IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



TechnoloGym – Assessment3

Group Name: TechnoloGym

Team Members: 

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909

Yan Song – yson6361

Presentation Slides:


Video Demo:

Blog 7 – Interrogating Affordances – qkon3909

 Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


  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 objects I chose were a mirror, a lip balm, and a small outdoor knife. The basic purpose of this knife is to be used outdoors, to cut ropes and woods while adventure. At first I thought the main and only function of a knife is to cut (whatever woods, fruits, vegetables, fingers…) because it is sharp. But after I observed it closely, I found maybe a little else. It is made of steel so it’s very hard, and can be used to smash, cracked the chestnuts, for example. The blade is straight, if add some scale it can be used as a ruler. And it is black and red, cool designed so it can certain be an alternative decoration.

I’m a knife enthusiast and I have a large collection of the knife and sword. Then I found some of them can be reformed into a crutch, some necklace, some headwear… an object has its original feature and function but with a little modification it will dish up in a new form.

  1. 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.

If manipulated by different people, the value of an item will make a huge difference. A knife can either be a survival kit or equipment to kill depends on its owner. My partner had reformed a disposable chopstick into an exquisite hairpin, which I thought is pretty brilliant. I have seen talent designers using waste plastics, bottles, newspapers to build a fashion dress. Talking about insights I got, is that there is no useless things on this world. A good designer should have the ability to turn “waste” into wealth.



Thinking from a disabled man may give us more inspirations.

Research Summary Poster – qkon3909

Summary Poster:


Feedback I have got:

I didn’t know:

  • there was a lack in technology for old people
  • most of carers do not use electronic devices
  • low % of use of technologies in this place

Tell me more about:

  • your demographic target country.

Between 1994 and 2014,the proportion of people aged 65 years and over increased from 11.8% to 14.7% and the proportion of people aged 85 years and over almost doubled from 1.0% of the total population in 1994 to 1.9% in 2014.
Although Australia has ranked inside the top 15 countries in the world for supporting older people’s quality of life, population ageing is projected to have significant implications for Australia over the next several decades.

  • how the crutch would be used in a typical scenario?

For example, old people or disabilities with amnesia went outside and forgot the way home, the crutch can project the right direction to help them reaching their house.

Have you ever thought about:

  • a wearable instead of the crutch/camera?

Sure, the crutch is just an example for walking & standing aids. The idea i brought up  are non-wearable because i was wondering their living habits, it takes a while for people to get used to wearable devices if they never wore one.

  • how to locate the crutch once you lost it.

Since the crutch has a GPS function, we can use software to check the location.

  • the route being different to what the GPS tells.

This is a common problem, i hope the GPS could be more smart to suggest the simplest route.

  • resistance to new technology that an aged user typically displays?

Good point, I did not realize that 😦 My grandma is already 85 and she refuse to admit that she is old 😦 That is problems of psychology and i guess maybe we can try to persuade them?


I thought I have done enough research but it turned out I still have so so so much to investigate, and a lot of places ill-considered. Thanks so much to my fellows. 🙂



Blog 6 –Body storming – qkon3909

 Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


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


This is the first time I experience bodystorming, at first we all felt cabined but then after the whole group was involved, we found it can provided new insights and we can share thoughts and feelings to others.

It is immersive and makes me feel personally on the scene, it helps us to create stories and generation of ideas around an envisioned scenario. By acting out the situations in a supportive environment we are not only logical but also perceptive. Physical enactment is more tangible, and we can avoid engaging in idle theorizing.

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

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory. Since we are acting in a particular scene, we need to adapt ourselves to changing circumstances. We are a group of four and during the bodystorming anything can happen, we do not know what others are thinking about so too often there occurs accidents. For example, we were acting out the sleeping situation on airplane, when one of us have some needs, others cannot know the matter at the first time because they are all sleep! Thus force us to generate new ideas to solve the problem. As the saying goes never overleap the details, it’s true that every little single action may become a source of inspiration.

  1. What was difficult or challenging about Bodystorming?

Partly this is because we are too timid and squeamish to be effective, we do not know what to do next, and dare not to act out our ideas. After all performance is not same as talk or write, it requires a particular strength and confidence.

  1. Does Bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?2

There are many types of people in this world living different lives, it is hard to divine others’ thoughts and feelings. If you meet a fellow introvert who is not good at express his own thoughts, then it would be extremely difficult to sense his feelings and needs. Despite the irreplaceable advantages, bodystorming still need to be combined with brainstorming and other creativity techniques.


Our aim is to solve the problem of sleeping in airplanes.


Miss Carol is uncomfortable > <..


Miss Carol is uncomfortable > <..


Flight assistant show Miss Carol the Sleep Capsule.

PS: Miss Carol is a method actor!

Blog 5 – Ideating – qkon3909

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


  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 extreme user we choose is a very romantic woman, here I suppose her to be a 400-year-old vampire, looks like 18 and is crazy about artistic things, she lives in a castle and does not know much about modern technology, yet one day she need to go to the human world to visit her friend. This user seems weird, but certainly extreme. Standing from her point of view, I can gain more sense of characteristic design. The user is totally different from mediocre users, she might be picky, hard to please, difficult to be attracted…So as a designer I have to brought up a delicately beautiful and sublimely impressive scene, try to meet her needs and surprise her at unawares.


Luckily, this task is not difficult for me because, I myself am an extreme user to some extent. Most of extreme users are like me, have a crazy favorable impression on specific styles, while a strong aversion to some other patterns. In fact, it would be easier if I do not need to be crowd-pleasing when design, just imagine I am the user and I can design flexibly, audaciously, even unscrupulously.

  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?

Personally, I love stories and storyboards. At ordinary times I enjoy writing novels so it would be easier for me to use story as thinking techniques. A narrative can help us discover more details of the user, and by telling the story to group members, I can gain some insights that I might ignore when thinking alone. Compared to story, a storyboard would be more vivid and of course more visualized, we need to sketch our ideas down and it is often combined with a semi-structured prototype, we can add details and annotations, and that can make our design more compelling.



Blog 4 –Creating personas – qkon3909

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


  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?

The topic we chose is “Going to the supermarket”, since we are a group of four girls we have something in common regards to shopping. We are same age and same background, so at first we thought it would be easy to create a single coherent persona according to data we gathered. However, after interviewing each other we found our shopping style are widely different. We brought up several behavior variables, clustered people who act similarly and conclude the behavior pattern. Basically, Carol and I are the same flock, we called us “Pragmatic shoppers”, we know what we need and we will go straight for our target and purchase it without wasting time on other things. In contrast, Eve and Coco enjoys hanging around every corner in the supermarket, they don’t have specific shopping list, just let it be and shop for pleasure.


Then we generate two personas capturing the key characteristics, motivations and goals. By filling the field in the persona template, it is not hard for us to create the persona. It is really interesting to create a imaginary representative person, I have to say this experience is better than ever before.


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

For me it was successful enough because it was the first time I create a persona, it is productive to understand the needs of our users and how the design can support users with different goals and levels of skills, the final persona could generate empathy with users. Yet the fly in the ointment is we (the interviewer) are still too alike (Asian, students, little disposable money…), it would be better if we have different age and background brackets.



Blog 3 – Interpreting Data – qkon3909

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


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

Reading the user’s interview transcript gives us a deep understanding of their backgrounds, needs, interests, frustrations, and things like that. The detailed description makes us personally on the scene, and we can view the situation from the user’s standpoint. Why did he make this choice at a certain time with a certain person? Only after immerse into the story can we understand their approach. Take my interview data for instance, it is about a man who plans a journey for their honey moon, and that’s the basic reason why he detailed schedule everything, he wants to be reliable, give the best to his wife. Thus this situation — traveling with loves, is different from traveling with friends, for the latter you do not need to plan precisely, you can have more time to hang out and waste.

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

It is an efficient way which can succinctly capture user’s needs and then analysis them. At first step – the yellow Post-it notes may seem chaotic, because we have so many unordered observations. But then the second step sort out everything. Having a close-up view and we found those isolated information have some inner relationships, clustering them and it tells us what the user truly want to express. By summarize their wills and desires on the blue Post-it notes, we move forward to solve the puzzle. But that is not the ultimate step, we still have pink labels which didn’t use, unfortunately due to the time limit we didn’t finished that, but I guess after characterize all the information we can surely gather more insights.

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


It is hard for me to cluster what I already have, because the information is so fragmentary. We had a hard time squeezing our brain to figure out which labels are similar and can be grouped together, as well as what we should write on the blue labels. Too often we found we have more than 6 notes in one column, so we need to re-arrange them. To solve this I think I need to write more detailed on the yellow labels, do not make the description ambiguous.



thanks to those smart guys in my group 🙂

Blog 2 – Visual Communication through drawing and sketchnoting – qkon3909

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


1. How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Previously for me note taking and sketching are definitely two different things, I always regard note taking as stenography, and all you need to do it about words and sentences. In this class, intriguingly, the first time I noticed that sketching and note taking can be one thing. Sketchnoting is an amusing way to take notes, it is easier and more efficient. For example, drawing an apple (which you only need a circle and a curve) is way faster than writing “APPLE” down. I do not need to draw very well, as long as I can understand my note.

And besides the efficiency, another incomparable superiority of sketchnoting, in my view, is what we called COSMOPOLITAN. I’m from China and my traditional note are all in Chinese, so I can’t give my note to classmates because they can’t understand, but they can understand what I’m drawing, since smile is smile, and sad face is sad face.

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

It shows my idea more clearly of course, everything is understandable at one glance. And also I think this innovative way is helpful for Right Brain Thinking, when I listened to the TED lecture and taking notes, I construct my note from a holistic perspective, I need to arrange the information on the paper instead of list them one by one. Although sometimes allocating space for information is hard (so some place may be vacant and some tight), the massive structure of the notes is dramatic and considerable.

The opposite side, I think, it less logical. When I look at my abundant notes sometimes I can’t understand the order of priority, it present a lot of information without the sequence of events, at least the sequence is not obvious compared to traditional list (No.1.. No.2.. No.3..). So we cannot be too dependent on graphics, we need to combine graphics and word description together.


3. Personal challenges as a sketchnoter

Well, I love doodles, although I am not very good at sketching. Fortunately sketchnoting do not need high-level drawing skills, some of my note may looks super ugly but I can understand it, and that’s enough. I think I should focus more on how to arrange those crucial information I heard rather than improving my sketch skill. As a beginner this may take for a while but I guess I can do better. 🙂

Some sketches during class..

2015-08-13 190430

a story….= =

2015-08-13 190529

top view of my bedroom

2015-08-13 190538


2015-08-13 190550(1)

sketchnoting a TED lecture

2015-08-13 190611

my day 🙂

Blog 1 – Gift-giving Experience – qkon3909

Qingwei Kong – qkon3909


1.How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

More fast, more accurate.
When I try to design a product I may generate many alternatives, in our case, this gift giving experience, I sketch 5 ways for my partner, engaging and testing with a real person gives me many effective and immediate feedbacks so that I can decide which idea is better.
For example, among my 5 ideas, my partner (my client) negated 1 of them quickly, pleased with 2 of them and remained ambiguous to the other 2. Thus gave me a firsthand direction for improvement, and I can alter my prototype to meet her requirements.
And also, the easy, direct and effective communication between us surely fast the speed from requirements analysis to design to implementation.

2.What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

A little bit embarrassed and regretful, I have never shown unfinished work to others before. My partner felt confused when using my prototype and I have to rack my brain to explain my concept to her.

3.As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

I have to say my partner has good minds and good hands, absolutely stronger than me, so her prototype was more developed and understandable. It was easy for me to comprehend her purpose and gave her my thoughts. It was really engaging to touch, to feel and play with her physical prototype.
It is certainly enjoyable to participate in the design process as a user, because I can explain what I want to the designer directly, and think up ideas together to complete the design.

4.Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I feel I need to communicate with my partner again and again to gain empathy, the more insights I gain the more integrated prototype I could build up. When design every details, keep in mind their needs and motivations. I asked myself what are they trying to do? What could be improved? Is this change helpful to the client’s demand? I need to focus on the user’s feeling and interests more than the product itself. This is a circulation between design – prototype and test.

5.What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

Gaining empathy is a new method I learned, and I would keep in mind. At first I thought it is dispensable, then I found user’s personality and their story offers more usefulness than thought. Also, I need to learn taking solution and feedback down in shorthand. I felt really rushed during our exercise, I did sketch hastily so it lack of clarity. Speed is a big challenge I need to overcome.

Some more reflections:
As a student came from Computer Science background, I have been trying hard to change myself from a “programmer” to a “designer”. When I first saw those papers, cardboard sheets, scissors, I felt confused and surprised, but through our tasks (really fast-paced tasks) I began to learn how a designer (especially interaction designer) thinks. Although I am still not very good at sketching and making prototype, I feel I got more creativity and open-mindedness. 🙂

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