IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 4 – Empathy and Defamiliarisation

1.) a.) Reflective listening I found to be the most enjoyable part of the tutorial, probably because it is something I have the most experience in. I think to do it well you need to be quick on your feet a little bit, in the sense that to gain deep and meaningful insights requires following some spontaneous tangents of thought. I also enjoyed the informality of the exercise, for us it was a very conversational interview, which I think is an important part in empathizing.

1.) b.) The defamiliarisation exercise was interesting, for me the public transport videos were quite odd, particularly the one on the trains. I’m not too sure if I particularly succeeded at the exercise particularly, I work at Circular Quay station quite regularly and the bus journey travelled past my old house and neighborhood so it was a 100% journey in nostalgia. I think I would have to do the exercise again with a different domain space in order to properly understand its conceptual applications.

1.) c.) The empathic modeling exercise with the glasses was quite interesting as well, I think it’s the type of exercise that really does lift the veil of everyday movements and experiences that are taken for granted due to their own ubiquity.


Week 3 -Interviewing and Creating Personas

1.) The practice of creating personas I found enjoyable. I think 4 people is too small of a sample size to create a fully fleshed out persona, but the exercise itself was fun as a combination of all our collective imaginations. In the end we created two pretty similar personas.

2.) I’m not 100% certain of this. As a way to elicit and define user requirements personas have great utility, but as a means of “generating” empathy I would find that description problematic; shouldn’t empathy be just a basic social skill regardless of it’s applicability to the design process? The other concern I have with personas (and I imagine this is something that becomes easier with experience) is how, in the creation of a persona, do you divorce all your preconceptions and existing biases from that stage of the design process and not make a persona that’s ultimately self-interested in support of your (even however nascent it is) design solution?

Week 2 – Interpreting Data Through An Affinity Wall – 8/03/2016

1.) Reading the interview transcripts gave a good sense of the prospective users’ wants and needs, I think because of the way they were presented. Even though they were written as interview transcripts there was in many ways a flow to what the user was recounting about their recent trips, more like a story than an interview.

2.) The clustering of similar information and then the subsequent categorizing of that information I thought was pretty useful for a beginning step. What I think was difficult was trying to generalize across the different clusters, simply because it involved a level of abstraction away from the information itself, and it is tricky to know whether or not you are actually discerning patterns from and between clusters or if you are just prescribing your own categories onto the information for the sake of expediency.

3.) If I were to create an affinity wall again I think I would be a little more thoughtful in the initial clustering of similar information. Our group I feel made our categories first and then organized our post-it notes accordingly, instead of letting the categories arise more naturally out of the information. I also felt that there was maybe a little bit of superfluous information as well, the challenge I found was with eliciting useful information out of the interview transcripts.

Week 1 – Sketching as a thinking tool – 1/3/2016


Sketch-noting is different to traditional note-taking (which relies almost exclusively on the note-taker’s command and use of language) in that the note-taker is encouraged to combine visual and graphical forms of communication (for example pictures, graphs, deliberate use of distinct font-types etc.) with traditional, long-form note-taking. Included among this is a focus upon typography itself as a way of conveying meaning.


In those instances where I had to create visual notes intended for myself, I found it convenient to sketch a quick image as a personal semantic short-cut. When required to create visual notes intended to convey meaning to someone else, I found it less useful, partially due to my lack of skill in sketching but also because of my background in verbal communication.


My main personal challenges in using sketch-noting is that I’m not a particularly visual person and am weak at sketching in general. The other personal concern is that in a lot of instances I would find it easier to simply write down my thoughts at the time of note-taking and have confidence in my ability to understand and extrapolate meaning from them at a later time. Apart from that, sketch-noting is a practice that I look forward to integrating for my personal use in the future.

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