IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog reflection 7

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 chose was a paper clip. Initially I thought of the paper clip as only being useful for holding together pieces of paper however during the exercise I realized a paper clip can be used for many more things such as scratching, poking, pushing into small holes, entertainment (by bending it into different shapes) and even tying stuff together like a piece of string. This helped my understand how objects may have many more uses than I may think.


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.


This exercise helped me understand how affordances may vary from user to user and are affected by the users abilities and thus the abilities of the potential users (and thus their potential affordances) must be considered when designing a product. For example when I taped my pencil to the back of my hand it became much harder to draw with the pencil, particularly when drawing things with fine detail but I was still able to draw larger, less precise strokes. It also highlighted to me that users may use things in ways I may not have thought of which suggests to me I should keep in mind, while designing, how people may use the designs in unique ways. Again I think of the paper clip, while it is designed to hold pieces of paper together I often us it to open the sim tray on my phone.

Blog Reflection 8

Blog Reflection 8


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

While observing the user you were able to identify what areas of the design they found confusing or got stuck on. By watching facial expressions you are able to gain an understanding of the users feeling towards various elements of the website that they may not be saying out loud as they are using the interface. With the thinking out loud portion the user is able to give direct feedback about what they find frustrating and is able to talk you through how they are navigating the interface. This can help you identify what the user was expecting to do at a certain point and if that expectation was met, thus allowing you to get a better idea of how the user would behave when interacting with a certain design.


What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

Given how many things are needing to be done at once (recording, watching facial expressions, listening to users thoughts, watching how user interacts with the interface, ect…) it is easy for important information to get ‘lost in the crowd’. This is alleviated with the recording but its difficult to have one person, for example, record both what the user is doing on the screen and their facial expressions. Users may often act abnormally when they know they are being recorded and have to talk through their actions which may lead to the information collected not being realistic. Overall I think most aspects of the technique work well, in particular the ‘thinking out loud’ aspect as users are able to directly air their frustrations and by talking through what they are doing you learn how they would typically approach this sort of interface.

Blog Reflection 5

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?

This exercise forced me to think in a way I don’t generally and made me consider things I otherwise wouldn’t have. It lead me to create scenarios I usually wouldn’t have considered. Usually when designing I’m thinking about issues faced by the “average person” and this activity highlighted how some people’s needs vary greatly from what the average persons would be. It was also fairly entertaining, more so than creating a persona would normally would be.


Did any of other design thinking techniques help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

The use of storyboards made it easy to visualize my ideas and better understand the nuances of how the persona would interact with the designs I created. Storyboards also helped me better communicate my designs with my group as it helps them visualize my design so they could comment and provide feedback on it. Similarly, sharing the stories with the group was fun as they were all relatively wacky and the stories were also useful in helping group members understand the problems faced by the user and how the design might help solve them.

Blog Reflection 4

Reflective Listening


I preferred talking, it was enjoyable discussing my thoughts, this may have been helped by the fact I know the person I was talking to from out of class. I was surprised by how long I was able to talk about the topic chosen though as I expected I would run out of things to say much earlier. Being the listener was harder as it requires you to pay more attention and you often have to restrain yourself from replying too much so as not to sway the conversation too much. Similarly you are having to devote your attention to taking notes as well.


Defamiliarisation of everyday reality


I didn’t feel much from the train scene, likely as I do not catch trains often. However I felt a lot from the bus scene, it reminded me of frustrations I’ve had with public transport and made me feel feelings such as anger, boredom and irritation. The exercise helped me understand these feelings and made me think about them like I haven’t done before.


Empathic modelling


This exercise gave me the unique experience of seeing the world the way people suffering from vision impairments do. This is obviously an issue that affects many people so it was interesting to see how it makes their lives different from my own. While some tasks were still doable it made other substantially harder and has helped me understand that when designing something it is important to look beyond your own needs.

Blog Reflection 1

Differences to the traditional note taking


It allows for more variety in the ways you take notes and lets you incorporate visual elements into your notes. It is also less linear, my notes ended up sprawling in multiple directions and as such it was easier to link common themes even when they did not occur close together in the ted talk.


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


As we are inherently visual creatures we can process info faster when it is presented in image form. It is also more engaging to produce and to read and thus can keep the viewers attention. However it may slow down the note taking process as it can be slower to draw your notes than to write them and not everybody will interpret an image the same way and thus sketch noting may not always be as effective at conveying ideas between people as other types of notes


Personal challenges as a sketchnoter


My drawings aren’t always neat and thus I may not always be able to understand what I wrote. Some points can be quite hard to convert into sketch form and some things would require quite intricate drawing to accurately convey what I’m trying to say which can take a long time to draw. It also requires more mental effort than regular taking as you are having to think about how and where you are going to draw your sketches rather than just writing words in a linear fashion.

Blog Reflection 3

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 our topic, public transport, we found 2 people who had very similar results whereas the other 2 had fairly different results. As such, while the commonalities between the first 2 people would have allowed for the easy construction of 1 persona there were too many differences between the 4 of us to build a persona without losing a lot of information. A larger sample size may helped as that way the needs and opinions that are most common could have been more easy to identify.


Additionally, the experience helped me understand what sort of questions get the best answers when performing an interview. And Finally, in the interviews, often people will express the same feeling in different ways which might mean a commonality is missed.


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


Overall I believe by creating a persona you are forced to think about the problems the user experiences from the perspective of a user and rationalize them into a users lifestyle. This gives you a greater understanding of the user and thus helps you build empathy with them. Additionally by giving the persona a name, appearance and backstory you add a human element to the data which helps you build empathy.


I feel more data (aka more interviews) would have allowed for more personas to be created and thus a greater understanding of the opinions of the user as well as the creation of more in depth personas which would aid in building empathy.



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