IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 09 – visual storytelling– mfer5686

michele fernandez

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

It is a good practice to picture the design concept as a story. That forces one to think in a simple way to represent it and make it more approachable.

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

Actually we took the storyline structure from a classical tale story ¨little red riding hood¨, we respected the structure but changed the style of the characters and enviroment. It introduces the character, the place where she is, the problem she is facing and then a solution that leads to a happy ending.

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

We knew our target were women, so our concept and style were very related to that. We wanted something feminine but without bordering the girly or fluffy. we needed an empowering way to portrait a very feminine message.

Blog Reflection 08 – Evaluation – mfer5686

michele fernandez

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

user observation:

For some of the tasks she was smiling but watching her closely made clear that she was uncomfortable and felt uneasy when she couldn’t complete the tasks or they took them too long to complete. it was easy to tell when she was annoyed by the system not reacting the way she expected it to. I found useful to note down how many times her gestures reflected emotions like frustration or impatience, quantifying these gestures makes the analysis easier afterwards.

Think aloud:

It was useful being able to ask the user what her expectations were as she progressed through the tasks, knowing that enabled me to feel more empathy toward in the process and understand her process.


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

user observation:

As observer It was different being able to observe the user without having to interact directly with her. Taking the focus away from interacting allowed me to see her reactions and gestures, even the subtle ones. As a user i found this method not intrusive.

Think aloud:

As a user i found a bit annoying having to explain every thought and expectation i had. It felt a bit distracting having to think on the task i had been given and also explaining how i felt about completing it. But it was interesting nevertheless because it made me aware of expectations  i had about the website i was using and how i felt when these expectations weren’t met by the system.As observer i found this method very useful because it doesn’t make assumptions about users behaviors and decisions, but makes them explain themselves instead.

Blog Reflection – 7 Affordances – mfer5686

Michele Fernandez

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

This exercise was a good way to really notice why objects are designed in certain way. It was interesting to be forced to be aware of details, shapes, textures, pieces, even colors that give us information about what can be done with an object. A water bottle was one of the objects I used, it’s a simple object, so I wasn’t expecting to find many affordances on it, so I was surprised to find that it had curves indicating in which direction the cap must be turned to open the bottle, and also a dotted texture on the cap that makes evident the best place to hold it, the size of the bottle itself is the right size to be held in one hand by an adult person, the cap has a handle that is more narrow at the top, making it easier to hang or hold… it was humbling to see all the thinking that had gone into designing this everyday object.


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.

Manipulating the bottle to improve it was too hard, all I come up with was turning it into a flower pot by removing the cap, and asking my user to try to hold it using chopsticks, which was hard. That made me think on how important empathy in design is. A child wouldn’t have been able to hold this bottle with one hand, so that makes it unsuitable for them, that’s not a bad thing but if I was designing objects for people very different from me, like children or disabled people, I would have to be very careful not to overlook any difference between their experience with affordances and mine.

I also created a false affordance by adding a small wheel to a key, which made it look like a retractile key. even though my user knew that it wouldn’t work, she tried to turn the wheel when I asked her to interact with it, it’s interesting how we are so used to associate shapes -in this case the wheel- with possibilities -turning it-.

As a team we explored how to create new objects by combining the ones we had, and we came up with a compass made with scissors and a couple of pencils, where the scissors created the affordance of rotation…. and a sword-like game using chopsticks and rings where the shape of the rings gave us the affordance of inserting the chopsticks in them.

This class made me more aware of the way we are used to interact with things around us taking hints from their design. I´d like to explore how much of that comes from culture and how much comes with nature.


Research Report Summary


Feedback Received:

  • I didn´t know about this.
  • I didn´t know about sterilized women.
  • I didn´t know about this too (either).
  • Have you thought about freelancing platforms?.


  • It was interesting to notice that this is a problem that is only known in my country. Maybe if activists were able to make it more widely known abroad my government would feel more pressured to deal with it, and that is one approach that i had not thought about.
  • One of my ideas could indeed work as a freelancing platform, I saw it more as a matching application, but turning it into a freelancer marketplace could make it self sustainable. Also it would be different to be matched with works instead of looking for them oneself as a user.

Blog Reflection – 6 Experience Prototyping – mfer5686

Michele Fernandez

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

It was very different to represent the experience we were trying to design as opposed to just imagining it. There were some details and situations that we understood better after acting, that ended up making a big difference in our conclusions.


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

Yes, definitely. We came up with an isolation device,  that we realized we´d felt bad about using in a social context because others might feel rejected. We had not thought about the social implications of this idea during ideation, and probably wouldn´t have without bodystorming.

What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

For me it was difficult to stay in character part of the time. it required some extra concentration to be able to do it. I found it a lot easier to act as observer and take notes from my teammates actions.

Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

My group and i agreed that it was very useful to make situations real, but also to encourage playful thinking. It different to be able to observe/perform behavior directly, that makes easier to have empathy with users, because it is easier to remember our related experiences and knowledge. I would say bodystorming is specially useful to design for complex interaction, where some subtle details or situations could be overlooked by designers if they were only to brainstorm.


Blog Reflection – 5 Ideating – mfer5686

Michele Fernandez

  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?

It was an interesting exercise; the exaggerated nature of the character was a good way to be more creative. It was interesting to make up someone very different from me and people I know and try to imagine what this person would need, think and find useful. That came with imagining the world this person lived in, the kind of friends that she had, the family she had grown into, her political views, her job experience.

It almost felt like a class in theatrical performance. It was very different from the way I usually generate ideas in that in this case I was trying to be my character, not just understand her. This “becoming my character approach” was a different way to create empathy, because this person was so different from me that it was hard not to judge her unless I pretended to be her.


  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?

Stories where helpful, because they forced us to think on details. And the devil is in the details in this exercise. Every small aspect of the story made the characters feel more alive to me. Telling the stories to each other as a group was useful too because we could test the effect of the stories on others and see their reactions, get feedback and improve our narrative and characters thanks to that.

Also it was nice to see how the same premise led to so many different stories.

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