IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Master of IDEA stewdent. Get it? I'm the Master of ideas. That's a good joke, you can use that if you want. Cheersmate!

Final Video

Hey hey Design Thinkers!

The following vid is for EnergyGainz! We’ve got, drum rollllll

  • Danielle Pontes
  • Nishan David
  • Adis Regar
  • David Bunton

Enjoy!! Sorry for the lack of student numbers. There’s definitely only one of each of us.

Tutorial 8 – Evaluation

Ah ok, Tutorial 8! This week was very helpful to get some practice on the old user-testing process and experience, particularly with our monumental assignments a-waiting in the wings! I was in charge of recording the user’s following interactions:


  • Thinking Out Loud for purchasing tickets from the Opera House (Task 1)
  • Verbal/Non-Verbal Behaviours for purchasing the cheapest tablet from Officeworks Glebe (Task 2)
  • Task 3 – Completed by myself.


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

Primarily the user’s thought process. The User tended to go to the search bar as a last-resort measure if they could not visually see any likely pathway to the information they were searching for. In general, the navigation experience through the interface for the completion of the task was very, very poor. The information structure/architecture didn’t seem logical to the user at all, resulting in a great sense of frustration.


What aspects of Task 1 worked well or were frustrating?

Regarding the testing technique – continuous prompting of the User was not the most natural way of testing them I felt. I prefer to let the User talk when they want to talk; this way I feel you get more honest feedback from the User, as you’re not contributing to any impatience they might be already feeling from their own User Experience. Additionally, thinking out loud did not take into account the high significance of non-verbal communication cues and signals.

I can, however, see the usefulness of it in terms of gaining insights into the user’s thought process.


What kinds of informatidon and insights did Task 2 give you about the usability of the prototype?

Similarly to Task 1, there were numerous organisational issues that the user ran into regarding the structure, hierarchy and layout of information on the site. For example, the User wished to control the display of products by price, not just by brand. This lack of clarity, as well as customisability, resulted in an overall unsatisfactory and frustrating experience for the User.


What aspects of Task 2 worked well or were frustrating?

I found the User-Observation testing method to be a more thorough method of recording the overall experience of the User, as it recorded both verbal and non-verbal cues and signals. The non-verbal recording in particular allowed for a more comprehensive snapshot of the User’s positivity/negativity towards the interface, as seen in the pictures below.


What kinds of information and insights did Task 3 give you about the usability of the prototype? What aspects of Task 3 worked well or were frustrating?

I’m not going to lie – unfortunately since I did Task 3 and I’m a USYD student, I was a heavily biased user in this testing session, as I’m very familiar with the USYD library. Not a very valid task for me – but that in itself is a noteworthy observation! I guess you could say that aspect of Task 3 did not work so well – don’t have a biased user!

Definitely this last point was something I found very helpful when completing my group assignment for the Design Proposal. Found that learning curve very useful in undertaking effective user-testing for our EnergyGains prototype.


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Research Report: A Design Contribution To Sustainable Energy

David’s A1 Poster

Tutorial Blog Reflection 4

  1. Brief reflection on lessons learned from each exercisea) I quite enjoyed the reflective listening exercise; it was interesting to hear Ponto’s perspective on what she enjoys about life, particularly as it was the same topic I chose to talk about as well. The coolest part was just learning about the same topic from another person’s perspective. It’s always interesting to hear what people enjoy to do, why they enjoy it, and just receiving an overall insight into the building blocks of who they are. As in, what makes them them. Definitely was a lot of empathy going on in hearing someone else’s view on what makes life f*cking fantastic!

    I also learned more about sympathising with those less comfortable in the spotlight; Ponto does not really enjoy being the centre of attention, and so it was not a super comfortable experience for her be the point of focus for 10 straight minutes. This was a reminder that a situation that I am completely comfortable with may be approached or undertaken very differently by someone else.

    b) The defamiliarisation of everyday reality brought a mixture of physical and mental memories to my mind; this allowed me to reflect quite vividly on the real-life sensations and feelings I had when awaiting the arrival of a train or riding the bus. It definitely put me right back into the mindset I was having at the time of each activity, as can be seen from the attached handwritten tables.

    c) This was a reasonably straightforward exercise; it was far more difficult to see when our glasses were covered in cellophane, and our phone pictures were noticeably blurrier when covered as well. In approaching a design problem, this definitely would allow for me to increase my empathy for the intended user.


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Week 3: Creating Personas

Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or would it have made more sense to create a second different persona?

This was a super interesting exercise in the end! There was definitely some overlaying traits between all 4 interviewees, mostly in terms of their frustrations over catching public transport (ie lack of train-bus or train-train connectors, overcrowding, lack of traveler courtesy, etc). There was, however, less overlaps in terms of work status and personality profile.

Certainly not enough commonality between all 4 interviewees for one persona, hence we gave birth to Dish the Legendary Traffic Avoider and Danata the Young Professional (see images).

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

The persona I closest identified with, Dish the Legendary Traffic Avoider, has motivations and frustrations that are reasonably common amongst the PT user community, so he would generate a fair amount of empathy amongst users. He probably needs to work on his life story, as that is very generic and also a tad bland and boring. Not a whole of empathy generation going on there.

Then again, he might just not have much of a life.



Week 2: Interpreting Data

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

This exercise gave me the comparison of multiple perspectives of different users, and  displayed that despite differences in some of their travel idiosyncrasies, they also share certain overlapping preferences as well. This furthered my understanding that there are some core desires – and by extension designs – that are commonly sought after amongst users/travelers.

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

Primarily based on the clustering your group as a whole, it allowed for the prioritisation of which needs were the most commonly mentioned or desired; this also allowed for sub-categories once a particular cluster had overgrown 6 posted notes. This categorisation highlighted to us where the user’s perspective and focus lay regarding factors that influence their travels.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique?

Probably the subdivision of categories once they overgrew 6 posted notes; this required much discipline in understanding and interpreting the core meaning of each note, allowing for their correct sub-categorisation.

How would you do it better next time?

We didn’t allow enough time for sub-categorisation, and probably focused too much on building the first layers of categories. Ultimately we were left with too much of the latter, and categories that had too many yellow notes.

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