IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind


Junwen Chen

Blog Reflection 10 – jche7434

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

A short film is a more narrative way to convey our design concept than traditional design-deck slides. That makes me think more about how audience understand my idea. When thinking about which kind of shots can shows the atmosphere better, I focus more on users.

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

For our storyboard we use typical narration like most movies and TV plays do.

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

Our target audience is potential users. Since they vary in terms of age, gender and identity, we use a way that most people can accept, typical narration. We hope they can have a rough idea about our concept and how to interact with our design by a simple story. But, if our users are a certain group, for example punk teenager, we might use a dark gothic style to attract them.


BLOG REFLECTION 09 -jche7434

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

The object I chose is a coaster I grabbed from the table of my living room. In the beginning, naturally I think it is just a ordinary coaster that prevent cups marking the table, but after I holding it in my hands and playing with it for a while, I found it can be a Frisbee for naughty kids or innocent adults. And before long, I found another affordance, it can be a decision maker acting like flipping a coin for those people always find it hard to make a simple decision on even having rice or noodles for meal, because it has two sides with different style, just like a coin, a sticker with one fiji woman in the top side and wooden pattern back side.

2)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.

Affordances of a object are depending on the person’s abilities, habits and even culture background. So it’s important to put ourselves into other’s shoes and build the empathy, and then different affordances would appear. As a designer, multiple affordance should be provided for a product, explicit or hidden, and also, a design should always have many possibilities waiting users to explore.

BLOG REFLECTION 08 – jche7434

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

  • Think aloud

As a user, think aloud is challenging for me, because it is not what I usually do when I doing a task. Generally, my thoughts are not coherent to make a full sentence and they changed quickly, sometimes I’ve already change to another idea before the last idea is formed. So, think aloud would not be quite accurate what I am thinking and might affect my interaction with the prototype.

However, as a designer, I do need users to think aloud so that I can get a deeper understanding of their interaction.

  • Observation

As a user, observations, like video recording or somebody keeping staring at me and writing something in the meanwhile, makes me feel uncomfortable to some extent, and it affect my performance. I hope observation could be in a more invisible way, to be honest, I would prefer being reading mind than being staring. Anyway, it takes me some time to get used to being observed when conducting task.

However, observation, especially systematic observation helps me build the empathy with users a lot. Systematic observation is not only observing users conducting the task but also recording those behaviour irrelevant.

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

I like the form sorting all aspect of observations and in a reasonable structure, it helps me sort out the insights from observation which is usually out of order, user behaviour seems random. After filling the form, I could form a general idea about users’ interaction with the prototype.

Blog Reflection 07 – jche7434


21) How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
This technique help me simulate the surrounding environment, that is, the context we need  to take into account. So, we can conduct the actions when we use the design in this context and check whether it is feasible in a real world but not only in our imagination. For example, in last tutorial we tried to make the seats in the airplane staggering so that the room for each passenger could be expanded. We thought we were genius when we draw it on the paper. But when we started building the prototype with chairs, we found that it was a totally stupid idea because people in lower seats did get a larger room for legs while the higher seat passengers would be more uncomfortable for their feet hanging in the air and easily kicking the heads in the previous seats. And in this process we might come up with a new idea which we would never think of when we just sit there and brainstorm. But the problem is we cannot find enough stuff to make our imitation more precise, and therefore limit our body storming.

2) Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
Yes, we iterate acting out several times to improve our ideas and solutions. In the first round of body storming, we moved our design from the paper to the classroom and soon we found it had a lot of limitations so we started improving it. And then our design
evolve into different branches because each of our group had a different point of view, so we acted them out one by one so we could compare their advantages and shortcomings. And in the end, we combine the relatively feasible and innovative features into one design and test it with our bodies. In this way, the final design was born.

3)  What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
The most tough part for us is not enough materials to make a real context so we need to use our imagination to make up the remaining part and that might cause the inaccuracy.

In addition, it is hard for shy people to act out especially express their feelings with exaggeration. And so does it when people are not familiar with each other, it takes time to warm up.

4)  Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?
So far I don’t find any
mortal problems that force we give up this technique. However it depends on what kind of design we are doing and the preference of a certain group.


BLOG REFLECTION 05 – jche7434

1. 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?

Extreme users might have different needs from ordinary users, which are often more harsh,and therefore cause more design challenges. And it is quite different to how I usually do especially when I cannot agree with that kind of personality and lifestyle.

2. Did any of the other design thinking techniques(design provocation card, stories, storyboards, etc.) help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

These techniques did help a lot when  generating ideas and communicating with group mates. By using design provocation cards, we came up with more ideas in different respects, while background stories help us to build a vivid figure of our users and make it easier to explain them to each other. And storyboards make our idea in a visual way and naturally understandable than word description.

BLOG REFLECTION 04 – jche7434

Q1. Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a) Reflective listening

What I learn from reflective listening is that when I throw away those things I’ve been taking for granted, I can build empathy with my client who probably have nothing in common with me and understand them better. And also, as a speaker, I need to consider others might have a totally different background from me, so I should cover more context so they can follow me.

b) Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

When I watched the video of travelling by bus and train and tried to focus on the sound, images and my feelings, it seemed I was on bus and train of my own. And then my memories flashed in my brain, my first day in Sydney, my trip to Wollongong and even the experience that I’ve got my wallet stolen. So this exercise makes me think about the power of immediate association. We cannot make our design perfect for many factors such as budget, technology, etc., but we can improve this by making users associate to a good way. This is to say, though feeling might varies among people, we could leading them to associate our design to a better one by making use of mankind common emotional sense.

c)Empathic modelling

For this exercise, I tried to cook my dinner wearing sunglasses in cling wraps, and it ended with I broke an egg. In this process, I used sense of touch and intuition more than blurry vision. Though I didn’t make my dinner in the end, I think I just need some more practice to connect the outside world with senses other than vision and then I can do it. After this exercise, I realised there is not only visual communication design, design can involve all the senses we have, such as sense of tough, sense of smell and so on. And sometimes if we remove our focus from vision a little to other sense, we will make a difference. In addition, I also found for those thing I’m familiar with, I can easily recognise them with ambiguous shapes and colour. I think that’s how abstract design works, if only we make use of its characteristics, we can make our design pretty simple and still understandable for users.

Q2. Complement your reflections with photographs of the process

2431Q3. Include a scanned copy of your defamiliarisation forms56

Blog Reflection 03 – jche7434

Q1. 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?

Our group choose “catching public transport” as our topic, and we did find a lot of commonalities in motivations, frustrations and mental model. I think the main reason for that is we are all female in 20s and international students. So, we are all new to Sydney and unfamiliar with public transport here. Naturally, Our have several motivations to take public transport. firstly, we need to go somewhere (university, supermarket, sightseeing, etc.); And we don’t have a car/ motorbike/ bicycle which can release us from walking; In addition, we are not familiar with directions, so public transport is the best way to keep us from getting lost. As for our frustration, it also came from our familiarity with the city, we often got off in the wrong stop. And sometimes buses cannot arrive on time, which makes us be late for class. And our ideal experience are all involved screening the next stop, being on schedule and more accessible.

Q2. Do you think your final persona(s) was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?

I  think our final persona was successful in presenting international students who are new and unfamiliar with the city because it is our own experience, but problem may happen when it comes to groups we are not familiar with, we may add our on opinion into their experience because we cannot understand without experiencing of our own. And after the tutorial, I realised I have made a mistake that I asked guiding questions such as “Don’t you think…”, next time I should avoid this kind of questions.

Still cannot upload image for not enough space.

BLOG REFLECTION 02 – jche7434

Q1. How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?

It provides me a systematic way to explore what end users need and arrange them properly. 

Usually I just read the interview and try to transfer everything interviewee said they want to a high level need immediately and write down on the notebook, and this transfer process sometimes may be inaccurate, for example, I may transfer “can operate it when the vehicle is moving”, “voice activated and a big target touch screen”, “difficult keying the information” and “retain some addresses but doesn’t retain all of them” into “I need a navigation system which is easy to use”. And little amounts of inaccuracy will be added to a big offset to what users actually need.

However, with this guideline, I write down what users said without summarising them in the beginning. And then, after I finishing the whole interview, I can have a rough idea of what the users are thinking about so that I can understand their needs in context. Finally, I starting dealing with these needs, such as clustering them and so on.

In this way, I build empathy with users.

Q2. How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?

Like what I mentioned above, the clustering of information allows me observe users’ needs in a comprehensive way, and also I can summarise a more precise high level need when I put similar needs together.

Q3. What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?

I think it is communication among group members. Without the context, user needs may not make sense easily, so we need to explain to each other. And it takes a lot of time, this is the reason we didn’t finish the exercise with the time limit. So, next time we should extract some keyword from the context to help others and even ourselves to understand user needs.

Cannot upload the photo for there is not more storage >.<

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