn’t help 😦 We managed to get it right at the end.

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

Working with sticky notes is great because it helps visualize a picture better. However the surfaces were not the best and some of them fell off. I would reinforce the use of clear phrases and full sentences per note. Some of us use only words and this made the  tutorial harder.



Blog 3. Creating Personas

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 was stimulating and also challenging. Our group was made of 2 males and 2 females. We had an interesting exchange of responses between our group because we all came from different backgrounds. I come from Colombia, my team mates come from Chile, China, and Indonesia.

We chose the topic catching public transport. We found commonality between the 4 of us in various aspects. We all agreed that catching public transport in Sydney can be frustrating due to the well known inconsistencies of buses arriving on time. It is seriously pathetic.

Also, everyone in the team was in the same age bracket and we are all students on a budget. This helped create a persona without major challenges. We only encountered issues when we needed to chose a gender since our team was split in half.

One interesting observation is that all participants spent a fair amount of time fantasizing about the ideal catching public transport experience. We realized we are all very lazy because we all want to be taken places avoiding walking as much as possible. This observation can be helpful in capturing user needs leading to the design of a future service. Perhaps a service that synchronizes all transport to serve your needs.

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

Overall we created an effective persona. However, after receiving feedback from another team we made some adjustments in the description. For example, we rephrased every answer of the template to make it more narrative. This way our persona will sound more vivid and engaging. We spent some time changing it line after line until the final persona could generate empathy with users. We didn’t have much time left to expand on this and create other personas from different age brackets, for example. Nevertheless we worked well and achieved the goals of the tutorial.

Here is a picture of the team.


Blog 2. Material Iterations Tutorial.

Reflect on your experience of the Material Iterations tutorial exercise by answering the following questions.

1. How did working through different materials help you to explore and express potential solutions to a design problem?

The experience was quite challenging to me. More than helping me explore potential solutions it made me think about potential problems instead. For instance: how do you make a chair out of toothpicks?! You immediately have to consider space, surface, resistance and even gravity. It made me think about the context more deeply. It also made me realize how much texture makes a difference in a product.

2. What kinds of information and inspiration did the different materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?

All 3 elements were so different to handle. I realized how texture really makes a difference and it is quite determinant when creating a place for comfort or retreat. My favourite material was the cardboard because it allowed me to portray the chair better. The colourful element also helped it looked more real. I also enjoyed working with toothpicks because it is a natural fabric which is associated to the spa kind of setting I wanted to create.

3. What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?

Once I realized how challenging working with toothpicks was I decided it was better for me to create a flat surface of the chair using tape. See picture. I change the way I went about it half way trough. The last prototype helped me reflect movement so I was pleased about that. I learned that the materials used can radically change a specific idea you have in mind. All 3 samples are so different it is hard to believe they come from the same design.

4. How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

I was pleased with the proposal to build a movable chair suited for a bathroom spa or a spa lounge at home. I wanted to design a chair where the user would be able to lift up his/her feet to rest and also dip them in water as a second feature. My goal was to provide a solution to tired feet with 2 attractive options for the user.


Blog 1. Redesign the Gift Experience.

1. How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

Engaging with a peer mate proved to be fun and very productive. Our minds worked together to challenge each other and make something smart and innovative at the end. We surprised each other with our clever thoughts and encouraged each other in our weak input.  Working together shifted the purpose of the prototype towards a collaborative effort that would solve a problem creatively. Our goal was to solve ONE specific problem to the best of our abilities and time restrictions.

2. What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

It is risky! You feel more vulnerable and uncomfortable sharing work that is not complete. However, the exercise is stimulating and effective. It is easy to work in an environment where the biggest room is room for improvement and  leaning through trial and error is ok. Once you pass the fear of inadequacy you are free to imagine and create. Especially if you have a good partner.

3. As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

I was very impressed with my partner’s ability to understand my need and try to tap into what I care the most to provide a solution.  I had the opportunity to ask several questions about the product as well.

4. Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I want to patten these ideas! Was my first thought.

I would probably add more time to the activity. I still have many questions about the operative aspect of the design. The steps from ideation to prototyping are still very unclear to me. I believe we will free different at the end of the course. Looking forward to learning more.

5. What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

I would infuse the same principle I mentioned above: room to “fail” and as much synergy as possible.20150310_105354

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