IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



User Research – peer evaluation, ikov6163

Hi everyone, it is Inga here:)

As some of you noticed, I missed our class yesterday (due to sickness, luckily i am feeling better today).
Looking at you banners, I feel so sad that I missed such a great opportunity to discuss this research project and be involved in peer evaluation as well.
I see many great banners here, in the blog, and want to say that I admire creativity and clear thinking that you guys demonstrated. It is a summary of my peer evaluation for your work.
And I would appreciate if you could provide any feedback on my banner in comments.
I dont expect you to be much excited, as it is very basic in comparison with yours as I wanted to keep it simple.
However, I didn’t include descriptions for my concepts into the banner as I expected that I’ll be able to explain them. So, I’ll try to give you a quick description here:

1) Kit for interactive room with sensors and projectors, that would allow to stream video on any wall,
ceiling, floor etc. Controlled by leap motion and voice it should
allow to enjoy games, videos,phone calls etc.

2) Wearable necklace that would replace smartphone, tablet, laptop and TV.
It should have 4G/5G mobile internet connection, internal processor, OS that
enables access to storage in cloud, cameras, projector (instead of screen, which would allow to display a screenarea on any surface and scale it to your liking, so it could be personal on your hand or piece of white paper, A4 size paper would make it similar to tablet/laptop, wall will make a screen big enough for family), optional headphones and tiny solar battery, so there would be no need to recharge it

My banner

Blog reflection week 5, ikov6163

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?

Applying an Extreme User Influence approach makes sence when it is imortant to explain the character at the high level. It works better than demographic e.g. gender/age description as it also refers to some details that the audience already knows. However, this approach refers to common cliches, which might not work in some cases, when some specific user needs should be described.  I rarely use this approach, so it was quite interesting to do it in the class and share my experience with others.

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?

Story boards were very useful and I believe that drawing helped us better understand each other and discuss more details. It was good fun and creative collaboration that I appreciated a lot.


Blog reflections – week 4 – Affinity diagram – ikov6163

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

I believe that this exercise is great in particular when many users have different needs but still need to use the same system or go through the same experience.

As a group we created many yellow notes and it was interesting to see how many needs users have, while describing their everyday life and travelling experiences.

It was great to see that those needs could be grouped, so many of them had similar nature. The motivations that we’ve wrote on blue notes brought our understanding of the user needs to the new level.

How did this clustering of information help you understand user needs?

This exercise helped to organise information and capture user insights, discover opportunities and list the most common issues users have. It also was easy to see which needs are more common and which were mentioned just couple of times.

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

I was satisfied with the way we worked together and with the results of the exercise. We started to group notes without putting them in columns, and then we had no time to reorganise them in the diagram. It was quite obvious where we have more notes and where we have just a few. Next time I would probably put the notes in the columns from the very beginning so it would look more like diagram (as suggested in the instruction) and would be easily readable.


Blog reflection – week 3 – Personas – ikov6163

Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different user’ 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?

The first part of the exercise was good as we gathered enough information from each other. We lost a bit of time as a group as we had slightly different opinions on how we should analyse information. Nevertheless, we discussed all the similarities in our “cinema going experience” and found out that we have minimal differences. It was interesting to find out that we all have pretty similar approach, while everyone had different cultural background.

We found that the main feature of cinema these days would be impressive visual effects and sound. Everyone in our group was happy to buy tickets online, pay less if possible or get a bargain, eat some snacks and have drinks, enjoy separate lounge. We also agreed that the experience could be sometimes unpleasant when someone disturbs/ annoys you with inappropriate behaviour, if the sound is not set up correctly or when something wrong with online booking.

We run out of time at the point when we had to make a final description of the persona, so we decided to work out our personas at home based on the discussed characteristics.

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

My final persona would be described as follows:

Michelle, female, 27 old, Australian, not married, Bachelor of Media, employed full time as a digital marketing specialist at the marketing department of the large company.

She goes to cinema once in four month in average, sometimes with friends. She loves fantasy, sci-fi and other big movies that are worth of watching on a big screen with proper sound. She hates to be disturbed or annoyed by someone who laughs too loud or create mess with popcorn.   She also reads reviews and buys tickets online. She would go to cinema more frequently if it would be cheaper with better lounges and if the movies with great visual effects would be available more often.

I believe that this description would be relevant for many young people. However, I would emphasize certain aspects of the portrait if I new what it created for. For example, for lounge designers I would give more information about her preferences related to furniture, while for designers of the mobile app for tickets booking this information would be irrelevant.

Blog reflection – week 2 – chairs – ikov6163

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

As a group we decided to ensure that our chairs will be designed with the following principles: aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality. We also wanted to make them to satisfy user needs in relaxation, recovery and, presumably, entertainment.

I had three different options that were based on the very first ideas that came to my mind at the first part of exercise, so I put them on paper.

Later on it helped me to use them for prototyping with different materials, so I could choose one material for each sketch.

The difference in the way materials could be used was so obvious. Apparently, not all the materials were suitable for the ideas I had. For instance, I had to crumple a piece of cardboard to make a representation of a ballon. With the toothpicks I couldn’t make it at all, at least at the given time period.

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

I would nominate pipecleaners as my favourite among those three this material allows to create various forms very quickly and it is also easy to change those forms.

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

I had to change forms of my prototypes as the materials didn’t allow me to make them exactly as I planned within a short period of time.

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

As I mentioned earlier, as a group we decided to focus on three user needs:

  • relaxation
  • recovery
  • entertainment

First two were given in the text, while the third one we formulated because it was mentioned that our user “hates to be stationary”.

My first model with the balloon was created to provide adjustable firmness , so user could make it softer if needed. The ballon meant to remind a palates ballon but had to be adjustable with the pump.

Second model had to have ergonomic sit and telescopic legs but I had no time to recreate them with the toothpicks. The idea was that the use will sit on the chair with adjustable height and angle, and it is also would be possible to make it high enough for legs to relax in the air.

The third option meant to be made of soft foam or filled with gel to provide a relaxing and entertaining experience, which could be named “sitting on the cloud”.


Blog reflection – week one- better gift experience – ikov6163

Nicole wanted to express how grateful she is to the person, who helped her to organise everything (e.g. tickets, accommodation), when she decided to move to Sydney.

The person is a family friend, who knows Nicole’s parents, so she wanted make this gift really personal and asked their mutual friends what would that person like to have as a gift. She found out that a bottle of expensive spirit would be the best option. However, Nicole described that experience of giving the bottle as a gift was a bit unfortunate, because the bottle was sold in a cardboard package and the sales person failed to remove a security device that was attached to the bottle. The security device was not visible because of packaging, which is why it was not apparent that something is attached to the bottle until the person, who received the gift, decided to open the box. It was disappointing for Nicole to hear about the problem. She had to go back to the bottle shop with the proof of purchase and ask them to remove the security device.

My suggestion was to change the packaging of the bottle, so if the security device is attached it would be obvious from the first glance and the problem would be solved on the spot. Nicole accepted this solution as a possible improvement.

We discussed different options of packaging, including two transparent options (designer glass or plastic), two soft options (two types of material e.g. designer fabric/canvas) and a wooden box that couldn’t be opened without damage, so the store will have to attach the security device on top of the package.

Nicole was more excited to have a designer glass as a packaging for the bottle as it would add value and make the gift look more expensive. I also offered to make this designer glass look like a miniature copy of the Statue of Liberty, so it would remind that person about Nicole’s family, because they’ve met each other in New York. Perhaps, in this case the glass statue packaging would add even more value to the gift, because it may be used as an accessory for home decor.

We also agreed that it would be better to ensure that the glass packaging is made of tempered glass and will protect the bottle itself. We didn’t discuss the cost.

I tried to make a paper prototype, which looked funny, however, I didn’t save a picture.

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

At the first place, I would not recognise the problem myself, as I never had similar experience with hidden security devices. However, if I had a brief with the description of the problem, I would go for cheaper option such as canvas but it would not be the best option for Nicole. I believe that the process of capturing of the insights from the real person is very important as it helps to find a right solution and determine the boundaries of its future development.

What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

I was sincerely interested to find out if I am heading in a right direction. It was easy enough to describe the solution and I believe Nicole could easily imagine how it could look like. It is important to discuss unfinished work as at this stage it could be easily adjusted to meet client’s expectations, assumptions could be proved or not and many mistakes could be avoided.

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?

As a user, I felt delighted that Nicole tries to understand my needs and discuss her ideas. I also was able to provide more information that I didn’t recognise as important at the first part of our conversation.

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 allow more time for initial interview, so it might help to capture some deeper insights and cover more aspects of the brief. I also would create a list of questions that would help me to evaluate the prototype.

I will definitely show an unfinished work to the client again in order to tailor it to the client’s needs. I will work on it and adjust it, as many times as required until I will receive a positive feedback that would convince me that the solution would perfectly work for the client.

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

I would design and use a questionnaire tailored to the client. I think that it is better to be prepared to speak to the particular client and analyse potential problem even before the discussion, so it would help to capture the insights in a better way and even allow to discuss some directions or high-level ideas, so the stage of prototyping would be based on deeper research.

PS originally this post was published on 10.03.2015 but then disappeared. I’ve sent an enquiry to Support and hope that the original one will be restored.

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