IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 09 – chau2417

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

When i am thinking in shot and scenes, i have a much clear idea of how my design works, because putting the design idea into real life scenario can give me a vivid picture of its application, at the same time it may unveil the hidden issues i have never thought of, so the design can be further improved to increase its functions and usability. Also, using story for presentation gives audience a comprehensive understanding to the idea, since story is much more relatable to the audience’s personal experience, and the concept can be well articulated easily, also it is more intriguing than using word description especially when you are presenting complex ideas to the audience.

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

We use the What, When, Where, How and Why as a guideline to construct the story because stories constructed in this pattern resembles a real life scenario, audience can relate the story to their personal experience easily, which makes the story more convincing and easy to understand. Also, story is a great tool to deeply connect the audience with idea, as the story goes, audience will be emotionally connected to the character, which help audience to generate empathy toward the users and understand how the design could truly influence their life. There are numerous movies using the similar structure, however i could not remember the name of them, but all of them are convincing yet engaging.

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

I think style and audience are closely related because it can directly impact on the audience’s acceptance of the design. Choosing a wrong style will give wrong impression of the design to the audience, sometimes it may even cause confusion and misunderstanding of the idea. Therefore as a designer, we should consider the style bases our audience in order to communicate effectively. For example, our audience will be the people with mental issues, so we will try to cooperate elements that relates to happiness and warmth because those are what mental patients need.

Blog Reflection 08 – chau2417

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

The objects we chose were plastic glove and tea pad, at first we have no clue how they can be used beside a their intended uses, but after a several attempts of manipulating the form and shape, we came up the idea of blowing the glove up and turned it into a hand shaped balloon which can be used for cuddling. The balloon looks so amusing we started to brainstorm the further uses of it, finally we had an interesting idea of using it as a ring holder. For the tea pad, it was adhered to a spoon to become a iphone stand.

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?

I think that affordance of an object is unpredictable and can not be designed deliberately, since it is based on the personal interpretation of an object which is greatly influenced by past experience and knowledge. However i think designer could pay attention to certain aspects in the design to increase its affordance, in the glove example, we can easily blow up the glove and turn it into a ring holder since it is made with rubber, the materiality of it allows us to explore the new purpose of the object. Ambiguity is another great way to introduce affordance, when we were playing around with the tea pad, we found that its shape and rigidity was perfect for supporting something, thus we turned it into a iphone stand. The primitive shape of tea pad does not contain any explicit meaning on its own, which makes it so versatile and can be adapted to different functions, the tea pad is not confined to its intended uses. That ambiguity gives us opportunities to further explore its potential usages.

Blog Reflection 07 – chau2417

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

Think aloud – The user is asked to provide verbal feedback while performing a designated task with the prototype, users are required to verbalize their thoughts and interact with prototype simultaneously so the observer could pick up responds from users on a subconscious level by knowing how they feel at the moment. As a observer i find that even a single word uttered by the user can be a subtle clue to some minor or major issues of the prototype, for example when i was the observer, my group mate kept saying the word “where” and “not again” while surfing the site, at that moment we have already known that the site has poor users interface and too many pathways. By observing what they say, their body language and even the slightest facial expression, we are able to better understand the feeling and frustration of users.

As a user who were asked to evaluate the usability of the site, i found that the sites with good usability are usually simple, intuitive and well presented. I could achieve the task easily without spending too much time wandering around the site with frustration. On contrast, sites with poor usability are too complex and counter intuitive, for example, the booking system in Seymour sites is a bit confusing, the booking button is not clear on the front page, it takes sometimes for the me to locate it, another annoying aspect is that you must be a registered member to book online, so you have to fill out the tedious registration form before you make the payment, the whole experience may be a lot smoother if they allow you to check out as a guest which is common on making online purchase.

What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

Some people may find it difficult when being asked to speak out their thoughts while doing something, since it is like doing a self-talk publicly, they have to overcome the shyness and the feeling of being silly. Sometimes people are talking too fast which makes recording what they have said difficult. Moreover, think aloud requires the user to be fully concentrate since they are interacting with the prototype and providing feedback simultaneously, which may be demanding for some people. Nonetheless, i think that it is a valuable tool for designer to better understand the user experience.


Blog Reflection 06 – chau2417

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

Simply by acting out the hospital scenario, it gave us a much more comprehensive view of the problems our user might be facing. By visualizing the actual situation this help us to avoid overlooking some of the design issues that are subtle but important. During the exercise, we recorded every single problems we had encountered and discovered that there are lots of design opportunities in it, also we were able to identify the area that require improvement more easily by Bodystorming than by our assumption and conjecture.


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

Bodystorming allows us to identify the potential problems the users might face in the particular situation, and sometime it can expose the blind spot in our thinking when we look the simulation of a real situation, the information collected from it helps us to further polish our design which will greatly increase its usability.


What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

Bodystorming require participant to have sufficient amount of past experience and imagination in order to work out. In the hospital scenario, since some of our group member had never been to the waiting room, it was hard some them to simulate that experience, they have to act based on their assumption and imagination, which might make the scenario unconvincing because of the improper respond they gave to the situation. Another problem is the difficulties to abandon some of the preconceived ideas and assumption we had about the situation, since ingrained preconception might make our respond toward a situation biased which makes the observation based on it invalid.


Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I think that this technique works better if participant are familiar with the scenario they are about to act, otherwise the observation we make from the simulation will be biased and inaccurate because it highly rely on our past experience and level of understanding to the situation. Nevertheless it is a valuable tool for us to generate empathy toward user and identify some hidden issues we might have overlooked when designing on paper.

Blog Reflection 05 – chau2417

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?

Designing from extreme user position is a totally new idea to me when i try to solve a design problem, i usually consider to fulfill the needs of the board range of people instead of a particular type of user. However in this exercise we try to step inside the shoe of an extreme user and depict how he/she interacts with our design under an extreme situation. Although the scenario we came out may seem a bit too fancy, it provoked a lot of new ideas that we had never thought of because of the limitations and opportunities that the extreme scenario gave.


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?

Storyboards are very useful for communicating your design because it provides a gripping yet readily comprehensible narrative to people. I found that my group members could express their idea more freely by telling the story with vivid pictures instead of written text which help us to work through ideas easily.

Blog Reflection 04 – chau2417

Reflective listening

I found myself more comfortable when being a listener, because i like listening to other people’s story, it gives an in-depth understanding of that person and sometimes a valuable lesson you will never find on book. On the other hand, being a speaker is slightly difficult because i rarely share my personal story to stranger, especially in an interview style conversation.


Defamiliarization of everyday reality

As a student who mainly travel by public transport, it is interesting to see that even a simple video like that could evoke so much emotion when you are being mindful of your thought while watching it, although most of them are negative emotion such as the mundaneness and boredom, it is interesting to see almost everyone in my group have the very similar feelings. As a design student, i think this community implies there is an opportunity to greatly improve our experience in public transport.



Empathetic modeling

We are asked to put the wrap cling on so we are deprived of normal sight, i had to pay extra attention while walking because everything was so blurred that i could not even recognise the person in front of me. However stepping into the shoes of a visually impaired people just reminded me how privileged i am to be able to see clearly. Also i found that this exercise allows me to perceive the world from a whole new perspective, just by putting a wrap cling on, everything i saw seem unfamiliar yet intriguing, i have never had that kind of sensory experience before. This experience just show me how important to be empathetic toward the intended users when designing.


Blog Reflection 03 – chau2417

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?

Since all of my group member are international student, we chose public transport as our topic since we are all familiar with it. Although there were huge different between our age, preference and cultural background etc., we tried to look for the commonalities in our traveling pattern and came up with our persona. The resulting persona was very impressive because the person we had created was like the mixture of people from different background and we have never met any person who share the same character with that before.


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

Because of the time constraint and low sample sizes, the content of our persona was very rough and without the depth required to make any meaningful contribution to our design process. However, we did find that the persona allow us to think about the design problem from different person’s perspective because we were generating empathy with user, that help us to foresee and understand the unique challenges a user might face, which makes our design decision less biased and more thoughtful.

Blog Reflection 02 – chau2417

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

By reviewing different users’ interview, it gives me a very comprehensive understanding on individual interests, need, motivation and frustration because it allows me to look at the problem on their perspective, which is rarely happen to me before when i try to solve a design problems. Also one of the thing i have learnt is that people often communicate their interest and desire indirectly. Most of the time what users actually need is hidden from the cluster of irrelevant statement, however, when i try to extract useful information and analyse them thoroughly it often brings me some meaningful insight. The whole exercise is like mining of ideas.

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

Looking at the cluster of information we extracted from different interview, some common patterns of problem and people behaviours can be observed. Clustering of information allows us understand the general interests, need, motivation and frustration of users which makes us to look at root of the problem directly.

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

Coming to an agreement with my teammates, since everyone have their own explanation after analysing the information, we spent so much time on arguing which conclusion is the most appropriate. Another thing is the time limitation do not allow everyone to finish reading the whole transcript, the information we came up with were insufficient to make enough meaningful conclusion.

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