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IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind

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craigusvegas

Blog Reflection w4-cell0584

Blog Reflection – week 4: Empathy and defamiliarisation

Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise.

Reflective listening

Reflective listening is would suggest is active listening, that is, the process of uncovering information as it is being discussed. It is an organic experience, where, having some key points to discuss, the listener is an active part of the conversation. The conversation able to segue into previously unforeseen areas as new insights are revealed. Empathy with the speaker is important in this process, making them feel comfortable in revealing insights which are personal in nature. 

Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

In viewing the two videos – firstly of watching a train depart, followed by another arriving from the opposite direction, I thought to myself how odd that the person filming the experience did not linger of the spectacular view of Circular Quay, but rather, the mundanity of commuters and day trippers getting off and on a train, momentarily lingering to take in that view.

I am reminded of the Lumière Brother’s famous 1895 film L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat. A film which, in its day evoked horror from the audience as they were confronted by a train moving toward them as if about the crash through the wall, as they had never experienced a projected moving image before.

The sequence of the bus journey also narrowed in its vision of a single view down to the front of the bus, rather than take in the passing scenery.

Both experiences reminded me of the fleeting nature of experience, many such passionless moments soon to be lost without trace.

In this instance the defamiliarisation is about experiencing through the senses of someone else, who acts and behaves quite differently to ourselves and has their own way of experiencing a space and moment.

Experience modelling

In this experience, removing the clarity of vision and having to move through an environment with reduced vision, I was interested in how I firstly needed to impart my own prior experiences of the environmental space to ‘fill in the missing pieces’ like giving myself clues in able to move with some confidence. But the more I moved with the reduced vision, the more I relied on my other senses which were not affected, to compensate for the disability.

The act of putting oneself in the ‘shoes’ of the intended user, we are brought into their world and can use this experience to shape possible directions and approaches if we were to design or create something for this particular demographic.

Blog Reflection w3 – Personas: cell0584

Describe your experience of creating personas from different user’s 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?

In terms of determining a persona gathered from different user’s perspectives – our group of 4 sought to create a persona based on someone who catches public transport. The persona our group created – someone who catches public transport less than once a week, outside of peak hour times and has a generally positive attitude to the public transport system and the technologies associated with it (use of an app detailing arrival at stop times as well as an efficient card-based payment system, enhancing efficiency and avoiding payment transaction delays). This persona would generally be seen in the minority and I don’t think would form the basis of any user-centred design strategy.

From our findings it could be determined that overall satisfaction and specific behavioural variables relate to the frequency of public transport use, the distance travelled and traffic congestion that is associated with it, the regularity and scope of hours of operation for bus services and the dependence on public transport as a primary source of transit (or the luxury of having alternative means of travel).

The more dependant/frequent the user of public transport, the more susceptible to the frustrations associated with utilising the service. The more infrequent and less dependent on public transport use in peak hour times, the more positive the experience.

Our group of 4 did not have an overall coherence, in fact members seemed to be located on opposite sides of the ‘behavioural variables’ graphs that we created from our findings. It did make sense to create a second persona (in fact a third persona would also have been needed).

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

Overall, the creation of a persona that is successful in generating empathy with users requires many more user profiles (I would suggest around 10 or more) to allow the law of averages to place the behavioural variables based on the different user-profiles in a more consistent range on the various graphs created. Personas are a great way to develop empathy with potential users in developing design solutions created for specific outcomes and demographic targets.

Our final persona, was I think successful in generating empathy with users nonetheless. The final persona was an amalgam of the 4 different user profiles from within the group: we present Lisa Turner. Lisa is dependent on catching public transport from the outer suburbs of Sydney, has a busy lifestyle with work and family balance and uses public transport for it’s reliability and the fact that using a car on the congested roads and the prohibitive cost of parking in the city makes the use of public transport more attractive, despite the consistent associated frustrations with the service.

w3-persona-Lisa

 

 

W2 Reflection – User Research: cell0584 aka Craig Elliott

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

Research based on interviews with a range of travellers. The interviews provided specific experiential concerns with the human attributes of travel – how the different users encountered the experience of travel – from specific personal points such as difficulties in navigation, being directed to homogenous travel destinations or specifically wanting to find ‘inside information’ specific to their needs and wants, through to the overall travel experience for the individual interviewees.

We were able to see the issues regarding travel through many different perspectives. We were able to build empathy with the prospective users because we were able to see a range of individual needs relating to the ‘human experience’ in travel; containing direct and emotive concerns, from a larger perspective through to specific issues.

 

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

The clustering of information showed that even with a diverse group of people interviewed, there were similar needs and difficulties related to the theme of travelling. By sorting through the ‘highlighted information’ the group was able to find common themes in their challenges and requirements across a range of demographic groups.

 

  1. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

The main challenge with the technique was finding commonalities across each group member’s post-it findings and working out whether the information could be clustered with other observations – or if it was a slightly different category itself. The main issue to arise in terms of difficulty was working within the constraints of the time-frame. In looking to distil the interview transcripts into a list of interests, needs, motivations & frustrations, I personally would have liked more time to read over the interview a few times to fully understand the issues of the interviewee – allowing me to understand the context of the issues and be able to frame these issues in the form of a first-person observations on the post-it notes.

In bringing a range of disparate information together, and searching for common themes within each post-it note meant that it was like solving a puzzle, looking for clues based on the transcriptions of highlighted information paraphrased each small post-it note. As we became more familiar with each person’s information, there were certainly common themes in the experiences and requirements, which we were able to cluster. The benefit of course with working on post-it notes was that the information was easy to move, rework, rephrase and edit.

How would you do it better next time?

Firstly, having done it for a first time, I am sure that our group would know what to look for in terms of the underlying meanings within the interview transcripts. I would suggest that next time, our group could benefit from discussing key statements within each interview together to create a concept map – based on the interview. This experience would no doubt influence the type of language we used in the post-it transcriptions and the types of information we would look for within each interview. I think we would also next time define the categories much more readily as user statements/questions in the language we used to communicate the concerns.

Blog Reflection 01: cell0584

HOW IS THE TECHNIQUE OF SKETCHING DIFFERENT TO TRADITIONAL NOTE-TAKING?

Traditional note taking is the transcribing of information either read or heard by the person recording the information in a written form. Sketching is the use of illustrated symbols and representational images serving as both a visualisation and interpretation of the information received.

Both note-taking and sketching can be a subjective or selective interpretation of the information received by the recorder, and can segue from specifically recording the information received, however sketching involves the use of representational illustrations, symbols or diagrams to visualise the information in a way that can be immediately understood – with the ability to transcend language, levels of education and incorporate metaphor, iconography and symbolism as part of the communicative representations. Sketching can also detail nuance and an emotional resonance via the subtlety of gestural mark making. Having said that, how notes are rendered on the page through a choice of typographic forms and styles and as a piece of mark-making can have enormous potential as a higher level of visual communication.

A good example of the difference between the written transcription of information and an illustrative approach is to compare the Palaeolithic-era imagery found in the Lascaux Caves and the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The lost languages would have forever been a mystery had it not been for the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the lost language of Egyptian hieroglyphs to be interpreted because the communication on the stone was also presented in Ancient Greek.

Brainstorming (now called a ‘mind shower’ in this age of political correctness), is the recording then listing of descriptive keywords based around a concept or idea. The act of listing keywords can also be used as an evolutionary process – in that once a word is written down, it moves from the abstract, can be isolated and evaluated, and can itself then be used as a trigger/catalyst to unveil a subsequent array of keywords.

HOW DOES THIS VISUAL APPROACH FACILITATE COMMUNICATION OF YOUR IDEAS? CONVERSELY, HOW DOES IT PREVENT IT?

Once information is recorded either visually or transcribed as notes, the communication becomes subjective. Visualisation of information through the use of symbols and illustrative elements can ‘flavour’ the information being presented with essentially abstract conditions such as a sense of emotion and atmosphere. Ultimately thought is abstract, but how this information is presented as a visualised form has the potential to quickly present a form, setting or situation via the reader’s innate abilities to comprehend symbols and imagery as both representative and communicative.

Using representational images as visual communication require prior understanding by the renderer and the reader, of the use of symbolic mark making as a form of detailed communication.

The understanding of illustrated forms can be affected by the reader’s limitations of comprehension via inexperience, background or cultural exposure. The effectiveness of a visualised piece of communication can also be affected by limitations in the skills and ability of the person doing the illustrating.

Conversely, the written language can also be constrained by the reader’s own limitations in the comprehension of word definitions within a specific language and understanding of a word’s meaning or definition..

PERSONAL CHALLENGES AS A SKETCHNOTER.

 Challenges and limitations to a sketch-noter can the individual’s own ability to communicate via illustrative means. Sketching does involve practice. The challenge is to improve one’s ability to communicate using illustrative symbols and representations.

To paraphrase the words of legendary Warner Brothers Looney Tunes animation director Chuck Jones, which he articulated to a class of aspiring animators, “You all have 100,00 bad drawings inside you, the sooner you get them out, the better you will be.”

It is relevant to note the director George Miller’s approach to the conception of the scripts/screenplays of his films – eg the Mad Max and Babe movies, which are ‘written’ visually through sketching. ‘Writing sessions’ involve the film’s creative team working with skilled storyboard artists who synthesise the actions as visual representations of character action within a setting. By conceiving the story immediately as a visual form, the detailed nuance and information regarding the setting, characterisation and action can be effectively presented without the need for long, detailed written descriptions of the specific components of the film’s production.

Interpreting Data – week 2

by cell0584 (aka Craig Elliott)

IMG_6606

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

Research based on interviews with a range of travellers. The interviews provided specific experiential concerns with the human attributes of travel – how the different users encountered the experience of travel – from specific personal points such as difficulties in navigation, being directed to homogenous travel destinations or specifically wanting to find ‘inside information’ specific to their needs and wants, through to the overall travel experience for the individual interviewees.

We were able to see the issues regarding travel through many different perspectives. We were able to build empathy with the prospective users because we were able to see a range of individual needs relating to the ‘human experience’ in travel; containing direct and emotive concerns, from a larger perspective through to specific issues.

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

The clustering of information showed that even with a diverse group of people interviewed, there were similar needs and difficulties related to the theme of travelling. By sorting through the ‘highlighted information’ the group was able to find common themes in their challenges and requirements across a range of demographic groups.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique?

The difficulty or challenges in the technique was that as a group we had only knowledge of a single interview each, rather than all group members being across all the information – which we could then share. In bringing a range of disparate information together, and searching for common themes within each post-it note meant that it was like solving a puzzle, looking for clues based on the transcriptions of highlighted information paraphrased each small post-it note. The time allotted for taking in the information in the reading of the transcriptions meant that a large portion of the time was discovering what each group member had across their series of post-it notes. As we became more familiar with each person’s information, there were certainly common themes in the experiences and requirements, which we were able to cluster.

IMG_6607

How would you do it better next time?

I would suggest that next time, our group would benefit from the experience of doing it a first time. This experience would no doubt influence the type of language we used in the post-it transcriptions and the types of information we would look for within each interview. As a group we needed to find common themes to what we had each gathered, and refining these themes further into smaller clusters.

I think we would also next time define the categories much more readily as user statements/questions in the language we used to communicate the concerns.

Blog Reflection1: Sketchnoting

by cell0584 (aka Craig Elliott)

HOW IS THE TECHNIQUE OF SKETCHING DIFFERENT TO TRADITIONAL NOTE-TAKING?

Traditional note taking is the transcribing of information either read or heard by the person recording the information in a written form. Sketching is the use of illustrated symbols and representational images serving as both a visualisation and interpretation of the information received.

Both note-taking and sketching can be a subjective or selective interpretation of the information received by the recorder, and can segue from specifically recording the information received, however sketching involves the use of representational illustrations, symbols or diagrams to visualise the information in a way that can be immediately understood. – with the ability to transcend language, levels of education and incorporate metaphor, iconography and symbolism as part of the communicative representations. Sketching can also detail nuance and an emotional resonance via the subtlety of gestural mark making. Having said that, how notes are rendered on the page through a choice of typographic forms and styles and as a piece of mark-making can have enormous potential as a higher level of visual communication.

A good example of the difference between the written transcription of information and an illustrative approach is to compare the Palaeolithic-era imagery found in the Lascaux Caves and the Egyptian hieroglyphics. The lost language of Egyptian hieroglyphs (ironically in this instance a series of pictorial symbols) would have forever been a mystery had it not been for the Rosetta Stone, which allowed the communication to be interpreted because the information was also recorded in Ancient Greek, which allowed the different transcriptions to be compared and interpreted.

Brainstorming (now called a ‘mind shower’ in this age of political correctness), is the recording then listing of descriptive keywords based around a concept or idea. The act of listing keywords can also be used as an evolutionary process – in that once a word is written down, it moves from the abstract, can be isolated and evaluated, and can itself then be used as a trigger/catalyst to unveil a subsequent array of keywords.

HOW DOES THIS VISUAL APPROACH FACILITATE COMMUNICATION OF YOUR IDEAS? CONVERSELY, HOW DOES IT PREVENT IT?

Once information is recorded either visually or transcribed as notes, the communication becomes subjective. Visualisation of information through the use of symbols and illustrative elements can ‘flavour’ the information being presented with essentially abstract conditions such as a sense of emotion and atmosphere. Ultimately thought is abstract, but how this information is presented as a visualised form has the potential to quickly present a form, setting or situation via the reader’s innate abilities to comprehend symbols and imagery as both representative and communicative.

Using representational images as visual communication require prior understanding by the renderer and the reader, of the use of symbolic mark making as a form of detailed communication.

The understanding of illustrated forms can be affected by the reader’s limitations of comprehension via inexperience, background or cultural exposure. The effectiveness of a visualised piece of communication can also be affected by limitations in the skills and ability of the person doing the illustrating.

The written language can also be constrained by the reader’s own limitations in the comprehension of word definitions within a specific language and understanding of a word’s meaning or definition. It is essential to present information with a specific idea about who you are communicating to.

pizza_dough-recipe

PERSONAL CHALLENGES AS A SKETCHNOTER.

Challenges and limitations to a sketch-noter can the individual’s own ability to communicate via illustrative means. Sketching does involve practice. The challenge is to improve one’s ability to communicate using illustrative symbols and representations.

To paraphrase the words of legendary Warner Brothers Looney Tunes animation director Chuck Jones, which he articulated to a class of aspiring animators, “You all have 100,000 bad drawings inside you, the sooner you get them out, the better you will become.”

It is relevant to note the director George Miller’s approach to the conception of the scripts/screenplays of his films – eg the Mad Max and Babe movies, which are ‘written’ visually through sketching. ‘Writing sessions’ involve the film’s creative team working with skilled storyboard artists who synthesise the actions as visual representations of character action within a setting. By conceiving the story immediately as a visual form, the detailed nuance and information regarding the setting, characterisation, production design and action can be effectively presented without the need for long, detailed written descriptions of the specific components of the film’s production.

 

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