IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



BLOG REFLECTION 10 – blan4270

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

Thinking in terms of shots and scenes allowed me to visualise more specifically how the story would be conveyed. For example, I thought about extreme close ups in relation to character building (the ‘Who’), and wide shots in relation to elaborating the context (the ‘Where’). By putting pencil to paper and making the ideas visual, it really helped to fill out all the details that may be overlooked when simply thinking about it, as well as re-evaluate the needs and issues that the design solution sets out to address.

2. What motivated your choice of storyline structure? Can you think of an exemplar from a film that uses the same structure?

Stylistically, I had in mind anime classics, such as ‘Death Note’. I feel this is particularly apparent through the use of extreme close-ups, minimal dialogue, and dark mood. I was motivated by trying to convey aloneness and solitude, while building empathy with the protagonist. In this way, facial expressions were extremely important, as well as the insights into the protagonists daily life through the display of the intimate space of their bedroom.

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

I chose to set the scene in a teenagers bedroom, which strongly targets the intended audience through relatable imagery. The style is highly emotive, to appeal to an audience with strong emotions.

BLOG REFLECTION 09 – blan4270

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

My chosen household object was a garlic crusher. Initially, the soft grip of the handle is the obvious affordance. This led to speculations of different methods of handling, spinning out a variety of different uses such as a hammering or hitting device, or use as ‘tongs’ for picking up other objects. Over the course of the exercise, and closely examining the object from a number of angles, further affordances became apparent, such as the hanging holes, and the sound of metal upon metal when the tool was reversed. This led to speculated use as a necklace, flail, and musical instrument. Finally, the affordances of the removable metal basket could be extrapolated as a miniature sieve or deep fry basket, as a scalding or branding device or as a shower head.

2.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.

Wrapping the tool in cling wrap made many of these affordances less apparent. We also found that blindfolding each other greatly increased the difficulty of recognising affordances in most cases. Insights gained from working with affordances as a designer would be the importance of making them apparent to the senses, especially visually and tactilely. It was inspirational to examine the garlic crusher from so many different angles as an exercise in defamiliarisation, which made me realise the extent of possibilities.

BLOG REFLECTION 08 – blan4270

Reflect on your experience of conducting and participating in usability evaluation, by answering the following questions: Comment on how you experienced the technique as both user and evaluator for each of the 2 techniques (user observation, think-aloud):

1.What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

The think-aloud technique is very useful in determining the user’s thought processes. It enables them to give direct and spontaneous feedback at every step of the process. I was the designated user to employ this technique while using the Officeworks website. I feel that it was effective in communicating my decision making and explaining the issues that I encountered. When assessing others using this technique, it was easy to follow and led to insights such as them not being able to find certain features. User observation, on the other hand, is more difficult to follow as an evaluator because facial expressions can be ambiguous, and sometimes hard to read when the user is looking down towards the screen. As a user, they are automatic. For this reason, they may be able to expose more genuine insights, and those that are too difficult or transitory to verbalise.

2.What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

The think aloud technique is easy because it is direct and requires little interpretation. User observation, however, requires a lot of attention, so it is difficult to both record and observe simultaneously. Observations must then be matched up with specific steps of the process, and therefore must be combined with either a thorough think-aloud narration or a screen grab to gain a useful interpretation.

Summary Poster – blan4270


Blog Reflection 06 – blan4270

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

In designing ways to improve doctors waiting rooms, acting out helped us visualise a wider context for the situation, informing our ideas about limited available space and layout. It also placed us in the position and mindset of the user.

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

Bodystorming initially inspired our ideas revolving around pleasant spaces, and avoiding too much close contact or lines of sight. We refined these ideas by rearranging the chairs and trying it out until we reached the best configuration for the space provided. Then we acted out reporting to the reception area. Our director informed us that the reception area had a very long queue, which inspired us to think of ways to reduce the burden on the receptionist. This led to our innovative check in app solution, which also included directions to the toilet to help out one of the hypothetically queuing patients.

What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

It was challenging to know what to do, imagine and flesh out the situation and come up with authentic ways of acting. The directors cues certainly helped with this when they were given.

Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Bodystorming is yet another technique to provide a unique outlook to direct your thinking. Certainly in a spacial organisation problem, such as improving doctors waiting rooms or improving air passenger seating, it is an effective technique to get the initial ideas flowing. It would also be useful for design ideas revolving around the use of physical objects or interactions between people.

BLOG REFLECTION 05 – blan4270

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?

Taking the position of an extreme user allowed me to step outside of my own attitudes and values and consider a very different set of preferences. Usually, when I am generating ideas, I think first of what would be appealing to me and judge the idea based on that – I think this is only natural. But an extreme user has very specific requirements, and in this way constraints may inspire greater creativity.

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

Coming up with ideas together as a group was somewhat challenging, as the story totally veered away from my original conception. I thought, however, that everyone had some very unique and interesting ideas. It was fun to discuss as a group, but we quickly left behind a sense of reality or utility to ground the creative process. It was difficult to come up with specific details of a story for an extreme user without a bit of research. Drawing the storyboard was also a challenge but once complete is an effective way to get the story across quickly and easily.

BLOG REFLECTION 04 – blan4270

a. Reflective listening – It is difficult to know sometimes when to interrupt or when to allow the speaker to continue. It is easier to talk about yourself than know what questions to ask of the speaker next – you don’t know whether to keep pressing a particular issue or move onto the next. Also, it was hard to stay following the directions of the activity and not just ‘chat’ as I normally would. In this way, it taught we to use some restraint and to listen really carefully.

b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality – It was interesting to compare a second-hand perception of an everyday activity with your familiar mental model of that activity. When you don’t control what to look at, and your view is framed by another’s recording device, your focus is narrowed. Tiny details are more easily noticed. And it definitely provoked lots of memories of stages of my life where I’ve had a similar experience.

c. Empathic modelling – Wearing cling-wrap over glasses certainly made it near impossible to see. I think I used a bit too much. The only things that caught my attention were the lights, as they were the only things I could see really. And they weren’t that interesting. But its definitely scary being blind.


Blog Reflection 03 – blan4270

1) 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?

Our chosen topic was public transport. We discovered a strong commonality between two of us based on distance, frequency and trip length, while the other two were outliers. However, in the creation of our persona, we were also able to include common perspectives from all four of us, such as the efficiency of the opal system. We later created a second persona to express perspectives of a user with a much greater trip distance, based on one of our group members.

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

I think creating the persona was effective in generating empathy with the user as you are better able to visualise their specific needs, however a wider dataset of interviewees would definitely improve its credibility.

Blog Reflection 02 – blan4270

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

By reading the full interview transcript, I was able to gain a very deep understanding of the context which enabled me to abstract a more unique user-need statement. Specific examples in the form of anecdotes inspire a more complex understanding of the problems faced by the prospective user. The character of my transcript, for instance, couldn’t gauge whether places were popular because they were good, or popular because they were most known about or advertised. Similarly, he found it challenging to know whether recommendations by locals were personal or skewed by their preconceptions of his desires. This dichotomy of tourist traps vs authentic experiences proved to be a major recurring theme.

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

Clustering helped synthesise many discrete and specific notes into over-arching themes, as well as gauge how common or important each one is, inferred by the quantity of notes. These contribute to a core understanding of user needs as a collection of key aspects, which provide the directions of focus for the designer.

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

More time was definitely needed to tease out all the unique aspects of so many yellow notes! We didn’t even reach the pink note stage! It was extremely challenging to cluster the notes in ways that captured their uniqueness, however this technique really helped to suggest different logical frameworks for organisation. It becomes apparent that there are many ways the notes could be clustered, so they could even be re-arranged to derive additional blue notes!

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