IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 08 – Evaluation – mlai2112

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

As User:
I was the test user for website 3 – Usyd Library. I was asked to find “Cultural Probes” by Gaver, Dunne and Pacenti within the database. It is easy to find the paper as I used the system before. But I found it easier and faster to just go straight to Google Scholar instead of login in to USYD library. I expected more from login to the site, but in the end it just send me back to Google Scholar.

As Evaluator:
From observing, I noticed the emotional expressions of the test user. This gives me insights of how user found in each given tasks, such as being frustrated and satisfied. I recorded and wrote notes about user behaviour to understand more about user needs and thinking pathway. Think aloud method gives more information of how users think when using the interface. These helped me to discover what user needs to improve the website and make it more user friendly.

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


  • give insight of user thinking pathway
  • cheap as no equipment required, just need to take notes
  • convincing and powerful evidence, as it is directly from users


  • feel embarrassed to speak up whatever come to my mind as it is unnatural
  • feel uneasy and uncomfortable as users might not use to it
  • bias as the way user got prompted and clarified questions might change the way user behave


  • good reference to user behaviour and thinking pathway
  • help to note down insights that we might missed out
  • useful for analysis purposes

It is better to use Canon or professional camera for recording, as it keeps the video in high quality. They normally come with at least 16GB, which is a lot of memory space. Their battery also last longer. However,they are heavy and take time to set up with tripod. We could use phone as recorder, which is convenience and easy to carry around. However, it has lower video quality and it might not have enough memory space if the interview took longer than expected. Phone battery drains much faster than a professional camera.

– Vicky




Blog Reflection 07 – Interrogating Affordances – mlai2112

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


The three daily objects I brought were a cup, home phone and a hair straightener. The object I chose was my home phone. The main function would be allowing people to press digital keys to call someone and for people to hold it. After I was playing with different materials and observing the objects, I gain more understanding of affordance. By adding aluminium foil as its handle, it allows people to carry the phone more easily and more stabilise while putting it on the table. People can also hang it on their clothes as a style of their fashion even thought it is really unlikely.

Here are the sketches I drew:
Sketch of 3 objectsHair straightenerSketch

2. 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.

From the interaction between people and phone, I discovered that affordance of an object is highly related to its given shapes and purposes. I could see it more clearly by limited people ability, such as using chopsticks instead of bare hands. People would not try to pick up a phone with chopsticks, as my phone is quite smooth and round. This is because original affordance was to grab/hold it with hands. By adding one handle to the phone, people would try to pick up the phone by pinching the handle or hang it on the chopsticks. This is because handle affords to hang and hold. Additionally, I found out that one handle is not enough to stabilise it when you put it on the table. Therefore, adding one more handle would gave support to the phone and it became more steady on the table.

From this exercise, I learnt that good designs should have a sense of affordance that matches the purpose of use to users. Then, user could understand how to interact with object without any instructions.



Blog Reflection 06 – Experience Prototyping (Bodystorming) – mlai2112

1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
Our topic was sleeping in airplanes. We explored and found out some existing problems that we missed out through physically acting. For example, we did not realise that if the person sitting in window seat need to go/come back from lavatory might disturb the person sitting next him/her. Bodystorming help us to find out the current issues by putting ourselves in a situation and scenario. There are may be some small details that we did not notice until we act it out. By going through this process, we found out more insights to develop a better design.

2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
Yes. I thought of changing the airplane layout to minimise disturbance. For example, each seat is next to the hallway instead of having four seats in a row. In order words, all seats are come in pair except the window seats. We thought of several ways to improve the situation. Furthermore, by acting out, it helps us to determine which idea is the simplest and the most effective. It is easier to express/convey your idea to the group by showing them in action instead of verbally.

3. What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
I found it hard to act out in front of others. I feel embarrass in the beginning since it is my first time doing bodystorming. I get use to it as it goes. There are times that I just don’t know what to do next. It was interesting to see how other party would response to the situation.

4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?
Yes. There are people who are shy and not comfortable to act out in front of others would be problem itself. We need people put themselves in a situation to stimulate ideas.

– Vicky


Blog Reflection 05 – IDEATION – mlai2112

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?

The theme of our extreme user was Money Spinner. In this exercise, we need to design a future payphone by taking the position of our extreme user. In this case, I put myself into my extreme user’s shoe, and imagine what type of payphone I would use, and what motivate me to use it. The way I thought of user’s perspective is significantly influence how I generate my idea. For example, I imagine my user as a 31 years old man who love gambling everyday and he likes to spend most of his time at casino. Therefore, one of my ideas was having a robot that dress up as a casino dealer or bartender for my user to interact with. The robot itself is a payphone, you can give him a chip to call someone. I would come up with different idea base on user’s characteristic.

It is different to how I normally generate ideas. For instance, I would think of a design based on my personal preference and habit. It won’t be a payphone that look like bartender, since I am not passionate in gambling.

In the end, we came up with a lot of interesting ideas and designs. I believe without the use of extreme user, our ideas would be more typical and dull.

2. Did any of other design thinking techniques (design provocation cards, stories, storyboards etc.)Help you to work through ideas and collaborate with your group members?

In the ideating process, we used design provocation cards to help us generate ideas. It can inspire me when I am stuck. Sketching and storyboard can assist us to put ourself in user’s shoes and think about how our extreme user would interact with our design. We can also draw out their emotion and frustration in our storyboard. For example, our user is busy with his work, and he was lonely and so he uses our payphone function. Our design allow him to connect and talk to a random stranger who also look for someone to talk to. We can discuss how our user feel and think through sketching, and sometime it is easier to express our idea to others via drawing than in words.

– Vicky

Design Thinking - Blog Reflection 05 - image 01

mlai2112 - summary poster

Here are the feedbacks I got from the peer reviews:

1) Have you thought about using your idea to be a new way for donation rather than just focus on animal.

–> I think it could be as effective as for other purposes, but my topic is about animal welfare so I focus on this area.

2) Have you thought about collect information from people who donated? Find out what motivate them?

–> It is good to know what inspire them to donate. Then, I can probably use this information to measure and determine which method is the most effective.

3) Tell me more about the results after I spent my money.

–> You can request an annual financial report via email. Charity have obligation to report financial statement to Australia government, ACNC, and to the public on request.

4) Have you thought about interview people does not support animal welfare, and ask them why?

–> They probably just do not care animal wellbeing. But it would be great to know the reason why people do not pay attention to it.

5) Have you thought that the subsequent information can be sent to the donator, then they could know how the donation has been used and what they have done is meaningful?

–> There are many information on organisation website about why they need the funding for and how important of your contribution. For example, RSPCA would publish a finial report every year. Small welfare groups need funding to raise rescue animals, to pay for their medical treatment and they also need funding to pay for electricity fee, staff, office renting and other expenses. I suggest the display of a pie chart detailing their spending each month once someone made a donation.

– Vicky



Blog Reflection 04 – Creating Personas – mlai2112

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?

Our topic was Public Transport.In our group, we all share similar patterns and behaviour, as we are all internation students and the majority live close to university. We also share similar demographic, motivations and frustrations. For example, the main reason for us to take public transport is to get to university. We also use opal cards to have free ride after used it for certain times per week and to have discount in off-peak hour. Our frustrations are public transport being overpacked, the sensitivity of opal card, timing and punctuality of buses. Therefore, our persona is an internation student with the age of 24 (average of our interviewees). She has the same frustrations and motivation as us.

In this exercise, we turned our interview data to generate visual and statistical presentation for each variables, such as age and frequency. This is different to the way how I normally analysis my data and it actually help us to interpret information more easily.

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

I think our persona was successful in generating empathy with users. It is simple to create our persona as we all share similar patterns. It would be more difficult if we have more diverse behavioural and demographic information. In fact, I am interesting in how to create a persona based on different groups of potential user. This is because we were interviewing each other in class, so it is more likely we share the same behaviours. If we interview people on street, we would gather more diverse data. Then, we can probably create more personas that are not similar to us. It would be great if we have more time, so we could create more persona instead of just one.



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