IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind




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

The main benefit of thinking in terms of shots and scenes is that it is easier for me to imagine my design concepts in a real situation rather than just in a general level. This way of thinking can encourage me to put my design concepts in a series of specific scenes, which means that the abstract concepts are able to be better revealed in a more dynamic way.

In addition, this thinking pattern also makes it possible to detect potential problems of the design concepts because some problems are not easy to be found unless they are applied in real scenes and shots.

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

I set three separate scenes in the storyline and each of them has to be described clearly within one minutes, which means that I need to select only few shots that can easily deliver those meanings. The structure I choose is associated with these three scenes and in order to build connections between these three scenes, I decided to change the scenes repeatedly over the storyline, rather than just revealing them one by one.

The inspiration came from a documentary about three magicians who are quite good at performing street magic tricks. Their stories are included in the documentary and the scenes change a lot over the whole structure, making it more engaging to audiences.


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

Our audiences are sports lovers who rely heavily on technologies in their everyday life. The aim of our video is to show audiences the core functionalities of our design products in a clear and engaging way.

The video and storyboards are supposed to be related with them by choosing the scenes that they are quite familiar with so that they can easily acquire the information from these visual storytelling techniques.



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

The object I choose is a double-layers pencil box, which is made of mental material. Initially, I thought the only affordance it has was containing pencils, but my perspective changed a lot when I was trying to explore new affordance of this objects.

Firstly, I noticed that this pencil box is too thin to contain other stationaries such as erasers, pencil sharpers and rulers. So I thought the affordance of this pencil box can be expanded by modifying its structure. In addition, I found that this objects can be used not only for containing stationaries inside, but also for protecting them and the pencil box itself. This is because the head-end of the pencils is likely to be damaged if the pencils always crash with the inner edge of the pencil box. Therefore, I considered the affordance of protecting stationaries can be achieved if they are able to be fixed in the pencil box.

2.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.

  • An affordance is likely to create a match between capabilities of a user and properties of an object, which means that it can only be achieved when the designed products are able to meet the user’s abilities. For example, during the tutorial session, when I was exploring the affordance of a spoon, I tried to pretend that I lose several essential abilities such as becoming blind and texture sensitivity to use the spoon. So in order to use the spoon in this situation, it is necessary to change the affordance of this spoon like increasing the length and curved angle. This helped me to realise that the affordance of a designed product needs to be varied  according to the user’s capabilities.
  • By taking this exercise, I have a better understanding of the concept of affordance and it also gave me some inspirations of how to design in a human-centered and user-orientation way. As a designer, it is necessary to make sure that the goal of the design process is to create relationships between users and products. For example, if we want to design a mobile phone for a aged people, the screen and font size should be increased to meet their abilities. Also, designers are supposed to make the affordance of a product perceptible rather than hiding it, which can encourage the user to take the most advantage of the affordance of a product.



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

As a user

  • User observation: First of all, during the process of this technique, it can promote me to interactive with the website consciously, instead of using it without paying any attention. This can help me recognise more detailed features that need to be improved like the position of a button or search engine box. Also, I was able to get the feedback of the experience at the end of this technique because the micro-behaviors such as my facial expressions and the frequency of moving the mouse randomly can be revealed clearly.
  • Think-aloud: This method can give me the opportunities to express my opinions and comments while taking the role of a user. As being encouraged to speak out by evaluators, it was more likely for me to find out more details that I had never noticed before.

As a evaluator

  • User observation: When I was taking the role of a evaluator during the process, it is necessary for me to observe the reaction of the user in detail to collect more information and data. So this can really help me to capture a lot of potential feedbacks from the user such as the emotion and satisfaction. Apart from this, it is also possible to know why the user had a specific emotion by watching the recorded video. For example, I can notice which features lead to the confusion for the user when he/she was moving the mouse randomly and trying to find out a button on a page.
  • Think-aloud: This technique can encourage the user to express his/her own thought in a open way, which can make it possible for me to record the user’s feedback immediately such as his/her viewpoints, comments, complains and even recommendations that can help to improve the design.


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

As a user

  • User observation: Even though this technique is a great way to reveal my user experience, it still has its limitations. For example, I feel quite unnatural during the user observation process especially when being observed by others very carefully. It is impossible for to to act as in a real situation.
  • Think-aloud: This method may have a negative impact on the final results of usability test, despite the fact that many useful information can be delivered directly. This is because users may find it difficult to keep their own pace and habit of interacting with the design prototypes when they are trying to express their thoughts at the same time, which can result in misrepresenting the subjective opinions.

As a evaluator

  • User observation: In order to have a better understanding of the features of design that need to be improved, it is necessary for designers and evaluators to make sure the diversity of those participants because user from different background tend to have different behaviours as well. So this process may take a lot of time.
  • Think-aloud: Since evaluators mainly record verbal information from users in this process, they tend to have difficulty in having access to the emotions and feelings of users when interacting with the prototype.

Poster Reflection-szho9451





In the tutorial last week, I presented my research report on community health for gym members to a group of 5 people.

I received a lot of reflections and suggestions from others after presentation, which helped me to explore and revise ideas.For example, I received a reflection “Have you thought about putting some sensors in some parts of body that could detect false movement and give real time warning?”This feedback really inspired me to explore a new idea and I have decided to develop this idea as a concept in the design proposal.

Another very useful reflection is that “I want to know the different sports performance between the one with a personal trainer and the one without.” This reflection reminded me of an important missing point in my research report, and it made me realise that I need to include this information in my design proposal to support my ideas.

While listening to others presentation and watching their posters, I can get a lot of inspirations and ideas as well. I noticed a lot of different way of presenting information on a poster like how to organise the information and choose layout. Also, I can acquire a lot of new interesting knowledge among diversified fields including skin cancer, impacts of smoking and so on.

Overall, I have learned a lot in this tutorial and it’s really beneficial to my design proposal .




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

  • Firstly, bodystorming makes it possible to for designers to feel the problem physically rather than just thinking in their mind. Many good ideas and inspirations can be recognised and explored when they are trying to experience the real situation because it is difficult to figure out all the factors of the problem in our mind.
  • In addition, this technique can bridge the gap between users and designers because designers are able to experience and witness the actual behaviours and emotions of users when facing the problem. Therefore, for designers, bodystorming  can help them to gain understanding and empathy with users , and then make a contribution to exploring ideas in terms of the subtle details that have been recognised.

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

Yes, it helped me a lot to refine my ideas and solutions to the problem in the tutorial, in which our group tried to find the solutions dealing with problems of sleeping in the airplane such as the noise and lights that disturb passenger’s sleeping. In order to experience these problems physically, we simulate the real situation and three of us acted as passengers who are facing these problems, while another group member was as an observer. By doing this, each of us all recognised several ideas or solutions to these problems because actors are able to have inspirations through experiencing the real situation and observer can recognise solutions by observing actor’s behaviours. For example, when I was imaging and feeling myself in a airplane that is quite noisy and bright, I figured out a solution to solve these problems by using a big hat that can reduce noise, make fresh air and there is a screen inside. In conclusion, brainstorming is a great method to develop ideas and solutions.

3.What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

From my perspective, the most challenging thing is that we cannot simulate physically all contextual factors in a situation such as the smelling and sound, so sometimes it is difficult for us to act like in a real situation.

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

In my viewpoint, bodystorming is suitable for the problems that can happen in the real world rather than those virtual problems like software bugs. This is because designers need to act out roles physically when using this technique. It is impossible for them to take a role of software.


RESEARCH POSTER-szho9451Poster.jpg


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?

  • When I was trying to figure out solutions for an Extreme User who has extreme and unusual values, it helped me to think out of box because the traditional ways normally cannot work. It encouraged me to think about  more possibilities to deal with the challenge, which makes it easier to generate more innovative and interesting ideas.
  • Yes, it’s quite different from the traditional thinking patterns, which focus more on the down-to-earth solutions instead of creative ideas. Taking the position of an Extreme User means that we need to have empathy with them who have extreme natures, so that we can get rid of the mental limitation and create ideas.

2.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?

  • Firstly, one thing that helped me a lot to have empathy with the Extreme User is making stories. It’s a great way to detect and recognise hidden issues in a scenario.
  • In addition, making a storyboard is also a useful technique because it can help me to transfer the tedious text into visual elements, which are much easier to understand by others when working with group members.


1.Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a. Reflective listening

  • The first thing I learned is that listening without judgement can motivate speakers to offer more valuable information. In this exercise, I tried to listen to others’ speaking in a new way. I didn’t express my own viewpoint during the conversation, instead I just gave some feedback , which encouraged him to express more information in details such as difficulties, motivations and expectations.
  • In addition, I find it is easier to understand speaker if I listen him with empathy. This is because it is possible for me to feel what he experienced from his information, which can help me to avoid misunderstanding.

b.Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

  • This exercise made me realise that there are a lot of things beyond what I know. As we familiar with a situation, we tend to take everything granted do not try to discover new things in our life. Defamiliarisation is a great way to encourage me to find new possibilities from everyday reality.

c. Empathic modelling

  • What I learned from this exercise is that I’m able to capture more things if I put myself in a unfamiliar situation. When I checked the pictures I took during this exercise, I noticed that there were a lot of totally new pictures, even though all the photos were took from the quite familiar building. So it is more likely to have new discovers if we are in a unfamiliar situation.


Week 3–szho9451

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?

  • In this tutorial, we made a complete personas together, which helps us get a better understanding of the benefits of this method. Our group totally have 6 people. Firstly, we were divided into three groups and interviewed each other to collect the data. By doing this, I got a lot of useful information such as user needs, expectations and preferences about shopping in supermarket. After that, we shared our data and tried to find variables like the frequency of go shopping, time spent on shopping and other preferences. Based on these variables, we started to look for  behavior patterns so that we can make our persona.
  • From my experience. It was really hard to find sufficient commonality and form only a coherent persona about our group because the data we collected was not enough. So it is necessary to create another different persona.

2) 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 made it easier for us to recognize user needs and understand them, even though it still has a lot of weakness such as lack of visual elements and simplicity. Based on this technique, it is possible to represent users in a direct and clear way, which can help us to build connections with users.
  • There are two things I can do to improve it. First of all, it is possible to make it more engaging with simplicity by using the method of sketch, which can transfer the long sentences into visual elements. In addition, I need to prepare my interview carefully instead of just asking questions randomly, which makes it easier to collect important and relevant data.


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