IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog reflection 08- juli0541

Q1. Choose one of the object you selected and describe how your initial understanding of its affordances changed over the course of the exercise?

In this tutorial, one of the objects I brought was a comb. At the first stage, I just took a look at the comb without physically touching it and thought about the basic affordances it has such as for brushing hair. Then on the second stage I physically touched it and think what else I can do with it. Then I figured out that I could make some funny sound with my comb and thought that the comb could be a musical instrument. On the third stage, I changed the context of the object, in this case I chose comb to be used in the kitchen. hence I found out that it could be used to replace the fork because they both have quite similar shape. I found out that I could use the comb to mash avocados and even to take some spaghetti from a large bowl.

Hence, through these stages I became understand the affordances of an object could be discovered when we as the users are capable to make use of the properties of an object without any written or verbal instructions.

Q2. 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

As a good design should have a lot of affordances, the modification exercise is one of the example to provide chances to our partner (user) to explore additional or hidden affordances of an object.

This exercise gave me some insights on how important the affordance is. As designers, we should be able to design an object that has ability to show its affordances so that the users could easily understand what they could do to it or otherwise, the object would become ‘useless’. Moreover, we should also let the users be imaginative with our products so we could always improve our designs.

Blog reflection 08

As the user

Q1. What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

User observation: it gives information about the my feeling through my facial expressions and the words I said. If I was confused and stuck, that mean the usability of the prototype might not good.

Think-aloud: when we verbalize our actions, we spontaneously say what is in our mind, without thinking to much. I think this gives the users opportunity to say what’s actually happening (e.g. the problems they face or the things they like about the prototype)

Q2. What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

User observation: facial expressions didn’t work quite well because personally I don’t express myself to much through my face.

Think-aloud: this method worked quite well for me because it ‘forced’ me to say what was going on.

As the evaluator

Q1. What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

User observation:  if they react in the extremely negative ways, that means the prototype did not work quite well, and vice versa. if the users did not express to much with their faces, it could mean that the prototype was ‘OK’. But, this method should be tested to several users because the result from one user might be different from the others due to the users’ background.

Think-aloud: this method gives a ‘live and honest report’ of what’s the user doing and think.

Q2. What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

User observation: most of the users did not expressed much through their faces/words. I think the facial and verbal expressions depend on what the task is and to who the task was given. Say if the tasks in the tutorial were given to the elderly people, they might react in more extreme ways.

Think-aloud: sometimes the users did not talk much so we need to encourage them to do so.

Blog reflection 06 – juli0541

Q1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

When we think about some ideas in our minds, quite often we miss some things, and sometime important things. By physically acting out the activity, we could test whether our ideas are applicable in particular situations. Also we could dig deeper into details on how the devices we’ve had in mind could be practically used.

Q2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through body storming? In what way?

Yes we did. By seeing our group member acting out the users’ activity and problem, we could fully understand what the problem is. Then we added some more ideas or even more problems on the current solutions. I think body storming is an effective way in developing our ideas before we make some physical models.

Q3. What was difficult or challenging about body storming?

The challenge was the limited equipment we had to act out our scenario and more importantly to represent our proposed ideas. But it lead us into creativity using existing furniture. Story board and simple hand sketches were helpful to help us explain our ideas.

Q4. Does body storming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Possibly yes. When we do the body storming, we might not realize the problems that may occur during the real life experience because we have had in mind of what the problems would be. Allowing an amateur users to experience our ideas in body storming would be a good exercise to have some feedback.

Blog reflection 05 – juli0541

Q1. How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge?
Extreme users have extreme needs. They also have more issues that we might not think about when we position ourselves as the ordinary users. However, this method leads us to create a longer list of problems – that means more design challenges.

A design solution is created when there’s a problem. The more problems/challenges we have, the more thoughtful and comprehensive our deign would be. So the exercise of creating an extreme user is very useful to help us think broader and more throughout.  This helps us to expand our thinking.

Q2. 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?

Yes they did. The cards helped us to generate more ideas. The background story of the extreme users helped us to create empathy. The storyboards were the useful media to communicate our ideas to other people. Although they might be drawn with simple lines, they gave people the visualization of the design concept.

Blog reflection 04 – juli0541

1. Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a. Reflective listening.

In my opinion, doing Reflective Listening when we’re doing the interview could practice ourselves in giving empathy especially towards the speaker (which is the user). The listener could confirm or even show his understandings of the story that the speaker has told by describing it back.

b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

This exercise helps us to see everyday’s activities in different point of view. We were prompted to think about other things that we don’t usually think about, such as the physical sensations while being in the bus/train. This could help us to think out of the box and to be more detailed while assessing design problems.

c. Empathic modeling

This exercise allowed us to experience the things we normally do in another way, in this case we positioned ourselves as someone with limited vision. When doing this, we had to rely more on our sense of hearing, therefore I felt more insecure even to walk because I’m not used to do that. I also tried to be more aware of the people around me. By doing this, we could build more empathy to the users by experiencing what they do and perceive.

Blog Reflection 03 – juli0541

Q1. 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 so create a second different persona?

We chose ‘Going to the supermarket’ topic and there were 6 people in our group: 3 males and 3 females, with range of age of 24 to 30.

We used 2 different method in mapping our data: continuum and multiple-choice variables. Then we found out that there were three smaller groups within our group that had commonalities. The first group (2 people) rarely went to the supermarket, prioritized price, didn’t care much about quality, always looked for sales item, and spent little time in the supermarket. The second group (1 person) had the opposite preference and activity from the first group. While the third group (3 people) were in between the others.

From the data, we then decided to create a persona based on the data of the second group because the person had distinct characteristics compared to the others. However, if the goal of the design was to create customized /specific design, we could create the second persona. We could create the second persona representing the first group because they had quite contrast characteristic from the second group.

Q2. Do you think your final persona(s) was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?

In creating the persona, we explained the users’ needs narrative story instead of listing their needs in bullet points. We also added made up background story (we over-dramatized it a little bit) that would indirectly explain the persona’s needs. By doing that, we could build the empathy with the users. And to make this better, I would gathered more detailed information from the interview.


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