IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Tutorial Nine – Storylines for Videos

  • How did thinking in terms of shots and scenes influence your approach to communicating your design concept?
    • Thinking in terms of shots and scenes forced us to situate our user in their use environment (in our case the grocery store), while also bringing attention to the need to outline the problem (our core ‘why’) more clearly -we found that, when communicating our app idea, it wasn’t enough to simply jump into features. An audience would need context, and we couldn’t assume that they understood the problem that we were solving.
  • What motivated your choice of storyline structure? Can you think of an exemplar from a film that uses the same structure?
    • We were inspired by the ‘pitch’ format – start with the problem you are solving and for whom (‘why’/’who’), then outline the solution (‘how’) and then finish with the fancy features and functions (‘what’). The format of a video naturally lends itself to communicating ‘where/when’ in the first few frames.
  • What choices did you make about audience and style? Were they related?
    • Stylistically, we are looking to be a bit more tongue-and-cheek + dynamic with out video (in the style of Youtube vloggers meets a brand like Junkee/VICE). In the spirit of something like ‘Adult Swim’, this will allow us to hit our target audience of tech-savvy millenials while not alienating older demographics (particularly mothers).


Tutorial 06: Experience Prototyping

  1. How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?
    • Physically acting out our ideas as a group raised previously ignored or unforeseen limitations to our ideas (e.g. the amount of physical space needed for multiple passengers to rotate vertically around a plane), tested our assumptions and helped us to better communicate our ideas to one another (perhaps, in this case, even better than paper prototypes).
  2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?
    • Yes indeed – for example, we tested out an idea around a pressure sensor that lets passengers know when they have knocked the seat of the passenger in front of them (originally designed to reduce overall discomfort by informing otherwise ignorant passengers of the harm they were causing to others). One consequence of this innovation that we hadn’t foreseen was that having a pressure sensor that lit up when triggered could actually increase overall discomfort by bringing social uncomfortability or shame upon the passengers involved!
  3. What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?
    • They were many technical nuances of ideas that couldn’t be communicated or tested – for example, the layout of interfaces, the specifics of headphones/headgear and the functionality of the digital app for rating fellow passengers.
  4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?
    • Bouncing off question three, I think bodystorming works best when testing ideas that do not require highly nuanced interface testing. Instead, bodystorming might lend itself more to new ideas that change the physicality of the space, ideas that challenge or change physical discomfort/frustrations and ideas that involve testing new ways for people to move around in/interact with physical spaces.


Tutorial 03: Creating Personas


  • Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? Or would it have made more sense to create a second different persona?
    • Our attempt to create two personas from four people felt like it was trying to accomplish too much with too little data. In the end, we ended up simply describing one dominant personality for each persona and it became more of a description of the individual person rather than a collective persona. My assumption is that we’d need much, much more data before we could form a useful persona that was truly depersonalised and could be a helpful design tool. At this juncture, our process felt more like a semi-structured interview with some more details added. It even felt like we would have had a more useful persona had we created him/her/it from ABS data rather than interviews!
  • Do you think your final persona was successful in generating empathy with users? What would you change to make it better?
    • Yes, I do think that our final personas were successful in generating empathy, but only because they were based off semi-structured interviews – that was where the value actually lay. And to base any design off one or two interviews is more like designing for a single person than it would be designing for an actual demographic. It would have been useful to combine with another group of 4 before creating our personas, or even combined 16 interviews before we really committed to creating a collection of personas. With this small amount of data, it was hard to find the value that I’m sure personas can provide.



Tutorial 2 – Interpreting Data

  • How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?
    • The Affinity Diagram process helped me translate slabs of texts into key moments of desire/need from the user’s perspective. Whereas my usual approach would be to simply read interview transcripts and then set immediately to trying to solve the problem that stood out to me, the extra time given to arranging the needs of multiple users into clusters helped to remove my assumptions and distance me from my own desire/interpretations.
  • How did the clustering of information help you to understand user needs?
    • Clustering was effective because it helped transition the interview data from incidental, ad hoc insights into structured, actionable needs. It was useful for bringing out patterns from a wider source of data which (as above) is a much more useful approach than simply trawling through the data once and then setting to work.
  • What was difficult or challenging with the technique?
    • At times, the first level of clusters could feel a bit forced – Affinity Diagrams appear to be a mix of art and science, as one looks for true patterns but risks lumping together ideas that actually aren’t related at their core. On top of that, it can depersonalise the data (which is useful, but may have the effect of making designers think they are getting closer to systemic patterns when really they are just seeing patterns where they want to see them). Finally, on the third or fourth rounds of clustering, one risks losing the sharpness of a particular need by clustering it with a need which deserves to stand on its own.
  • How would you do it better next time?
    • Next time it would be useful to perhaps split into two separate groups (who can all hear each other around a smaller table) before coming together for second round clustering. On top of that, arranging our post-it notes in columns rather than piles will make our data much more manageable!


Blog Reflection #1 – Sketchnoting

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Sketch noting opens up new possibilities for recording information while demanding much higher levels of engagement, energy and creativity than traditional note taking. Furthermore, unlike traditional note taking, sketch noting does not allow one to mindlessly carve carbon copies of lecture slides into one’s notebook, but rather forces the observer to attack the content from multiple angles and preserve it in a ‘coded’ format. The very process of ‘coding’ burns the content more deeply into memory than simply writing characters, while opening up new possibilities for the ‘decoding’ process later on.

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

The ‘decoding’ process involved when interacting with sketch notes allows the communication of non-propositional ideas (in the same way that a story included in a talk can communicate angles of a truth that mere description could never achieve). In addition, it can save time for the writer and the reader – one can bring paragraphs down to a single image. However, what sketch notes achieve in breadth and multi-dimensionality they lose in accuracy and detail – someone wanting a direct transcript of an interview for legal reasons may find it difficult to work with sketch notes!

Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

For me, the greatest challenge is clearly my illustrative skills (or lack thereof). To ‘illustrate’ my point, the sketchbook I am using for this class is the same one I used for Year 6 art class, and my skills have got no better! I am much more comfortable on a computer than with a pencil in hand, and readers may have a hard time ‘decoding’ my sketch notes. However, the weakness of my skills with a pencil also extend to the illegibility of my words when using traditional note taking techniques – and I never have trouble reading my own notes. If sketch noting is just for me, it will prove incredibly useful, if anyone else needs to work with me, then we’ve got trouble on our hands!

Sketch noting a TED talk

FullSizeRender 2

Sketch noting a process


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