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IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind

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jang7577

Blog Reflection 09 – jang7577

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

Visualising shots and scenes helped me put the use of our design into context – into an actual situation when a user could use our product. Thinking through the What, Who, Where, When, How and Why, I could imagine focusing on several different key angles which would be best to communicate the design idea, user interaction, emotions and experience with the device to viewers and potential users. I like how this thought process allows flexibility, creativity and experimentation with different ideas to improve the communication of our concept through an engaging storyboard.

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

With the 6 index cards, my group could envision how our storyline would play out, and we chose our structure based on a thriller movie concept. Our topic was on community safety and crime prevention, so we wanted to convey a strong message that the situation may happen to any users and that our device would definitely be able to help them in that situation. We decided to first introduce the setting to give context, then introduce the characters through the situation, and finally to introduce the product and how our design would aid the user in that situation. We got our inspiration from a thriller film, where they used a series of shots to introduce the event setting as well as to create some suspense, showed the characters’ involvement in a situation and how they reacted to it, capturing the characters’ expressions leading up to the climax.

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

Our target user could be anyone, but we decided to portray a vulnerable character in our storyboard so that we can reach out to audiences who can relate to the character, if they ever experience such a situation. The style of communication would be like a movie trailer, so that we can engage the audience and make them think about the benefits that the design could deliver to fulfil their needs in that situation.

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Blog Reflection 07 – jang7577

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

I chose the cotton bud and my initial understanding was that it serves mostly a cleaning function. That was the perceptible affordance that I could see. Through the course of the exercise, I started to think about other possible uses for the cotton bud as I feel the object with my fingers, such as being a support structure, for painting or spotting, bending, or for tasting and feeling with it. These were some hidden affordances I could think of when I physically interact with the cotton bud and visualised it being used by different people, such as the elderly and disabled.

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.

When I manipulated the object, there were some significant changes to its use. I added some foil, cling film and chopsticks to the cotton bud, and it kind of became like a wind vane or a weighting scale. Manipulating my partner’s ability to hold objects made her think of another way to pick up the object, rather than in a way that I was expecting her to pick up. She also had other thoughts about its affordances, as she was holding the object different to how I would hold it. It kind of gives me an insight into how people could perceive an object’s use and as a designer, I should create or design something that would be easy for users to see its affordances.

Blog Reflection 08 – jang7577

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

As a user
I was performing task 2, and it was relatively easy to complete the task. Verbalising my thoughts made me become aware of the little problems I was facing. If I did not vocalize my thoughts, I may overlook on these problems and would think that my experience was quite perfect. My physical expressions came quite naturally while I was in the process of figuring out the task, so I was not able to notice them.
As evaluator
User Observation: I watched one of my group members perform task 1, and I noticed that he had several expressions while verbalizing his thoughts. Most of his physical expressions were in line with his verbalized thoughts, but there were a few expressions that were contradicting. His body language provided some insights into his actual feelings about the usability of the product. Based on think-aloud results, the user found the website difficult to navigate with a number of distractions from other unrelated events. This is reflected in most of his physical expressions, where he was observed to be surprised and focused on trying to complete his task. Although he found the task hard, he was smiling in some instances, so this was hard to interpret. Overall, the website (product) in task 1 seems not to be user-friendly.
Think-Aloud: In the think-aloud exercise, I observed another group member verbalize her thoughts for task 3. At first, she mentioned that it was quite hard to locate the faculty name in the website. She was not able to find it even through typing in the search bar. It took a while for her to mention that she found the faculty name under the “Science & Technology” tab, and clicking it directed her to the Google Scholar page link, where she said she found the page easily. Overall, the website (product) in task 3 seems to be user-friendly in general, but could be further improved.
2) What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?
As a user
I guess being able to express myself freely through verbalizing thoughts and facial expressions was able to make me more aware of my feelings towards using the product. However, as I am thinking about the task at the same time, it is hard for me to be fully aware of all my thoughts and expressions. I could only have a general sense of how I felt in the whole process.
As an evaluator
User Observation: This technique was useful in interpreting the actual feelings of the user. However, as the user mostly had his head facing downward to perform the task on his mobile device, it was hard to capture all of his physical expressions. It was also hard to note verbal and non-verbal behaviours at the same time, as I had to focus on writing some notes and also try catching all of his expressions as much as possible. I guess having a recording of the user’s behavior would be best to really capture the whole user experience process and review, so that any information is not missed out during the observation study.
Think-Aloud: Generally, it was easy to note down the verbalized thoughts of the user. Sometimes, I had to prompt the user to say something when she went quiet while using the website. A frustrating thing was that I had to imagine what location/interface part the user was mentioning in the website, as I was not able to observe her screen and jot down my notes at the same time.

Blog Reflection 06 – jang7577

1) How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

My group’s topic was to body-storm for ideas to solve issues with sleeping in airplanes. With brainstorming, we thought of several issues and ideas off the top of our heads to solve evident problems. When we physically acted out the situation, we realised that there was much more to the problems than we thought of. Bodystorming helps us look into the finer details, being in the situation and dealing with the actual senario, such as how we can manoeuvre around sleeping neighbours to go to the washroom. We managed to devise some interesting solutions which we would not have thought of with brainstorming, as some visualisation was needed.

2) Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?

Yes, some of the ideas that we thought of with brainstorming were good, but with body-storming we could visualise the idea better and improve on it. One example was the issue of resting our legs while sleeping. Without a proper leg rest, users often have to bring up their knees to the seat in front of them in an awkward and uncomfortable position to sleep. With brainstorming, we figured having a leg rest would improve the experience of sleeping. Body-storming helped us think further about the different positions possible to rest our legs while sleeping, and also to try out if our ideas were feasible.

3) What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

Sometimes, it is hard to demonstrate some ideas or solutions without the proper props or equipment available to test it out. We had to make do with whatever we could find in the room to demonstrate the problem or solution. It is also limited to what we can do with our bodies. With the idea on elevating seats to manoeuvre over sleeping neighbours, we could not demonstrate that at all with the physical constraints that we have. We could only draw out what we can imagine it to be.

4) Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Bodystorming is definitely adapted to help solve certain types of problems, especially if it involves the physical body. It is better to role play the situation to be fully immersed into the issue fully and experience the actual situation that users face. Only then it is possible to see the different solutions that would help improve the experience of the user, to see how the user interacts with the solution, and whether the solution can actually solve the problem.

 

jang7577

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Blog Reflection Poster – jang7577

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I presented my research poster on community safety in Newtown last week to a group of 4-5 members and received peer feedback on my topic. I felt that the poster presentation and peer review were useful in helping me reflect on my research results, what I had inspired my peers with, and what I had missed out. The feedback “tell me more about…””have you thought about…” and “I didn’t know that…” from my peers gave me more insights and ideas into what I could possibly do for my research and my design concepts. Listening to my groupmates’ presentations and having a look at other posters provided me with some inspiration as well. Overall, I felt that the activity was great, as I benefitted from the feedback and also learned more from my friends.

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