IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Tutorial 4: Empathy and Defamiliarisation (jjia4754)

brief  reflect on the lessons learnt from:

a.reflective listening

How to become a better communicator( or at least a better listener):

  1. Listen quietly, personal opinion should be totally forbidden, instead give some passive respond like repeat the key words the speaker said and signs that you are listening, or just nod your head. This could make speaker continue staying in his/her rhythm and keep talking.
  2. When my partner talking about herself, I thought she finished a question sometimes which she did not actually. Normally, I would say something. However, as I just respond passively, she might continue giving further information which could be very important.

b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

When we need to go to the station, it mostly because we have to go somewhere else. So our mind is occupied, and our physical sensation might be ignored. So when we were asked to focus on our physical sensation, the feelings were back, and those familiar scenes recalled the memories stored in our mind before. They were so true.

c.empathic modelling

As a deeply short-sighted man, I experience this kind of modeling several seconds everyday. As we know, human get most information from sighting. When stucked in, clear vision no longer exists and other sensation are reinforced to make up the lost. I felt things that I never paid particular attention before by listening, touching, even smelling.

Complement your reflections with photographs of the process


Include a scanned copy of your defamiliarisation forms (public transport)


Tutorial 3: Creating Personas (jjia4754)

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 order to find more potential diversity, our group, whose members all comes from China, chose “supermarket shopping” as our topic. However, after finished all the questions listed on the paper, we found out that our experience and thoughts were quite similar and normal( public transportation, convenience, money saving, etc.). So we continued to searching for something special by producing more questions. I think it is the tough part.

At last, we created a persona which I think can be a model for Chinese students studying abroad. On the contrary, the second persona was in difficult birth.


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

The final persona can surely generate empathy with students study in uni especially international students, because it presents a need they encounter all the time, and they know why this persona makes  those decisions according t particular situation. However, when it comes to other social group, it depends.

To make it better:

  1. Diagrams should be more succinct and clearer when collecting parameters. The diagrams I made was terrible and looked in  a mess, the points of each question were not marked out obviously.
  2. More different people are needed in consideration of more potential choices. If the group is made of people from various culture, I think the whole picture would be quite different.
  3. More relating questions are needed desperately, so the persona could be more complete and special.











Week 2: inteprating information by note (jjia4754)

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

As the interview went on, the more information appeared the more unique this interviewee was. The content is mostly about the travel experience, so I could quickly connect my own experience with his/hers. Every time  when mine personal experience matched his/hers, my empathy with the person got stronger. Interestingly, some details even reminded me of certain thing and certain people that I know from past.

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

It did help a lot. As the sticky gathered on the table and we tried to put them in some kind of relation, we found that some issues were quite common when people are traveling. We want/like something, and sometimes we try to avoid something. When it comes to travel, clothing, eating, accommodation, and activity are included in those “things”.

So I think, the clustering of information helps us put different things in some kind of categories. After doing so, we could consider several stuff together in a more comprehensive way and make better decision.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique?

I really appreciate that is the “travel”, which most people familiar with, so we can catch up with the interview, and get the points show up. However, when we met things we are not familiar or just for the first time, it can be hard to get a good understanding of the whole picture and even get lost at the very beginning. So we have to pick up possible themes and issues, sometimes missing is undeniable. And next step, summary and  dividing them following certain logic calls for daily knowledge.

However, it is a great technique to get to know stuff from small pieces which build up it.

How would you do it better next time?

At first, I think reading speed is still a terrible problem ever.Second, this technique is based on different themes, so building something like “big data” can help us find what the information have in common and divide it.







Week 1 – Sketching As A Thinking Tool

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Both as important ways to record and express thoughts,  traditional note taking and sketch noting have lots in common. However, the differences between them are conspicuous.

  • Sketch noting makes use of dots, lines, surfaces to make up images. It requires skill of drawing. Every element can be put anywhere on the paper rather than following lines. As a result, it is images that conveys information not a lot of letters . The traditional note taking relies on  the combination of words, grammars and punctuation marks to convey certain information. It requires skill of writing.
  • As a more “image reader” than “word reader”, I think sketch noting expresses meaning in group. The various elements are related in some way and different information comes into mind at first sight, then be divided into pieces.


How does this visual approach facilitate communicate on of your ideas? Conversely, how does it prevent it?

POSITIVE: Some information can be presented by sketching easily, and the relation between different parts of sketch is clear. This visual approach can make my idea looks more visual and more vivid compared with just using words, and meanwhile  attract people to read them.

NEGETIVE: Sketch noting encounters with difficulties when recording abstract information, because this visual approach depends on images and symbols comes from the material world.

 Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

As a green hand, I need to improve my “vocabulary” of Sketch. Information can be transformed into words, but when it comes to sketch noting same thing, it can makes me “speechless”.

As a new hand, I need to improve my skill of hand drawing to make information record precisely, neatly and fast.











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