IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



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!

Blog Reflection 01 – blan4270

1. How is this sketch-noting technique different to the traditional note taking?

Sketch-noting involves mapping ideas spatially by concept, rather than traditional note taking which is lineally down the page. It can include images, diagrams, visual links or arrows, and differing typography. 

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

The visual approach to presenting information serves to make it more easily digestible for the reader or viewer. An outline of the main concepts can be immediately recognized, and sub-points logically organised, ready for deeper inquiry. This means that information can not only be received quicker, but also in a more memorable way due to striking layout and other visual features. These are personally chosen by the sketch-noter to provide emphasis through hierarchy, and in this way can produce a more unique interpretation of the information than merely presenting all content with an equal weight.

Disadvantages of sketch-noting may arise when there are too many inter-links within the information, thus presenting chaos, or when the information is best received chronologically in the first place. Sketch-noting also has the negative potential to over-simplify, distort or skew the interpretation of the information.

3. Personal challenges as a sketch-noter.

I find sketch-noting to be a challenging way of note-taking for when the information is being received for the first time. At this stage, I have not yet developed a mental map of the main concepts, so just jotting them down on the page spatially as they arise may lead to mis-placement and the wrong weighting. I find myself running out of space that I only speculatively assigned to a category or concept. I also found it to be time consuming to develop the visual features simultaneous to absorbing the information. I think sketch-noting is best undertaken in subtle ways to begin with, but is a truly excellent way of presenting the information once you know most of the information and have already given it just a tiny bit of thought!

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