IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



week four blog reflection -xhua8250


Brief reflection on the lessons learnt from each exercise

1. reflective listening

In this exercise, we in turn play the role of a speaker and listener. I learnt that as a speaker, we need to be considerate about controlling our speaking in an acceptable speed, and also not to go off the point. And as a listener, it is important not to interrupt the speaker, observe the speaker, and try to understand the speaker and be responsive, also ask questions in appropriate time politely.

2. defamiliarisation of everyday reality

By watching two videos recording public transport, we tried to obtain new perspective and information from these familiar circumstances. It is useful to defamiliarise normal scenes and products, especially for designers, so that we can keep discovering new ideas and apply them in design of everyday things.

3. empathic modelling

By wrapping the cling wrap to my glasses and phone camera, I experienced a whole new world by viewing things in a blurred and distorted way. This method helps us build up empathy to the people in poor eyesight, from which we can better understand their inconvenience and feeling, and try to solve this problem after we have experienced it. Also, this is a good way to defamiliarise the reality.

complement your elections with photographs of the process


include a scanned copy of your defamiliarisation formsbusbus


blog reflection week3

In week three, I was in a 4-people group discussing about experience in supermarkets. We first interviewed each other in pairs, and then created a persona according to our analysis of the combined interview notes. The notes and persona information is listed below:




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?

I think it is of great importance for us to analyse the possible cause for commonalities and differences among the gathered interview data, in order to create a coherent persona. During the persona creation, we found that the questions in the interview were not enough to set up an integrated persona, because many answers to the questions were not in certain pattern. So we added more questions, and gathered more commonality for creating our persona. As the four of us shared similar background, it is quite hard to create a second totally different persona. I think maybe the second persona requires more interviewees or interviewees with varied background.

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

Our final persona is good in generating empathy with users who are Chinese international students only, because of the limitation of interviewees’ background (four of our group member all come from China). Thus, in order to improve our persona, it is a must to employ interviewees with as wide and representative background as possible, so that we can generate better empathy with the prospective users.

blog reflection week2

In week 2’s tutorial, we employed affinity diagrams to study needs, motivations, interests and frustrations of potential users. The diagram our group built is attached below:


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

By studying every detail in an interview, I learnt the background information, preferences, and good/bad former experience in using other products, from which I can better analyse and predict the user behaviours so that I can create a more personalised design for this prospective user/user group.

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

By gathering all the detailed information together and group them into several hierarchical groups, I am able to understand that what are the common needs or problems that different users have. Because individuals vary in their concrete needs for a product or service, we as designers can hardly fulfil all their detailed requirements. But what w can do is to analyse what are the common user needs and fix this problem in our design.

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

This is a brand new technique for me. During this time, my difficulty mainly existed in how to group the detailed information pieces and think of a higher level to summarise the common problems. I later understood that this difficulty is partly caused by small amount of information we gathered. Next time I will find as much information as possible so that we can leave the concrete needs which are too special that cannot be grouped with others, only proceed with points that have similar content or topic with others.

by Xitong HUANG (xhua8250)

reflection for w1 _ xhua8250

In week 1 tutorial, we did several exercises to learn how to take notes by sketching.

The first exercise is to take pencil into a walk while listening to a poem, which I think is inspiring, that pencil drew our subconsciousness into various patterns.



The second exercise: draw things in an officeIMG_4328


third: use simple lines to draw persons with different emotionsIMG_4327


fourth: simple lines to draw people with objects indicating different activitiesIMG_4326


fifth and sixth: use sketching as a note tool (for a lecture and process flow)IMG_4324

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Sketching as a noting tool is more useful than words in expressing difficult ideas (that needs to be describe for a long paragraph of words), things related to movements, relations and directions. No grammar problems to be concerned in sketching. It is much free in organising the layout than in traditional note taking. And for visual artists and designers, it is of significance to learn how to express ideas using simple skeches.

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


  1. Easy to see the key point and sequences via the variation of layout.
  2. When sketching, we have to first understand the ideas before we think of the patterns, as a step of processing information. And it is easier for us to remember the ideas as we have already processed these information, while traditional noting may only writing down what we have heard without thinking.
  3. Visual communication is quicker than written one.


  1. Often writing is quicker than drawing an object down (especially when things can be written in abbr., like cpu).
  2. It is hard to use sketching to express abstract ideas for me, e.g. philosophy.
  3. When sketch noting in a lecture, we need to convert words into images which takes longer time than simply write these words down.
  4. May be hard for others to understand your own sketch.

Personal challenges as a sketch noter

  1. Speed: I cannot think of an image to represent an idea quick enough, which may lead to missing next key information.
  2. Organisation of the layout: it is hard to know how much do I need to sketch down on one single page, so I may not be able to utilise a page as good as in using traditional noting skill.

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