IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



I moved to Sydney in 2017 to pursue a career in UX and study a Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts at The University of Sydney. I also hold a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics from the University of Canterbury.

Blog Reflection 09 – tsha3407

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

Breaking down the interaction between my two stakeholders (the menopausal woman and doctor) allowed me to focus on communicating the needs of both stakeholders while effectively communicating the functionality of my solution for both the doctor and the woman e.g. providing the doctor with relevant information and reassuring the menopausal woman that what she is experience isn’t uncommon.

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

I can’t think of a film, but we structured our storyline to first outline the design problem in context (the woman experiencing hot flushes) -> moving forward to the doctors office where we focused on showing the Doctor UI (solution) allowing the doctor to provide effective healthcare -> after which the woman was presented with our Social UI (solution) and immediate relief as she realised that her experience isn’t uncommon -> ending with the woman interacting with the Patient UI (solution) at home to provide continued feedback.

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

We did not create for a specific audience as our solution is catered towards integrated healthcare, but the style was aimed to reflect how any patient no matter their age, gender, or health concern would be treated.

Blog Reflection 07 – tsha3407

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

Coffee pod – a small cylindrical capsule used to store ground coffee; drop the capsule in an Nespresso machine and a couple minutes later you’ll have an espresso shot/energy. As I played around with the coffee pod I discovered it made a colourful paper weight; with a little imagination I realised that if I poked holes in the pod it could be used as a salt shaker. Beyond altering the coffee pod I fused my now salt shaker with my dental floss to create a necklace (I would attach a picture, but there is no available space).

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.

The experimenting process demonstrates how quickly you can integrate and pivot during the design/prototyping of a solution, as shown by my coffee pod transforming into a salt shaker and eventually crafted into a necklace. I think the manipulating process varies depending on the user testing the product. It isn’t until you get the prototype in the hands of the user that you truly get to test whether the affordances you designed for are recognised, or whether hidden affordances based on undiscovered user needs emerge. That’s what makes UX/UI design interesting “what will the user do?” e.g. my necklace.

Blog Reflection 08 – tsha3407

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

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

User observation:

– 1: While observing the user (Danny and Jose) I was able to determine their pain points via non verbal behaviour. It became very obvious that the USYD library UI was incredibly overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar with it (incredibly steep learning curve). I observed frustration *head scratching, grimacing, and verbal “XXXX this site…” behaviour. Upon reviewing the video footage I was able to determine the points which gave the users most grief in the ‘search’ process.

– 2: Observing exactly how, particularly the USYD library UI gave the user grief was helpful to the iterative HCD process; but I also found prompting the user to ‘think-aloud’ very disruptive as it interrupted the users problem solving approach.


– 1: While thinking-aloud I was able to step the observers (Danny and Jose) through my problem solving process, I highlighted the inefficiencies of the Office Max site. The opposite held true while interacting with the USYD library UI, I couldn’t efficiently perform the task and cognitive overload disrupted my problem solving process; if users experience this level of frustration you need to rethink the entire design experience.

– 2: While completing the task I was very focused and needed to be reminded to ‘think-aloud’, although my non verbal behaviour was obvious.

I’m looking forward to adapting a user persona and testing the Assignment 2 prototypes using these techniques.

– Travis

Blog Reflection 06 – tsha3407

How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

Physically acting out helped generate empathy towards the user and the context of their problem e.g. the limited amount of space on a plane while flying – especially extreme cases (Dylan – 6ff + and unable to comfortably fit/let alone sleep in an airplane seat.

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

Bodystorming allowed my group to keep adding new constraints to the problem which refined the idea by looking at the problem through multiple lenses – driving and refining the ideation process by addressing user needs.

What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

The process is highly dependant on the imagination of your group members. It’s difficult to act out a scenario when you don’t have any context/point of reference e.g. being 6ft as I’m 5’6. This relates to the initial issues outlined in the brainstorming phase – you can’t identify unknown issues if you haven’t performed relevant background research.

Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Bodystorming lends itself to spatial centred problems. Experience design compliments the technique by allowing group members to “walk in the shoes” of the user – developing empathy.

– Travis

Blog Reflection 05 – tsha3407

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?

Taking the position of an extreme user made the design challenge easy. I created a fictional character “the money spinner” – my thinking centred around Riley – the entrepreneurial backdoor casino operator. I didn’t have to dive deep into my users head because I already understood his motivations and needs. I really enjoyed having the creative freedom to design a solution (no matter how crazy it seems). The extreme user approach is unrestricted while the typical empathy building and ideation process relies heavily on gathering and interpreting relevant user data.

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?

User stories and storyboards were very helpful in the ideation process. User stories add context to the solution – how would Riley act (based on his motivations and needs) when interacting with the potential idea/solution. Storyboards add visual context to the solution – giving my group members the “full picture” – this made combining and fleshing out ideas easy as we were all on the same page during the ideation process.

– Travis

Blog Reflection 04 – tsha3407

Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a – Reflective listening

For this exercise to be effective the listener must build a rapport with the speaker. The listener must paraphrase key information and follow with open questions to draw out the speakers underlying motivations and frustrations. As the speaker delved deeper I built empathy and was able to generate deeper questions. e.g. “So, you’re a creative type, but you work in industrial design; why the MIDEA program?”.

IMG_1082b – Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

I found this exercise strange. The train/bus video made me feel uncomfortable; although I have used public transportation in Sydney before I felt as if I had zero sense of direction. The experience built empathy with NSW public transport users, but I don’t think defamiliarising everyday reality helped draw out unknown user needs and frustrations.

c – Empathetic modellingIMG_1070

The most engaging exercise. I relied heavily on touch and hearing as I attempted to navigate the Wilkinson building. I built empathy with the visually impaired during the experiment as I experienced first hand what it’s like to (briefly) live with their condition.

– Travis

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