IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 09 _ nwan5088

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

I could imagine real situations of using my product through thinking in terms of shots and scenes. And by talking about the shots and scenes with others, other people can also understand my design concept better by putting themselves into the story. Furthermore, virtual storytelling is also good to find problems which are not common in daily situations. We can use virtual storytelling to set a special situation to discover problems and search solutions.

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

My group’s storyline structure was mainly motivated by the 5W+1H cards and imagining different stages when the user get ill.

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

Our design concept was mainly targeted patients, thus we hoped that the style of our virtual storytelling could be fresh, simple and no much pressure. I think that the style should be closely related to the audience because the storytelling has the responsibility to attract target group’s attention.

Blog Reflection 07 _ nwan5088

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

One of the objects I selected was a tape dispenser. My initial understanding of its affordances was pulling the tape and cutting it. During the course of the exercise, I found a tiny design on the side of the dispenser which was ignored and designed to change tapes by pushing.

Given that affordances are 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.

  1. Whether affordances of an object exist or not is decided by both the properties of the object and the user’s ability. For example, doors own a functionality of being opened, thus they have an affordance of being opened. Some doors are designed to be opened by sliding, thus those doors have an affordance of being sliding. Some doors are designed to be pushed, thus those doors have an affordance of being pushed. If a door is too heavy for some persons to push, then for those people, this door doesn’t have the affordance of being pushed.
  2. As a designer, one of my responsibility is to make affordances of my product easy to discover and understand. If affordances are hard to be aware by users, I need to add some signifiers as signals to make them clear.

Blog Reflection 08 _ nwan5088

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

– Observation

While observing the physical behavior of Kanna and Soul as they interacted with my desktop-sized web prototype, I could know how their facial expressions, gaze, posture, and gestures are linked to actions in the product interface. I could know how they actually use and interpret my designs. From the observation, I found that some widgets might imply a wrong interaction operation and some title(page) names are vague so testers might be uncertain about the upcoming contents if they clicked the link.

– Think-aloud Technique

Through the think-aloud technique, I could know clearly my testers’ thoughts, feelings, and intentions during the evaluation. This method could help to reveal the gap between the designer’s and user’s mental model. And in some cases, I could also receive some advice or expectation from the tester.

What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

As an evaluator, I found that it was a bit frustrating if my tester didn’t have many thoughts or feelings to share. That meant that my design couldn’t invoke the tester’s emotion. If that happened, I had to try my best to encourage the tester to verbalize what she was thinking, feeling and doing as she interacted with the prototype.

As a test user, sometimes it was a little bit difficult to verbalize my thoughts, feelings, and intentions without biases because I couldn’t help to imagine what feedback the evaluator really wanted and I would try to meet the evaluator’s expectation. That means that sometimes, as a test user, my feedback was not reliable.

Blog Reflection 06 _ nwan5088

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

Physically acting out could create a simulation situation of how a problem exists and influences people in the reality. Thus, designers could gain empathy with those who suffered from the problem and explore practical ideas.

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

Yes, I did. Through bodystorming, my group thought deeper for how to control the direction of light that would not disturb sleeping neighbors.

What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

In some circumstances, the ideas were hard or could not be performed by bodystorming because of lack of resources.

Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

In my view, bodystorming is more suitable to deal with problems which involve continuous human physical actions, such as the process of ordering.bodystorming

Blog Reflection 5 _ nwan5088

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?

By taking the position of an Extreme User, I could imagine uncommon scenarios and find rare but indeed existed user needs. It was very different to how I usually generate ideas and empathy especially in terms of special target groups.

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?

Storyboards helped me to tease out my thoughts and helped me to find many details that I didn’t realize at the first. In addition, storyboards also helped me to communicate better with my group members, because it provided a concrete background and situation, thus my group members could understand me better.

Blog Reflection 04 _ nwan5088

Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise: a. Reflective listening b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality c. Experience modelling

For the reflective listening exercise, I felt more comfortable to be a listener than be a speaker. That might because that I was not mindful enough in everyday life, so, I did not have too many words to say when asked. As a listener, I think I was good at digging deeper information from the speaker’s words.

For the defamiliarisation of everyday reality exercise, writing without thinking was a bit challenging and interesting, since I had to be quite mindful when observing videos.

For the experience modelling exercise, I thought it was the most interesting and impressive one, because it offered me an exactly different perspective of a familiar place. I learnt that a designer has to be able to regard situations, needs and problems from different and unfamiliar viewpoints.

Complement your reflections with photographs of the process

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Include a scanned copy of your defamiliarisation forms (public transport)

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Blog Reflection 03 – nwan5088

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?

Firstly, we collected basic personal information, such as name, age and gender. Then we did an interview with each other, asking questions like what’s your favorite public transport, how often do you take a bus/train/ferry, how do you view those indicators on buses/trains/ferries and so on. After that, we started to analyze real data and summary commonality among us. Lastly, we drew a persona to represent a kind of typical user.

To generate a coherent persona, a 4-people interview sample is not representative enough, because our answers are either totally different or highly consistent.


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 final persona can only generate empathy between designers and users to limited extent, because we just found one common feature (living quite near to university) of two people whose every answer was similar to each other. Next time, if possible, I hope I can have a bigger interviewee group to collect real data for better personas.

Blog Reflection 02 – nwan5088

How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?

This exercise helped me learn to gather information through reading and analyzing answers of a prospective user. We could find out practical user needs from that information. And Affinity Diagram provided an efficient and effective method to distil specific user needs from general data layer upon layer. Moreover, we could understand users’ most desirable things by knowing users’ evaluations of their experiences.


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

The clustering of information provided general cognition of users, allowing me to know about their interests, habits, preferences and needs. By interpreting data, we could tease out unconscious user needs.


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

Categorizing the initial data (the yellow post-it notes) is the most challenging part, because sometimes it’s just hard to find common denominators behind users’ superficial statements. Next time I will analyze and subdivide interview data more carefully to obtain more accurate user needs.


Blog Reflection 01 -nwan5088

How is this sketchnoting technique different to the traditional note taking?

Traditional note taking mainly uses words and some symbols, and it usually needs to be taken down logically so that the writer can easily recall what the notes mean after a period of time. However, sketchnoting uses more vivid icons, stick figures, symbols and simple and visual drawings. In sketchnoting, words usually play an assistant and explanatory role. Since sketchnoting is often taken down casually and doesn’t require fixed formats, it is more flexible and suitable to record the writer’s instantaneous ideas and more preferable to designers than traditional note taking.


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

For an interaction designer, sketchnoting is an useful tool to record ideas at anytime and anywhere, especially when designers use a portable-sized sketch book. Thus, it allows designers to communicate and share it with others whenever it is needed. Since sketchnoting is vivid by using numerous drawings, people can easily get the writer’s points, and misunderstandings can be reduced through appropriate explanations. Moreover, sketchnoting is also a good way to write down divergent opinions when the writer has a discussion with others, because they can draw or write down their current ideas very closely to the existed contents on the sketch book directly and exchange views.

However, sometimes sketchnoting can also prevent communication when people hold different understandings and explanations towards one and the same icons, symbols or drawings. This situation usually occurs among people who have different cultural backgrounds. Thus, brief and accurate descriptions are vital to sketchnoting.


Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

Personally, because of a lack of drawing skill, my biggest challenge is to use sketchnoting to accurately express my ideas. I found that sometimes I can’t draw what I think specifically, so now my sketchnoting still needs relatively many word descriptions to help express.

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