IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



AFD – Group 12 Video Introducing Caster

FMCC4214 – Research Summary


Click the picture to zoom!

Feedback from peer review

Have you thought about collaborating the music screen with smart lights? Different beats have different coloured lights.

I had not considered light interaction for the device but this is a good idea! I appreciate that in showing and discussing design research and findings there is the opportunity to collaborate with the students and develop on rough ideas.

The device jumper is really cool, I waste time and get bored on social media.

That users found themselves “bored” using social media for long periods of time is an interesting insight, it offers great opportunity for the designer, considering that there is a latent need there to intervene/disrupt these bad habits which are often considered to be the status quo.

Technology is “too easy”, becomes a negative thing?

This was a key insight from my research, that some users found accessibility to technology often distracted them from achieving more active pursuits like reading or engaging with music. This must be considered in contrast to the times when users want to engage with entertainment purely to relax (and in this case, be passive!)

FMCC4214: Week 2: Material Iterations

1. How did working through different materials help you to explore and express potential solutions to a design problem?

It was interesting to note the impact certain limitations had on rendering my design solutions. The initial iteration (sketch), allowed for complex design inclusions and shapes where the restriction of cardboard (without sticky tape or glue!) significantly changed the solution in mind. The cardboard solution was simplified and paid more attention to ergonomic form than complex function. Comparatively, the pipe cleaners were flexible and allowed for further experimentation in the way the chair could be constructed – this material felt much more three dimensional. Finally, the toothpick iteration proved too difficult to make any significant design decisions or solutions. I felt that, with adequate time, toothpicks and sticky tape as material could provide some design insights, however this was not the case during this class.

2. What kinds of information and inspiration did the different materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?

The pipe cleaners gave my design concept dimension. Conceptualising the chair with pipe cleaners meant that I had to make concessions (from my original solution) to put it all together. These concessions ended up defining the structure and form in ways I would not have determined with pen/pencil alone. Considering this, and compared to the difficulty of working with cardboard and toothpicks (!!), the pipe cleaners would have to be my favourite material.

3. What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?

The cardboard iteration was simplified and in turn, this changed the curve of the chair (which was complex in the sketch), I thought the shape was actually quite nice and unexpected. The pipe cleaners allowed me to add some toys for my client to play with in a three dimensional way which then added to the design from the cardboard phase (which was mostly form and zero function!

4. How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

The user needs defined for Maggie were; playfulness, comfort/ergonomics and mobile. The cardboard iteration, as mentioned above, served well to play with the form and ergonomic considerations although the playful element was difficult to render. The pipe cleaners allowed me to add in a playful element and the tooth picks could have allowed experimentation with mobility, but we ran out of time!


Blog 1 – Design Thinking on Speed [fmcc4214]

The introductory exercise quickly engaged me with the foundations of design thinking, that being the process of empathising with the users needs to effectively define the most appropriate design solution. As a designer it is important to concurrently consider “empathy” and “definition” during the ideation, prototyping and testing phase, that being, the design solution itself should be consistently reviewed against the definition of the problem and an understanding of and empathy with the root cause of the users dilemma.

My partner Angie and I discussed her most recent gift-giving experience. Angie is a frequent flyer who often purchases small token gifts from the airport on her way home, most recently she had purchased two small lip glosses from Victorias Secret for her niece.

From our brief conversation I deduced;

Angie wants a suitable packaging and transportation solution for the small token gifts she buys her friends and family at the airport.

After sketching out some potential solutions, and after consultation with Angie, we collaboratively decided that an adaptive packaging solution would be most appropriate. Key considerations for the success of the solution were; sturdy materials that can be placed directly in luggage without breaking, must look attractive (as a gift), should be appropriately sized for the gift.

How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

Engaging with Angie allowed me to understand and effectively address a common problem facing those who purchase gifts at the airport. Gift giving is inherently emotional, often with direct ties to relationships, good and bad. When designing solutions for gift givers it is especially important to consider the way people feel when buying and giving gifts. In this instance, the issues Angie had with the process were practical and therefore a practical solution was developed. It was particularly useful to receive immediate feedback on sketches which is almost live action when undertaken in such a time frame. During this exercise the process of engagement with a real person essentially defined the end-result.  From the process of empathy to the final prototype, the input of Angies experience directed and molded the design solution.

What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

I was comfortable sharing unfinished and rough work with Angie. As my origami skills were lacking I found commentary and sketching particularly useful (to explain the concept). As a designer it is important to remember the concept development stage as iterative, and not to be precious or strive for perfection as this can stifle the flexibility required to design the most effective solution for the user.

As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

Angies concept was clear to me, and her prototype was well developed. The level of un-resolution was in fact helpful in it’s pliancy to change and develop the design concept collaboratively.

Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I would have preferred my solution to be more surprising, ingenious! I feel that if I had delved deeper into the altruistic intentions of the gift-giver, Angie, I could have come up with a more exciting solution. If I were to do the interview over again I would like to put aside more time to deeply engage with the concerns and desires of my client. This exercise was a great reminder of the importance of deep user engagement in the definition and development of design solutions.

What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

The principle of collaboration and user engagement is key. As designers it is easy to forget about the user when working on a project, especially when in the studio away from real live people. Often our own beliefs and experiences cloud objective judgement when making design decisions. In my own practice I will try to better engage with users consistently and meaningfully, this might mean more direct contact with clients and end users throughout the design and development of design projects.


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