IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



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

Undoubtedly, using shots and scenes is a more vivid way to communicate our design concept to others. It is more engaging actually and it greatly draws audience’s attention. However, when I am considering every shots and scenes, I am detailing my concept and trying to give audiences a complete narrative story. I am required to think about 5W and How. During which, my concept is made concretely and vividly. And this step-by-step process helps me to express my design concept in a well arranged way as well.

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

Well, our group’s choice of storyline structure is the most common one. We describe the story by the time sequence of events. The reason why we choose it is because we focus on our goal, informing audiences how the mental watch could be used to help people. Thus, we create a story about the Before and After to show what’s the difference when a character named Echo is using the mental watch. The film using the same structure that I could think of is Russian Ark.

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

Our group plans to make a mini-drama visual style and choose normal students in our university as our audience. Different from a professional and somehow dull documentary video, for the passionate students, an interesting and funny mini drama could attract their attentions better. And it would not take them too much time. They work in harmony with our story idea.

Can’t upload relevant photos.

-Linmin Liang


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

I brought my Swiss health tablets, blusher and earphones at yesterday’s tutorial. And I am going to choose blusher to answer this question. At first, I  have completely no idea how it can be used except of a blusher. But my partner uses it as a brush and says it could be used as a tool when she is drawing. I find it is intresting so I start to viewing my blusher from different angels, looking for other usage purposes. For example,  it can be used as a container to store my little stuffs like my earings, rings and etc. If dye it with different colors at the top, it could be an amazing decoration as well. Also, after I wrap it with cling, its soft bristles become a small broom.

  • 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 affordances of a product is not limited with the designer’s initial design plan. In different people’s eyes, a same product could have different ways of using. And depends on different people’s interpretation and  capacity, the affordances are not the same accordingly.  Thus, as a designer, I might try to develop as much possibilities as possible by inviting different types of users to test my products. Besides, I might combine it with other materials to create new affordances. Just as my blusher, if I keep using it as usual, then I will never get the chance to know that it actually could be used for other purposes. Also, asking other people to use my blusher helps me to explore it from a different perspective.

-Linmin Liang SID: 460250234

Linmin Liang 460250234 Tutorial 09

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

The most insightful thing this practice gives me is that, by observing,  I am able to build up a profile of the website’s usability both from my personal and other user’s experiences. Despite of thinking aloud, never do I know that recording emotional feedback could contribute to the usability of the prototype. And it turns out works well. A simple frown tells directly that there is a problem occurs when using this website. While as for ‘thinking aloud’, it is somehow like a brainstorming. Users speak out their opinions their thoughts when they are using the website. But the difference is this method based on real experiences.

  • What aspect of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

Taking record of a user’s emotional reaction gives observer an instant feedback of the product. It easily enables observer to gain an empathy with users. The frustrating thing is, such record could only be done by manually instead of automatically, which surely will take a long time and great efforts to give a general feedback of the usability of the prototype. Moreover, different people might have different interpretation of facial expressions. Thus, without a standard definition of the facial expression, it might leads to a misunderstanding if verbal expression or other research methods are not coming together.

-Linmin Liang

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Summary Poster

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Uni key: llia5138  Linmin Liang- IDEA9106-Assessment 1-Summary Poster

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

Before the role-play, our group first has a brainstorming, thinking about what kind of issues we have and might encounter when we are in the doctor’s waiting room or sleeping in an airplane. However, when we are acting, there are other issues coming up which actually expand our understanding. By scenario acting, we realize thinking in a vacuum does not help us to experience what user feel. Only by putting ourselves in one’s shoes enable us to generate empathy with users. So that in the following part-design a solution, we could know better what client’s needs.

  1. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?

Yes. When we did bodystorming, we experienced user’s feeling in their context and that helped us to rethink the effective and achievable of the solutions. For example, we first designed an eye-mask writing ‘do not disturb me’ so as to avoid any disturbance. But when we did the bodystorming, one of our group mate raised a question ‘what if I want to have my meal but the stewardess see my eye-mask and just leave me sleeping.’ So we refined our design. We write ‘wake me up for food’ in eye-mask’s back side. So clients could choose which side to show according to their requirements.460250234-tutorial 06.jpeg

  1. What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

Not everyone was born as an actor. It was quite embarrassing at first; especially I am acting a patient who actually is a quite important role. I did not know what to say. I wan awkward. But when my group mates started getting into character, everything became better. Moreover, acting without practice and script requires a good team corporation. Otherwise, it would result in an embarrassing situation.

  1. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

It could be applied when designing some physical equipment like sofa, fitness equipment and etc. It helps designer figure what can be improved and what could be get rid of.

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  1. How did taking the position of an extreme user influence your thinking relation to design challenge? Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

Although it is a new experience and I think it is fun, it strictly constraints my thinking and force me to consider the design program only from the extreme user’s perspective. It is quite different from my usual way to generate ideas and empathy. I usually try to come up a solution that could fit a broad range of people’s needs instead of one extreme person’s. But this case enables me to consider more in details and design a more targeted technology that specifically meets user’s needs. All in all, it is another useful approach for me to think about the user needs.

  1. 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?

The stories and storyboards are quite useful in helping me to work through ideas and collaborate with my group member. Via these two techniques, our group members greatly understand the quality of the extreme character. These techniques enable us to depict a detailed and vivid picture of the character which evoke our empathy in a great extent.What’s more, storyboard provides a context for our problems and solutions. We predict how the new tech we designed might work in reality in the future. When other people see our storyboard they could easily understand our design from an interesting perspective.460250234-tutorial 05.jpeg



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Reflective listening

To be honest, I prefer to be a listener instead of a speaker. Being a listener, all you have to do is to listen carefully and jot down some important notes if necessary. You only need to nod you head sometimes and keep eye contact with the speaker to show your attention. And you could learn a lot from the listening. But as a listener, it meanwhile consumes a lot of your energy because you need to concentrate on what the speaker say. While to be a speaker, you have to think before you talk. Each word, regardless how simple, will leave you drained of energy, especially for us non-native speaker. But to make the talk useful, both listener and speaker’s role are important.

Defamiliarsation of everyday reality

This exercise enables me to view the things I used to be familiar from in a new perspective. Take the public transportation as an example; I take train every day and it is a normal routine activity for me. But when I watch the video in tutorial, I notice several things that I haven’t notice before, like the ‘exist’ sign on the top of the bus, the shadows of the tree passed by and etc. And then when I am asked to write down whatever relate to this video/experience, there are so many things come to my mind. I begin to realize that even the most familiar activity we could still find some unusual experiences if we look at it from other perspectives.

Empathetic modelling

It is quite interesting to see the familiar building and people through the glasses with cling wrap. It allows me to really experience how the people who have sight problem feel in their daily life. It greatly builds up my empathy with them. And it also strongly convinces me that if we want to design something that people want, we need to truly understand their needs by sharing their feelings, which I think is the core of our assignments.

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  1. 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?

Personally speaking, 4 people’s data is enough to form a coherent persona because there are so many commonalities in the topic of public transportation. Despite of the same demographic variables we share, our behavior variables are similar as well. For example, in our group, all of us take the public transportation for the same purposes like: go to school and hang out. Also, all of us choose public transportation because it is the most convenient way and it costs the least. As for the frustrations, the majority of us dislike the smelly air and the crowded. Many factors overlap so that we succeed in developing a coherent persona at last even the sample data is little.

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

The answer is both ‘yes and no’. If the university student is our target group then my final persona could generate empathy since the interviewees are all university students. Thus the data is useful. It is based on the real requirements for users. However, if our target group includes other target population then the sample data is not representative since the majority of our variables overlap. What’s more, due to the time limitation, we haven’t got enough detailed information we want. Thus, it leaves spaces for improvement. To make it better next time, I will try to interview more people and collect more different information to ensure the diversity. Also, I will try to record more detailed information for the future reflection purpose.


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

Reading the interview transcript enables me to better understand the user’s needs in a more direct way because it has provided many-detailed information. And then discussing with others and referring to their notes help me to build a more comprehensive frame about the users’ preferences and frustrations of their travel. Undoubtedly, it is an efficient way to categorize the notes into respective columns and draw an affinity program since such activity helps to filter out the most important information, focusing on user needs. I am really inspired by walking other’s wall because reading other group’s notes makes me realize what improvements could our group make. And finally, it is quite exciting when our group manages to interpret the interview data to several significant points.

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

Different users have different requirements. To better understand user needs, we need to consider both their likes and dislikes. Through the clustering of information, we could gain a comprehensive view of all the user needs and think from their perspectives.

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

Firstly, I think it is hard to filter out the useful information from the interview since the information you picked up might seem useless or irrelevant for others. Also, there are several categories for one note actually. It really depends on what method you use to categorize and that is the difficult part. Sometimes we get confused. And we might feel hard to decide which category the issue belongs to. Lastly, generating 4 people’s data together has already been a time-consuming task so if the amount of date is bigger, then personally speaking, I would choose another way to interpret data. Next time, in order to finish the task better, I will try to communicate with my group member in a more efficient way. Moreover, when confronting some problems which we could not reach an agreement upon, I might suggest to skip so as to save time.

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