IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Tutorial Reflection10-rgao0313

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

Since shots and scenes remind you of different clues, it will eventually lead you to different design concept.

For example, if I make my idea in a café with the person I like, I can quickly relate my ideas to fantastic things or something related to the café like the shape of the coffee cup, a sense of cigarette from the hot coffee will remind me of some warm conditions. On the contrary, if I stay in a crowded place with the person I dislike. It is easy to relate my ideas to cold images and distorted concept.

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

It depends on the view I want to show the story. If it is like a historical hero’s story, I would like to use the broad view at times and having a bird’s eye view  at the very beginning to illustrate it is only an epitome of the era. For example, the Lord of the Rings use a lot of distant views which is matching its destined and epic theme.

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

If I were the director, I would like to use more of the internal monologue to reduce the distance between audience and persona. If I chose the audience of youth, I would like to use more energetic elements and school plots. They are intimately related. Because your style decides your audience. People are easier to be touched by the moments similarly and nearly related to their experience.


Blog Reflection09-rgao0313

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

I choose my pink-pattern umbrella as my object. At the initial understanding, I regard it as a beauty and can somehow get rid of wet when it is raining outside. During the class, inspired by my teammate who changed the marker into a spoon, I got an idea that I can change my umbrella into a beautifully decorated pink lamp. Since the shape of the umbrella is very similar to a trapezoidal cylindrical lamp, it will be easy to make the change if I can cut off all the umbrella stands. Due to its original function needed and high expenses to get new one, I gave up to change it into lamp. But undeniable, it is an good idea.

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. 

It changed a lot. Before knowing that, I regard it as its functions. The use of umbrella is to get rid of water and some other things like that. And then I regard it as a bridge between the person and the object can be seen apparently. Umbrellas, for example, the handle is an affordance to hold the umbrella. It gives me some hints. For example, the umbrella stands are no longer an affordance when I want to change it into a pink lamp, a new affordance is its handle, functions as the support frame for the whole lamp.



Blog Reflection 08-rgao0313

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

As observer (Sydney Opera House)

User observation

In this process, I perform as an evaluator, I focus more on the changes of emotion expressions. The teammate I observe always show the same expression as the following one and three. So it is quiet a challenge to tell the differences between some similar emotions. Also, as an evaluator, only try to tell the differences is not enough, I should also communicate with my actor, trying to give some guessing and ask him for whether my guess is correct or not. When I got confused by his expressions, I also ask him by “what is wrong with it “directly. Thanks to the practice of being an evaluator, I gradually understand the importance of communication and the tips of how to guess the inner world of my observed person rationally and also effectively.


In this process, I acted as a photographer, I kept all the things by recordings. It is quiet an easy task for me since recording does not necessarily to think to hard but try to find the best spot to record it. At the very beginning, I did not catch a good scene that the observed person’s expressions and her behaviours of surfing the Internet cannot appear on my video at the same time. With the help of my teammate, I adjust the angle of photographing a little bit, and finally get the content angle and high quality recordings.


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

As for me, I think both methods of observing are quiet useful. For the user observation part, I focus more on the micro-emotions while on the Think-Aloud part, I focus more on listening the comments of the experiencing person.

I get confused by the Think-Aloud method a little bit. I am wondered does this method really function? As the person should continue to speak something, how can he/she focus on what they are doing? Also, in the observation part, if the person speaks nothing while allowing he is born to be like frowning, how can the evaluator know whether it is his nature or he really feels the frustrating that makes him frown. It is really difficult to tell.

In general, I prefer to combine those two methods. Reducing the extreme condition, speak when it is necessary. Maybe it is a better way to convey information to others.

Blog Reflection 07-rgao0313

1) How did physically acting out help to explore ideas? .

Actually, it helps a little for me to release my pressure during the process of warming up when I need continuously speak for about 2 minutes.

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

it is quiet useful during the process of bodystrming. It refers us to some areas we did not notice during the brainstorming. For example, when we first put up the idea of improving the condition of hospital waiting room is there may some impolite behaviours occurred and what we can do to avoid it. However, when we turn to the bodystorming stage, things became different. The role who break the queue is seriously sick and cannot wait for the queue. At this time, we think more about how to solve the emergency problems rather than solve the managing the queue itself. The solution I gave this occasion is that the hospital can give every patient in the waiting room an emergency badge. When unpredictable occasion happens, the patient can press the button on the badge to look for help.


3) What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

The inner ideas can hardly be displayed on the stage. What the bodystorming showed us is  roughly about their simple behaviours. But there is also a need to get hang of  the reasons behind their behaviours. Without voiceover, however, it cannot be attached.

Also, with the time limit and lack of enough actors, we cannot mimic all the possibilities in the bodystorming.

4) Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Obviously, referring from the questions mentioned above, it does exist. When bodystorming, the roles think more about making the roles’ behaviours into rationalities.  So certain types of problems occurred thanks to different ideas of the actors. Some detailed information and ignored reasons rose to the surface.

Blog Reflection 05-rgao0313

  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?

Thinking about the position the persona gives to me, it helps me to think in a different dimension, to consider a need which is far away from my real world. It is quiet amazing to build and expand my imagination horizon. Our choice is about a successful business woman who cares a lot of earning money. Although it is not a big challenge for us because we could know a lot of information of such kind of persons through nowadays media, when describing the details of locating meetings, we still have problems in presenting it professionally. Frankly speaking, I think it is just on the opposite of what we used to think about things. Since every time in terms of new products, we would like to think what functions does it have? And what can it help me. In this case, however, it is more likely to be a personal tailor. The order is like we firstly hammer out what needs does a certain crowd have? And then we can decide what functions we may add to our product. They are totally on the opposite sides of one coin.


  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?

Design provocation card firstly helps us generate the characteristics of such a certain crowd, then things become easier for us to set about. Also, it is also a good method for the whole group to put up their opinions. All the ideas can be seen clearly on the first picture. The part of character profile is making the persona more like a real person in our daily life since it not only describe the age and profession of the persona, but also the address. Then the familiar feelings quickly take us into the role so that it is easier for us to build empathy. Finally, the sketch help us complete the story and to present it in a visual way.


Tutorial 04 – rgao0313-Empathy & Defamiliarisation

Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise
(1)Reflective listening

As a speaker, I focus on scratching the eye-contact with my audience. He is a good listener, slightly frown from time to time and always watches me carefully. Asking the related questions followed with my answers, he made me feel confident. So I can quickly get a quick response that whether he knows what I mean.  Also, through the eye contact, I can also get hang of what kinds of talking he really interested in.

(2) Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

In this process, I feel that it is the longest part of the tutorial, since the occasions are too familiar to me, the train showed on the screen is which I take most often, so I can even felt such a boring period waiting for the train coming. On the other part of a bus, there was also no meaning just daily life’s experience. When the bus was shaking on the video, I can catch the same feeling as if I were in the bus and just shook with the waves. Such a kind of feeling was not so good, so I quickly get myself out of such a bad experience.


(3)Empathetic Modelling:

The Empathetic Modelling is quiet interesting. Even though feel not so comfortable when getting the plastic bags among my eyes. Actually, I do not need such an equipment, my eyesight is about 3.75 which means I am medium myopia. However, I cannot get used to wearing glasses. So there is no big difference between me and the patients who can not see the world clearly.


This class is quiet helpful for me to build the ability to experience others’ world and their feelings. It is such an important area which can be easily ignored during our lives. If you cannot see the world in others’ perspective, how can you understand them and hammer out their interests and needs?

Blog Reflection-Week 3 from 77(rgao0313)



1.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?

The experience is quite funny: )

Firstly, our group has an open-minded chat in creating personal features, we also add some extra questions to find out more information to create a vivid persona.  From the above picture, we can find out that obviously that there are some commonality between some people. However, it is almost impossible to find two persons alike just as there are no two identical leaves in the world.

Also, When we gathered those information together, we four people have something quiet different. Everyone’s choices have their own reasons. The frequency of going shopping for instance, four people have four different frequencies. I rarely come to supermarket since I live far away from them. Anthony, however, seldom eats at home. So it is unnecessary for him to go to supermarket quiet often. Ellie, going shopping several times a week, is very near to the supermarket and are willingly to buy something from time to time…

Actually, there is no need for our group to create another persona. Otherwise, we need to create four formulas since everyone has her/his characteristics. We are able to create persona who is familiar with us but also unfamiliar with us in some points when we see it separately.

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

The answer is Yes since we make a lot of efforts to make it more empathy with users.

In the process of creating a persona, seeing the gathering information, we want to make the persona more empathy and just like a real one,  so we give him some backgrounds and put him into some situations  that make his choices more reasonable. For example, he is sensitive because he lacked of love in his childhood and he just broke up with his ex-girlfriend, so he is sensitive to the changes of price. And now he is more likely to enjoy the situations of himself alone. That is also why he chooses Auto-checkout services in the supermarket so that he can escape unnecessary communications with the stuffs.

Even though I think we did quite a good job on ideas, we also have space to improve in the area of detailed information.


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

The only way that we can build empathy with prospective users is to think in their views or experience the same things as they do. This exercise use the labels of “interests”, “needs” “motivation” and “frustration” to help us figure out the types of potential customers’ feelings. It is a good method to sort them out and put them into their own categories , hence things become easy to deal with. Also, we build a sense of categorizing somehow. After doing that, as a result, those different labels can quickly give us a inspiration of empathy emotionally. We can better understand the prospective users’ real thoughts.

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

When we find the common features among a cluster of things which are seemingly unrelated at the very beginning, I know that this lesson help me a lot to inspire my sense of multiple possibilities. I learnt a lot from my friends and really enjoy these kinds of activities. When walking around, the following  masterpiece astonished me a lot!


because all the posters are gathered by the emotional features. The blue notes are always written with a strong expressive feeling like “I WANT …”. I never thought about things can be summarized like this, but…why not? It is quite interesting and give me a deep impression. Yes, I want! A strong voice from the heart that gives us a better understanding and empathy to the users’ needs! Thanks to design thinking. I cannot wait to next course giving me more inspirations.


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

Using the note materials to cluster materials is not a good choice in my perspective, because it will meet difficulties when meeting massive information. Nowadays, we are in a booming information era, categorisations cannot be done in this manual way. So, next time, if we can use the software to cluster things, it will be more effective and easy to modify.

Another challenge is that we can have several kinds of clustering criteria, this is so common that even in our one group, we can cluster them in three different ways. All of us have the reason to cluster them in our way. It is a big challenge to decide which one to use. We cannot say which one is better or not. When we have a public acknowledged criteria, however, it may hurts the multiple design thinking. So, it is really a big difficulty and challenge I still cannot find a way to deal with.

Reflection to week 1 sketch noting-rgao0313

   1.How was this sketch noting technique different to the traditional note taking?

Personally speaking, I think it focuses more on the ability of transforming the emotions as well as contents into visual expressions, and then you also need paint them out. During this interesting process, you should not only mechanically record what you have read, but also, even better in conceive the feelings it conveys to you.

Technically speaking, Our right half brain likes images, this kind of sketch noting use more of  the right half brain which can inspire our nerves to form more synaptic junctions. Also, this kind of note taking helps to form a long-term memory.

Mentally speaking, sketch noting technique does favour to express our emotions, I can even feel relaxed in releasing some pressures through this method, it is also a good way for the painter to have a design thinking which cannot be realised through the traditional note taking.

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

On the one hand, it helps me a lot in focusing on the understanding and feelings from the materials, it also gives a space for my unformed ideas, which I mean, some undecided ideas can be expressed vaguely through a imaginable image or icon. On the other hand, it really prevent me from expressing some ideas of mine since I cannot paint them down immediately. Also, my painting skills are not so good that some of ideas cannot be expressed smoothly.

  1. Personal challenges as a sketch-noter

Conveying my ideas in painting smoothly

Thinking into a visual form

Ability to conclude and conceive the meaning and transform it into pictures




The following is my amazing sketch noting

1.begin to paint some lines as practice


2.A story which I felt that the role met with some obstacles and lost himself somehow


3.A story about human’s limit to some degree, like a blind person cannot see the whole world. Also, I still remember it is about the development of technology which many functions of human beings can be realized by the inserted chips. For example, people can have the sight ability in a back view.


4.My office view

my office process


6.A person in speech


7.emotional expressions


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