IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 09_hqin2316

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

During thinking of shots and scenes, we have improved our design concept with some details from different perspectives. Every team member could feel free to express our thoughts and make our design concept better. Besides, virtual storytelling is a good way to help us see problems and find solution by thinking from user’s angle.


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

We used 5W and 1H in our storyline structure: What, Who, Where, When, Why and How, which can make audience know clearly our idea. The film I could think of which uses the same structure is BoyHood, and it tells several stories about the different stages of a boy’s life.


  1. What choices did you make about audience and style? Were they related?

We wanted to have some scenarios about user’s common problems and solutions to make audience clear our design concepts. Trough virtual storytelling, audience will feel that what we want to design is exactly what they need.

Blog Reflection 07_hqin2316

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

One of the objects I selected in this exercise is a pair of rubber gloves. My initial understanding toward the gloves is protecting my hands from oil, dust and cleaner when I clean up. During the discussion, we found the gloves usually make sponge or soap out of from hand, and we cut sponge into many pieces and stick them on the five fingers of the gloves. Therefore, the glove can be used as a clean tool which protecting hands from blots.


  1. 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? Did it give you inspiration or insight for how to work with affordances as a designer? Discuss this through the specific objects you explored in the exercise.

I wore the glove and tried to use it during the exercise. I found that it worked, but sponges were easily torn. As a designer, I realized that it would be ok without trying several times and thinking from different perspectives.

Blog Reflection 08_hqin2316

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

As an evaluator, I observed Ruoxi and Joy’s physical behavior when they interacted with I got so much feedback from their facial expression, operation steps, body language and intuitive comments. During the observation, I found users usually felt confused about how to proceed by the unclear web navigations and names.

As a user, my habitual behavior pattern had a great influence on the way I interacted with the website of USYD Library throughout the process, that is, the operation sequences were intuitive. USYD Library’s website was too difficult to use, because I couldn’t find what I want from complex database. The task ended up with I giving up find “Architecture, design and planning” within databased, but I found when I directly opened Google Scholar, I could complete the final step of the task and find “Cultural probes” in it.


2) What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

As an evaluator, I felt that it was very difficult for me to not tell users how to get the intended result in the correct way. The designs of search box and filter on the worked very well during the test, because users could easily recognize them and use them.

As a user, I really felt panic when I could not complete my task. Complex interactive method and intricate links used in the website of USYD made me frustrated.

Blog Reflection 06_hqin2316

  • How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

When we tried to act out our primary idea in the physical way, so many problems emerged suddenly and frustrated our thinking. However, after we solved a series of problems, a clear and feasible idea was put forward.


  • Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through body-storming? In what way?

Yes. I was an actor in the process of body-storming, and I learnt how to think from the angle of user. We came up with many ideas to solve problems, but when we tried to act them out through body-storming, we found some ideas were feasible but some ideas were ridiculous.


  • What was difficult or challenging about body-storming?

Limited by imagination and furniture in the classroom, we often feel difficult to understand what other group members tried to express or against. I also had trouble in expressing my idea because of my poor body language.


  • Does body-storming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Yes. Every method has its shortage, and the biggest problem in body-storming is that not every group member is a talented actor or an objective observer.

Blog Reflection 05_hqin2316

  • How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking relation to the design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

Taking the position of an extreme user provides me a new perspective to understand user’s need; the problems and methods of solving problems are magnified and obvious. In the process of consideration, it is really important to establish their behaviors, thoughts and feelings, and then figure out the needs they might have. In addition, taking the position of extreme users is not only give solutions for extreme users, but also select problems which mainstream users might have, because the needs of extreme users usually overlap with the needs of mainstream users.


  • 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 is an interesting way to express designing ideas in the visual way. It can strengthen the problem in user experience and show your solution intuitively. By putting a human in the picture, storyboard could help us share ideas and persuade others of the value of the idea.


Blog Reflection 04_hqin2316

Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a. Reflective listening

In the exercise, it is not easy to be both listener and speaker, and it is really important that friendly atmosphere is built between listener and speaker.

As a listener, I have no idea who the speaker is and what her background is, so I have to listen carefully her experience and ask many open questions to know her views are.

As a speaker, I try to share my personal story as clear as I could, because the last thing I want to do is making the listener feel confused about my nagging.


b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

The videos of public transport in Sydney really makes me uncomfortable, and I am constantly worried what I could do if there is a blind person falling into the train track. The other video in bus is too shaky, and I feel the bus environment is not comfortable enough. However, I never have the feelings when I take a ride in public transportation, so it gives me a different angle to think about public transport in Sydney.


c. Empathic modelling

When I wear glasses covered cling wrap, I feel I walk in a heavy fog and everything familiar becomes something fuzzy unfamiliar.


Blog Reflection 03_ hqin2316

  • 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?

In this interview, we chose “Public Transport in Sydney” as the theme, because all group members had some experience in Sydney’s public transport, and we all have a lot of feelings about it. In the process of interview, we found that we have many similar feedbacks on public transport, and it is easy for us to finish a persona. However, the persona still seems unpersuasive because of the shortage of the data.

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

I think we finish a clear persona to help people know how university students think about Sydney’s public transport, but the user group is only limited in university students. Therefore, if there are more people from different group participating in the interview, and more people share their experience in Sydney’s public transport, even make a contrast with public transports in other cities, the outcome would be better and more accurate.


Blog Reflection 02_hqin2316

Affinity Diagram.jpg

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

As a special brainstorming tool, affinity diagram helps me create ideas and hypotheses, get feedback about user experience, organize information to analyze the demand of users that could be used to determine prospective thoughts in the next step.

Interviewing is essential, but it involves too much information and fuzzy data. Therefore, affinity diagram is needed to classify information, understand implication that behind fuzzy data, and apply them in building empathy with prospective users.


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

Users usually share their user behavior, user experience, user needs and user expectation in interview, which brings a lot of repetitive and foggy information. By recording the observations found in the information, grouping similar observations together in columns, and labeling clusters, affinity diagram helps me organize existing relationships which hide behind a large amount of information for seeing gaps between the current user experience and actual user needs and solving the most commonly mentioned problems in interview.


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

The speed of reading and recording is my first challenge in the use of affinity diagram. The user interview is quite long, and I could not finish reading it and recording all the observations in the allotted time. Therefore, I’ve missed some important information, which affected the further processes of organizing and labeling.

Labeling ability is the second challenge. It was very difficult when our group tried to use short sentences to label clusters as accurately as we could, which were grouped by many similar observations.

Therefore, I would improve my reading speed and labeling ability to work on affinity diagram next time.

Blog Reflection01_hqin2316

  1. How is this sketchnoting technique different to the traditional note taking?

In the traditional note taking, people usually record every word which they are hearing. Different with traditional text-only notes, sketchnoting takes full advantage of doodling, lines, shapes, icons, picture, text and typography to synthetize information and share ideas in a visual way.


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

Sketchnoting combines the use of text and visual elements for summarizing information and sharing creative ideas. Sketchnoting focuses on only recording the most important things of a discussion, presentation or lecture. Combining text and visuals significantly increases communication efficiency, because sketchnoting makes it easier for people to understand complex concepts.

On the other hand, sketchnoting seems like a special map in the creator’s head. Due to different ways of thinking, different people might have different cognitive methods in front of a same thing.


  1. Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

Limited by painting ability, I find that it is really hard to record what I think and what I hear in a visual way. Sketchnoting is a totally new and different method for me to capture information and share idea, so it needs more time to practice and apply in daily life.


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