IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 6 – Bodystorming – rmor2050

In Week 6, we chose a scenario and did a bodystorming exercise. My group chose the exercise ‘improve a doctor’s waiting room’.

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

It culminated the ideas and processes of each member of the group, allowed us to create a more accurate representation of a particular situation, and it forced us to respond to realistic, impromptu changes in circumstance.

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

We did, because the body storming exercise identified problems and potential solutions we hadn’t previously thought about.

We began by creating an Issues Map which listed all the issues which make the stereotypical doctor’s waiting room uncomfortable and could be improved. During the body storm we accurately sketched artifacts and noted people’s feelings and reactions. We also had the sketcher instruct the group of changes to the scenario, and continued bodystorming. We pooled all the data we gathered from sketching, note taking and observation into a discussion and improved our Issues Map, then created a list of solutions.

What was difficult or challenging about body storming?

It was difficult to put my preconceived beliefs aside and be in the character of a particular patient/persona, however this was effective as I was able to identify new issues.

Does body storming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Body storming is a better activity for extroverts and can be a difficult research solution for introverts to perform.

Secondly, body storming is reliant on a group of people being able to be in character rather than sharing their own opinions.

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Week 4 – Interpreting Data – rmor2050

In week 4, we analysed user interviews, gathered information and then pooled this data and other team mates’ data into an affinity diagram to identify user needs and motivations.

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

The interviews were thorough and provided a lot of background and personal information which helped me identify the user’s motivations and needs, and consequently build empathy with similar prospective users. Knowing the user’s goals, interests, hobbies, technical aptitude and so on allowed me to list a lot of implicit and explicit user needs.

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

This helped to group my findings with findings for the other users, so that we could identify patterns. Once everything was grouped, we were able to identify a few needs we hadn’t discovered previously, by noticing patterns in the data. We identified the most common motivations and needs among users then summarised them with another level of grouping.

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

There were significant differences between the ways each team member wanted to group the information, particularly if a team member couldn’t relate their user’s needs to another user’s needs. This was the most time consuming part however we overcame this issue by brainstorming several different options for grouping until we agreed on one.

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Week 3 – Persona Exercise – rmor2050

In week 3, we formed groups and interviewed users about public transport.

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 persona exercise was smooth and successful, as there was a lot of commonality between the 4 user profiles (interviewed users). There were commonalities in:

  • occupation
  • age
  • hobbies
  • technical aptitude
  • needs relating to public transport
  • motivations to use a) public transport and b) assistive technology for public transport use

In this particular situation there was no need for a second persona as almost all gathered data was similar and supported the one persona well.

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

I feel confident that the final persona accurately represented the needs and motivations of the four users interviewed, therefore I believe it would generate empathy with more users. If I were to change anything, I would carry out more interviews with a greater variety of age groups and occupations, as all of our interviewees were students. While I feel this persona would be an accurate representation of a young student, it would be more fair to include other ‘persona types’ and study a broader audience.

Week 2 – Prototyping – rmor2050

In Week 2, myself and a team were provided with the following persona and asked to prototype designs of chairs.

“Grandpa is an old man who is achy and sometimes a bit grouchy. He has trouble getting around, so he walks with a cane. He also has difficulty get in and out of his chair, though he sits in his chair most of the day.”

How did working through different materials help you to explore and express potential solutions to a design problem?

I had to consider my idea in a three dimensional way, to scale, therefore I identified flaws and found solutions that I may not have been able to do with a sketch of an idea. I was also forced to improvise and use materials which would not have been my first choice. This taught me to be more flexible, problem solve and utilise new and interesting materials in my design.

What kinds of information and inspiration did the new materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?

The bending qualities of the pipe cleaners inspired me to design chairs with bending, movement and flexibility incorporated. Without the pipecleaners I may not have considered movement qualities in my chair ideas such as rocking and bouncing, and this opened my eyes to potential solutions to the user needs. For example, the user identified a need for a walking stick, therefore I devised a chair design which incorporated a bending functionality in the chair to allow the user to reach the walking stick in a fluid, simple motion.

I also enjoyed working with the constraints of the matchsticks and corrugated paper. For example, I felt that the limitations of the corrugated paper and sticky tape influenced the visual design of my chairs, and encouraged me to think harder about a way to embrace these materials to produce a suitable visual design for the persona.

What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?

Firstly, I simplified my designs between sketching and prototyping with materials. It was only upon using the materials one at a time that I realised I wasn’t able to achieve my sketches realistically.

I decided that my chair would visually take on a comfortable recliner appearance and functionality, and most of my prototypes were based on this. I made this decision because it was possible to achieve in time and material constraints, and also responded to all identified user needs.

I also changed my design to better respond to the users need for a walking stick when leaving the chair, and the user’s need for as few strenuous movements as possible, and my final prototype included an easy-to-reach walking stick holder incorporated into the chair. This change was a result of a few iterations and refinements, and I decided that this was the most effective response to the user’s needs.

How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

I think I successfully responded to the user needs I identified in my models. The following are the user needs I identified and how I responded to them in designs:

  • As little strenuous movement as possible
    • I designed chairs that sit taller and flexibly sink in/move lower as someone sits down
    • I included comfortable arm rests
  • Comfort when sitting for long periods of time
    • I designed a supportive shape that would not compromise on comfort
    • I (hypothetically) included materials to mould to the user’s body slowly and become more comfortable
  • Ease getting into and out of the chair
    • As previously mentioned, the chair sits higher so it can be reached easily, then slides downwards into a more comfortable position
    • One design included a lever on the side to make the seat move upwards so the chair was easy to get out of


Research Report Summary Poster – Rikki Mortimore

Here is my research report summary poster presented in today’s tutorial:


After presenting, the following questions were asked and addressed in Peer Critique:

Regarding concept two – “What does the hardware do?”

This concept is a piece of hardware which an interface accessible when connected to a TV screen. The users who took part in research spoke of a need for their entertainment to be more shareable, therefore the purpose of this hardware is to a) make streaming applications more shareable, and b) split entertainment across different profiles for each household member. The hardware’s interface simply glows various colours to represent household members who are using it at any given time. Users can use the same application on different devices around the house and stream/access different entertainment at the same time.

Regarding concept three – “How did you decide on the ‘Cooking Mate’ concept?”

The ‘Cooking Mate’ concept is more an entertainment solution than a necessary piece of technology. All three users referenced their habit of multi-tasking entertainment with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, eating and so on. I decided on this concept because it directly addressed the user’s need to multi-task entertainment, as well as taking advantage of the users’ audio and video streaming habits and wirelessly connected households. I envision the ‘Cooking Mate’ to be a piece of hardware to be wall mounted in the kitchen, however it could also be made for tablet, phone and TV interfaces.

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