IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Presentation jzha8253, zhawu9513, youwu 7652, Xinan0177


Blog reflection 10 – jzha8253

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

Thinking of shots and scenes is part of the video directing, it’s a similar process to designing  because it’s also about expression and creativity. Shots and sense are not only real performance of our scenarios, but also closely related to our user issues and design focus.

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

Our storyline structure need to includes who, where, when, what ,how and why, but the clue is why, that is, the problem and benefit of our product. Many films used this structure that they give a reason of a person’s doing something. For example a poor person accidentally win a lot of money and his life totally changed

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

We plan to take shots of some everyday scenes to make the situations looks real. And we need to always give close-ups to our product.


Blog reflection 09-jzha8253

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

The object I selected was a highlighter pen from my pen bag.

I used the kitchen wraps and aluminium foil to change its colour and texture.  And I removed the cap of the highlighter, and attached a piece of paper onto it.

My initial understanding was that it is a stick that can be hold in my hands. But now the pen has the similar affordance of a spoon. Before the pen was kind of flat but now I can roll it on a desk.

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. 

The highlighter, like other pens, are consist of the main part and it’s cap. But at the same time it’s thicker, much more thicker than a normal pencil. Because it’s in the shape of a 10 cm long stick, we can hold it in one of our hands. And we can also use fingers of both hands to catch the two sides thus unplug the cap. Moreover, we can use other part of our bodies to clip it, in our arms, or between legs. We can even hold it in our tooth or put it on our ears.

Affordance is about how human body can interact with physical objects. Seeing the affordance is part of our intuitions, however todays products are creating mental models in our minds so sometimes we couldn’t see other affordances of an object. As designers we should explore the products affordance as much as we can. And we should lead the users to see the affordance related with the feature of the object, through the shape, texture, or color…

Blog reflection 8 – jzha8253

In this tutorial we conducted and participant in user observation and think-aloud evaluation based on three websites.

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

1.1 User observation review as user (My test website: Sydney Opera House):

There’re two types of user observation, one is real-time observation, that the evaluator observe the user doing the task and, at the same time, take down notes. The other is that the evaluator watch a video taken already about the user doing the task.

In the second way there’s not much interaction. Although the user knows that his action is being recorded, he may less likely to feel nervous or behave unnaturally. On the other hand, as a user in a real-time observation, I may get some hint from the evaluator’s facial expression and writing that whether he thinks I am performing well or not.

On this website, Sydney Opera House, I found the task easy to complete. I personally think this website is beautiful and well-constructed. Only in details does it have some flaws that the visual-weight of some buttons were not appropriate.

1.2 Think-aloud review as user:

From my own experience, user think-aloud feels like trying to guide myself passing through the task. More importantly, by telling what I thought and what I wanted to do, I learned about my own mental model of this prototype.

2.1 User observation review as evaluator(

The useful forms helped me, the evaluator, to evaluate how much frustrated the user was about the prototype. User’s behaviors and facial expressions directly shows his satisfactions and dissatisfactions. However the nature and personality of the user will impact on his performance.

2.2 Think-aloud review as evaluator:

Because the user is speaking out his ideas and descripting his actions, as an evaluator I can easily get information about good and bad points in the prototype. So there’s no need for me to “guess” the user’s true thoughts through observation. For this reason think-aloud has become one of the most useful and powerful evaluating tool.

What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

  1. As user. Almost every worked well. The only frustrating thing was that in think-aloud, I had to keep talking and describing my actions on the website. For some times it bothered me because I couldn’t use the website frequently as I was able to for the reason that I had to do language-organizing at the same time.
  2. As evaluator. The most frustrating part came when the user misunderstood the task. The task introduction was designed carefully in a way that will not lead the user. It only tells user what to do but never tells them how to do. So sometimes it’s very difficult in think-aloud when the user can not understand the task properly. And I can not give him hints so as not to lead him.

Nevertheless, taking down notes quickly and correctly is another challenge, both when observing and conducting a think-aloud. Using video recording is a good way to avoid this issue.

Overall, I think think-aloud can give me better evaluation result while user observation is more convenient to conduct and also more convenient for user to participant.

Poster reflection-jzha8253

Blog reflection 7 – jzha8253

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

Physically acting is like a stimulation of the real situation. It helps the designer to face the problem in a form which he can actually learn with his senses. This is more useful than sketching on the paper, because designers can see how people suffer from the frustrations and thus came up with ideas to deal with them.

2)  Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
Yes, we did. Though brain storming we found some of our ideas and solutions are not practical, or will make the thing even worse. For example, because of the limited space in an aeroplane, we can not simply make the seat flat and soft like a bed. And although aromatherapy help people sleep but not every like it.

Body storming helped us to find out negative aspects of the ideas more easily.

3)  What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
First is to have people. In the tutorial it’s easy to find 4-5 students, but when doing real design, it will definitely take some time to get a group of “actors”.

Then is to stimulate the environment and situation, which demand for tools and a venue. All these will have an impact on the result of bodystorming.

4)  Does body storming lend itself to certain types of problems? 

It is obvious that the more the problem is related to our bodies and physical actions, the more useful it will be. I think body storming lend to product design problems, but might not be that powerful when doing digital design like app interface.


Blog reflection 05 – jzha8253

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?

Taking the position of an Extreme User challenges my imagination. It’s more than thinking about myself being another person, and more difficult. However it can sometimes “break the wall” of the limitations in our minds, and it may bring us amazing ideas.

Usually, when we are generating ideas, we start from ordinary person or normal users. This process is like digging out people’s potential needs. In contrast, thinking of an extreme user is more like creating a new demand. However I think this sometimes may lead to new innovations. For example, know one has the concept of a car before it was invented, what people wanted is only “a faster horse.”

2.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?

I think these methods, provocation cards, stories, storyboards are useful in two aspects. First is that they lead us to an idea. When we started creating ideas from nothing, these methods can provide inspirations and link concept fragments together.

On the other hand, they helped us to share the idea with group members more specifically. With the sketches and cards, group members can have a better understand of how the idea works and how the user’s problem is solved.

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Blog reflection 4 – jzha8253

1) Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a. Reflective listening

Being a listener, I learned that using imagination to put myself into that speaker’s situation will help a lot to understand his feelings. Also I need to keep contact to the speaker, and sometimes give response, both bodily and lingual.

So the thing is I need to keep a balance between using imagination to understand and having reactions to the speaker. If I think to much about something or it remind me of a story, it’s easy for the speaker to notice that I have lose attention. However if I have to many interaction with the speaker, it’s not helpful for me too have a deep understand and realistic feeling of his words.


b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

We watched two videos, one was at a train station, the other was on a bus. I felt wired at first to think myself as another person.

However then I realised that it is also a good method to think differently and understand human’s feelings and emotions. Our sensations are always connected at some level. The visual signal, sounds, smells all leads to a relative memory, and sometime it can be an illusion or misconception. In this exercise we are trying to let our body tell the story, instead of our mind.


c. Empathic modeling

The plastic wrap is like a lens,it distorted everything and made them looks strange.

Actually our  cognition to the world is completely relying on our body senses. There is no way that we can know what the real world look like. For example, dogs can not see colors but snakes can see thermal image. I walked in the campus, took some pictures of the students, and I also went on the street.

Everything  is now something of a mystery. But what if there’s  a “plastic wrap” in our eyes? Maybe already get used to it so we can’t tell.

Anyway, I think through looking at the world differently brings us ideas and inspirations. Maybe that’s exactly what the artists do.

jzha8253 poster2

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