IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 4: Interpreting Data

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

This exercise helped me to understand that there are underlying motivations shared by many users. Despite the four subjects being very different people in very different scenarios, there20150324_205045 were themes around time management, leisure, family, personal development and life experience that were consistent across all of them, themes that I also identified in myself as the process unfolded.

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

Trying to analyse the user needs from the many individual pieces of information from our respective users would have been way too complicated and problematic. Clustering the information helped to paint a really simple picture of these user needs. I was surprised at how easily we were able to group these needs and how few clusters there actually were – around 7 or 8 – I expected there would be quite a few more.

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

Overall I actually found the technique surprisingly fluid, particularly given the time constraint, which says a lot for its efficacy. The greatest challenge I guess was defining the clusters. But once they were defined the various pieces of the puzzle (the user information) fell into place with relative ease. There were, however, a few miscellaneous pieces that didn’t seem to fit anywhere and some that had a somewhat tenuous connection to defined clusters, so next time I would probably identify a limited number of top line pieces of data for each interview subject (say 10) to help define the clusters, then review the interviews again to identify any further information that either reaffirms or broadens the cluster definitions.

Reflection on chair design

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

Each material could be manipulated in different ways, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. But combined you could see how they could complement each other to achieve a desired solution. This process of material manipulation inspired greater ideas and ultimately informed a stronger solution to the brief.20150310_210404_000

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

The cardboard had the strength to be able to make a three-dimensional mock-up of the idea but it was too rigid to actually give any real aesthetic design to. The pipe cleaners, however, while not being strong enough to actually make anything that could stand on its own four legs, had the flexibility to explore aesthetic expression. The toothpicks were the most difficult to manipulate, and time got the better of me, but in the end I realised if I had more time they would have been a good material to explore a practical, workable framework for the chair design idea.

I would say the cardboard was probably my favourite material to work with because, in the short amount of time we had, it was the material that best facilitated my ability to actually materialise what was in my mind’s eye.

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

The function of the design changed quite a lot as I explored various three-dimensional working ideas through the manipulation of different materials. This ultimately changed the product proposition from the initial two-dimensional concept drawing.

Making prototypes with three very different materials taught me that design thinking isn’t just about how your concept looks, or what it does, or how it does it… it’s actually a combination all three.

20150310_2104394) How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

Given I was designing a chair for an old man who spent most of his day in it, one of my key design principles was ‘napability’. Initially the concept was a fairly conventional reclining chair, but the process of manipulating the materials to generate this idea enabled me to explore other solutions embodying this principle, which ultimately resulted in a chair that could convert into a full bed.

Blog 1 – wgen7559

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

It made me empathise with their experience and how it could be improved to make that experience better for them, rather than just developing a prototype around an experience I would like. In the end I actually achieved both.

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

Having a three dimensional mock up – albeit a very rough one – was actually beneficial to articulating the concept and helped generate constructive feedback to improve it.

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 tried to imagine the digital portal he conceived and the page-by-page user experience I would have with it. The low resolution did make it difficult to follow but it also forced me to use my imagination and provide feedback and ideas that he may have otherwise not thought of.

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 would enhance the prototype aesthetically so it is a better representation of the concept and I would present it to someone else or a group of people to gain further insights on how it could be improved, or if in fact it was even a viable concept. I would also reinterview the user and delve deeper into their personality, habits and interests, rather than just focusing on that singular gift-giving experience, to gain a more holistic understanding of their motivations.

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

I would add an element of sharability. I would want the concept to be something they would be motivated to share with others both experientially and digitally.

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