IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 2 Interpreting Data

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

The exercise required me to re-frame the prospective users wants, needs and frustrations in first person narrative. By using the pronoun “I” and the possessive “my” a more direct connection was made between me and the interviewee. For example, when re-framing the wants, needs and frustrations of the interview into “I found it hard to determine which attractions were good for my child from the internet” and “My biggest challenge for family travel is planning meals” I was able to empathise with their point of view.

I was also required to analyse the transcript and extract clear points that summarised their desires and problems.

2. How did the clustering of information help you to understand the users needs?

The clustering of information allowed the group to categorise the users needs. Similar needs were grouped together and duplicates were identified. It became evident in creating the Affinity Diagram that some needs appeared more often and distinct groups emerged. Needs that were singular were set aside. For example, a label emerged “I like a personal touch with my holiday bookings” from the different interviewees desires for travel agents and preference for verbal referrals.


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

A difficulty emerged from the various transcripts as it was evident that some of the interviewees had conflicting needs and frustrations even before these needs were grouped with others. For example, the same interviewee who did not like maps and preferred to discover things while walking also tired of the process and could get lost. This made labeling the groups challenging at times.

The other challenge was how the tutorial group as a whole clustered the information. As we were pressed for time, some members of the group took the lead in choosing groupings and labels, while quieter members found it harder to contribute. These members found it difficult to group their interviewee’s needs under a column or argue for their inclusion and so sometimes their points were excluded from the Affinity Diagram. To a certain degree, the team’s findings were directed by the more forceful members of the group. Next time I would suggest appointing a facilitator to ensure views provided are more balanced and suggest more time so we do not feel the pressure to complete the task within the time-frame.


Blog Reflection 01 – Sketchnoting

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

The sketchnote technique encompasses the use of visual symbols and written text to record or express ideas as opposed to traditional note taking that focuses on written text. These visual symbols are personal interpretation of ideas of the creator and can be used to condense complex concepts into a single drawing or symbol. The personal nature of the drawn symbols allows the creator to creatively capture concepts and develop ideas that may be individual to them.

Sketchnotes are not restricted to a linear one directional structure (such as the left to right writing direction of English).

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

The visual approach facilitates the communication of my ideas by removing the restrictions imposed by written text. I can choose if I wish to direct the reader around the page using symbols such as arrows or show ideas as a mind map where the central idea dominates the centre of the page and other ideas are depicted as symbolic branches. Alternatively, I can draw in free form and allow the reader the freedom to take in ideas in the order of their choosing.

I can creatively explore an idea or concept, expanding and reframing these new thoughts in a visual form. Sketchnotes can allow the communication of ideas in a more personal manner than written text as the symbols are the expressions of an individual. This can also interfere with communication if the drawn symbols are so personal that other intended recipients are unable to decode them. The communication of ideas could be further complicated by the composer’s cultural context being different to reader and the symbol conveying different meanings, for example the swastika which is an ancient religious symbol and a symbol of Nazi Germany. The success of the sketchnote may also be reliant upon my skills and confidence as an artist to communicate my ideas in visual imagery.

A sketchnote may allow complex ideas to be conveyed instantaneously in contrast to the written text which requires reading and interpreting. It may have instant impact, appealing on sight to the individual’s emotions. Conversely, it may be difficult to express intricate details purely in visual imagery, particularly if the sketchers skills are limited or they are slow to transfer the ideas into symbols.

3. Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

My personal challenge was being satisfied with my ability to draw quick human figures, particularly in action, as I had not drawn for many years. My first attempts were pretty basic and I was very unhappy with the result. After further practise attempts, my own facial style was beginning to develop but my bodies in action still needed work to convey movement and enable them to be drawn quickly.


I can see the need to continue to develop a personal style that I can draw upon quickly and confidently, to capture and convey ideas. If it is my intention to use a sketchnote to pitch an idea to another person and influence them, my visual images will also need to be simple yet enticing.

Another challenge that I encountered was structuring and depicting the complex information provided in the TED talk. This also draws upon the intended audience of the sketchnote. Whilst I initially intended my sketchnote to be a mind-map of ideas and looked for a visual way to structure the information coherently, as more information was relayed so the visual structure became more free form. If I was trying to educate my intended audience, rather than just providing a memory springboard for personal use, I would review the structure within the spoken text and try to create a more meaningful visual structure within my sketchnote.


I also found that while I was thinking about the most meaningful visual symbols to use and agonising over my poor drawing skills, the speaker had moved onto other points. I could not keep up or adequately represent some of his more detailed or complex ideas and on review, I could see I resorted back to written text too much. Some of these issues I can see, will be addressed with more practice and use of sketchnote taking.

jmar0157 – Jo Martin

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