IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog reflection09_XZHA3946

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

By thinking of shots and scenes helped me to improve how to address my design concept to the audience. The purpose of making a video is to promote your design ideas in a visual way. At the stage of planning storyboard of shots and scenes, this progress will take into account every aspect of my design concept.  Just like developing an idea, planning shots and scenes is another process to reevaluate my design concept.

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

Our group took iPod advertisement video as an example of our storyline structure. We come to a conclusion that using color contrast to emphasize the product just like the iPod advertisement video. By using this technique, we want the audience to focus on the product and ideas themselves.

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

Since our target audience is the teenage group, we decided our video style should be more vivid, a variant use of light color and motions.

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

The object I chosen is a digital clock. My initial understanding of this object is just a digital clock despite that could not hang on the wall. Since it’s supposed to be placed on the desk which has a  close distance me, I think this object could do more than just showing the time. For example, could be a portable music player via Bluetooth.

  • Given that affordances are 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 manipulation process includes wrapping the digital clock with aluminum foil.  It’s a solid rectangular block shape and could look like anything. Maybe a unboxed chocolate bar. This totally changed the affordances of this object. I think work with affordances as a designer is crucial. Using this method allow us to take a design to the origin and basic.

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


By switching between three different roles, I think the role of observer inspired me a lot. I found out the expression sheet is a helpful tool while observing the user. Without the sheet, I discovered difficult to take down notes about user’s behavior, which includes both verbal and non-verbal behaviors. The expression sheet provides an extensive selection of user’s behaviors which helped me to save time on taking down notes and pick up more detail information.


What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?


Like said above, the expression sheet is a great method to use because it saves observer time on taking down notes and focus the user on obtaining more information.  Additionally, I think observation overall is a great method because user’s non-verbal action is essential for evaluation.

Thinking aloud is the method which frustrating me a lot. Because it relies on user’s willingness to participant in the test. If the task is overall smooth and had no major issues, It might be difficult for the user to provide any meaningful ideas. This also depends on the personality of the test user, some user prefers to talk about more, and some don’t. When facing test user that speaks less, observation is a better technique to work with rather than thinking aloud.

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How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

Physically acting out helped us to generate ideas in a realistic situation. In this way, we are thinking as a target user which I think the ideas are more helpful and realistic. Unfortunately due to limit space of the room and tools, the physically acting scenario did not help a lot.


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

The body storming did not refine a lot our ideas and solutions to the problem in our case. I think one of the reason is that because we did had a long brain storming chat which resulted in a well-constructed ideas and solution. As such our body storming did not generate any new ideas nor solutions.


What was difficult or challenging about body storming?

There are few challenges we faced about body storming. First, it’s very difficult to follow up on ideas that we generated during brain storming stage. I think a moderator in the group would be helpful to make body storming goes more smoothly. Second, like said in the question 1, body storming quires tools and spaces to make the physical acting more realistic. But what we had in the room was limited, so the actual outcome of body storming was not very useful.


Does body-storming lend itself to certain types of problems?

Yes.  Body storming requires more assumption of the case than brain storming. For the case of improving doctor’s waiting room, some of our group members did not have this experiences which lead to difficulties in physically acting out. I think body storming should be used in a later stage to test and evaluate our ideas and solutions.

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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?

I think by taking the position of an extreme user helps our thinking in relation to the design challenge. Extreme user provides a more realistic environment for thinking the possibility of the product. By involve into the extreme user character, I found out it’s easier to generate ideas and feel empathy to the user. It’s a new method for me to work to user’s needs. However, extreme user often requires specific needs that do may not be same as the general public. As such, I think creating more extreme user may improve this issue.

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?

The design provocation cards did help me to fill up my extreme user’s information, such as occupation, personality. I think these cards can help us in the beginning stage of creating an extreme user.
Storyboards is also another very helpful tool to use when I work through my ideas. As I try to draw my future payphone on the storyboards, I found out I constantly check and change the detail of the payphone. Because it’s visually represent in front me, I’m paying more attention to the detail of the product, such as the size of the speaker, where should it be located.

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Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

a.Reflective listening

I felt comfortable as being a listener as it’s my nature. I felt interesting to listen to others about their experiences. But it’s also challenging to keep the conversation going as it depends how you interact with others. On the other hand, I did not expect too much on my role as a speaker as I rarely speak a lot. But in the end it was surprisingly turned out how long I was able talk about the topic we chose.  Overall after this exercise I found out neither speaking nor listening is an easy role to do as both requires to thinking and processing data in a short of time.

b.Refamiliarization of everyday reality

For train station platform video, I did not felt a lot except boredom. Sydney train service is one of worst transportation I have ever experienced and disliked. One of main reason is because of the limited scenery from the train window which leads to extreme boredom. The view is either underground or bush plant, nothing interested me. For the bus video, I have a complete different emotion on taking a bus. Since bus has a better scenery view than train, I felt interesting to watch what is passing on me and things on the street through window. I think this exercise allow us to take further deep understanding of the functioning of transport in a human-centered perspective.

c.Empathic modelling

This was a quite familiar exercise for me, or for people who wearing glasses. Especially during rainy day, I have to take off my glasses and clean it while walking. It’s the same situation as watch things through cling wrapped glasses or phone. From experience, by see things blurry, it’s an instinct to identify large or common object first. Instantly color and shape become the two important criteria to identify object.

Blog Reflection 03 _xzha3946

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?

Since our group member’s demographic data are quite similar, there is enough commonality to form a coherent persona on go to cinema. I believe if we take interview in a real situation, it would be much harder and challenging to form a persona. For this exercise, I think it’s not necessary to create a second different persona as we only had 4 interviews with limit of time. But if we had larger amount of data and more specific topic to work on, it may make more sense 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 was quite simple in generating empathy with users. We only found out two main commonalities that is what makes you want to go watch a movie and complains about the services. I think this limitation is due to the length of interviews, similar demographic data and small interviewee group.

Blog reflection 02_xzha3946

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

Interview sometime could be really long and hard to obtain useful information. This exercise helped me to pick up key points from the interview quickly, and organize these information in a systematic way.

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

This method helped me to summaries information quickly especially by sharing your ideas with group members. In this way we could easily arrange various perspective into a few general core needs from the user. It would helpful for designer to carry out further deep research.

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

1.Collecting information from the interview could be difficult and take longer time to finish.
2.Definitely by write down more yellow post it note will help this technique go smoothly.
3.When arranging the yellow notes, sometime these notes could be overlapping or meaning same needs of the user.
4.Limit the duration of interview and try to carry out more interviews.


Blog Reflection 01_xzha3946

1.How is this sketchnoting technique different to the traditional note taking?

The traditional note taking generally is based on a text format and layout is top-down straightforward. Sketchnoting is challenging as it requires user to process ideas from text into visual format while taking note. In other words, user has to have some basic knowledge of drawing in order to help them sketch quickly. Otherwise user could easily loosing focus.

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

This visual approach allows user to deliver ideas in a short of time and grab audience attention in a more powerful method especial during first appearing. The down side of this visual approach is it could deliver different understanding to audience that is not what user expect. Just like words could have multiple definition, sketch could also be interpret into different meaning.

3.Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

As a non-art student, the biggest problem I faced is to process words into visual format. Even I managed to get the sketch done, it usually takes longer time than tradition note taking and lost focus on the presentation. The second problem I faced is manage the layout. Unlike tradition note taking, sketchnoting is free. I found out it’s difficult manage the space while sketchnoting.

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