IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog reflection 09-Carol Liu(yliu2216)


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

    By using shots and scenes, I could consider the target users, device functions and user experiences in a more comprehensive and thoughtful way. When we needed to finish the “5W+1H” cards, we designed a storyline and a certain user with combined characteristics. By applying different shots in terms of close-up shots, over the shoulder shots and wild shots,etc., we defined different presenting styles and created a cosy environment for user,  we also analyzed the context for our design and decided how to process a more adorable and attractive user story. Those brand new methods help us to communicate our design concept in a visual, interesting and clear way, and we acquired a in-depth information of moulding a suitable user.

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

    We constructed our storyline mainly based on the functions provided by our design device. Our design concept aims to realize non-invasive blood detection for various users, especially the patients who got a iron deficiency anemia and diabetes. Therefore, we created a role who has an IDA with her baby and also diabetes herself, which means she can use the device for detecting both diseases. We designed a living room and the user is coming in, then every blood detection happened in this room, which offered a relaxing environment. After that, elaborate use flows were shown in the storyline, which were conducted by the user to examine herself and her baby, to embody the quick, convenient and clean detection experience. In the end, the harmony family showed up in the shot together. It is a quite common user story, a narrative one without surprises, which is more similar with a documentary film. By several days of digesting the methods of creating a story, I think we can do better if we involve some unexpected results, strong comparison or we change the order of story-telling, so that we can stimulate views’ interest and pay more attention to our design concept.

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

    The target objects of our design concept are the IDA and diabetic patients, the parents who have a IDA children and doctors, which means the film can be a serious one with a clear storyline to embody the advantages of non-invasive device. They are related because just like design a product, we need to acknowledge the requirements and needs of users, then provide user-centered products for them. Similarly, choosing style should also pay attention to the audience, and the device as well. We focus on medical field, means we would better to show a rigorous and precise user flow, we also need to trigger the memories of potential users who have existed problem and then stimulate their unfolded needs.img_5489

Blog reflection 08-Carol Liu(yliu2216)


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

I chose toilet paper to interact and observe. Actually, in the beginning, I just thought I can use it in both bathroom and kitchen, but both for cleaning use. Then I tried to observe it in different angles and I found new affordance. What about I use them separately? There is a hole in the middle of toilet paper, and as for this paper tube, I assume that things can be insert into it. I can fix it to be a pen container, or I can also consider it as a charger wire manager. Meanwhile, the toilet paper can also be used with pen to draw pictures.

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.

I used cling wrap to firm toilet paper and bowl together. When redefine the affordance of objects, I realized that people have a common recognition of objects mainly because shape, texture and other non-visual properties of them. Therefore, if we make some changes on properties, we can endow them new affordance. Depending on the customary thinking pattern and former experience, people can accept new affordance easily. As a designer, I am inspired that we need to explore and better utilize affordance when creating products, so that we can do more to make user think less and operate instinctively. This tutorial also reminds me of a Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, one of his product series dedicated to fulfill unconscious design for the public. Both in product design and interaction design, we need to provide consumer products that they know how to use as the first glance.


Blog reflection 07-Carol Liu(yliu2216)

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

As user (task1 Sydney Opera House)

User observation

In the task one, it took me a long time to find the event but then I book tickets quickly. In fact, I was a little embarrassed when I couldn’t locate the event and I eventually got it using searching with observer’s reminding. Therefore, I thought I must have some different expression on my face, like frown, lack of patient. However, my observer commented that I just had a poker face. In this case, I think although non-verbal behavior is a important part of usability testing, but not quite useful with the person who is not good at express their emotion and physical behavior superficially.


It is a quite common way to evaluate usability. When I was doing the think-aloud, I tried my best to keep talking and verbalize what was happening internal to me, like ‘I am looking at menu’, ‘I think I need to scroll down to see if I can find the event’, etc. But it was not easy to describe everything, since my thoughts always went faster than my words.

As evaluator

User observation

Observing and note-taking simultaneously is quite a challenge for me, especially when users were facing difficulties to move on and felt confused about what they need to do, they would have different posture and facial behavior. Therefore, during these period, I was prone to miss some non-verbal feedback while I was marking on the sheet. Fortunately, video recording helped me a lot to review and recheck the results. In addition, I think it is important to be familiar with the form before user observation, so that I can pay more attention on observation.


It is easier for me to do note-taking for verbal comments than facial expression. My users seemed to be really experienced about think-aloud, which means they kept talking all the time and gave comments appropriately. During think-aloud, in order not to confuse the user, evaluator also need to give concrete sub-tasks at right time.

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

User observation like non-verbal behaviors are useful when user facing difficulties, we can easily observe their expressions like frowning, grimacing, and we can also recognize whether they have some different posture. But it is hard to observe when users don’t have enough expressions and postures.

Think-aloud requires user to keep talking, which is sometimes hard for the participants to really adhere. When user forget to say something important, observers can’t recognize what the user is thinking about.

However, both techniques are easy to conduct to receive a large amount of feedback without high cost.

Blog reflection 06-Carol Liu(yliu2216)


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

Physically acting helped us to experience a real situation. Because we chose the topic about sleeping in airplanes, we acted as passengers and tried to sleep. Not to imagine the situation, but simulate we are in a same environment, where there are crying babies, the person sitting beside you always move around, etc. During this process, we, as designers, experienced in a  sentimental way rather than rational analysis, which is helpful to explore useful ideas.

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

Definitely we used that. In the beginning, we came up with many existed and potential problems, and then body-storming helped us to verify them. I, as the person who was in charge of taking pictures, I asked my group members to play different roles and observed them. In fact, I was sometimes stimulated and influenced by their acting, which made me realize that the problem like lack of private space was much more severe than I thought before.

3. What was difficult or challenging about body-storming?

There are both difficulties and challenges in body-storming. In terms of difficulties,  I do think it would be better if we can have some airline seats, back cushion and other equipment like lighting equipment to make a more real environment. As for our classmates, acting as passengers is a challenge of body-storming, it is somewhat reserved anyway.

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

It is undoubted that body-storming is a good method to get real experience and generate empathy, but when it comes to the projects which focus on unfamiliar situations, there will be some limitations of it in terms of  recognition and simulation.

Blog reflection 05-Carol Liu(yliu2216)


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?

Our group chose the romantics and I pretended to be a extreme user, who has a romantic name and always wants to kiss his boyfriend using payphone. Because behind the extreme user is that in stead of thinking in a general way for common users, I needed to consider about small probability event. Every time I came up with an idea, I had to ensure whether it closely relates to romance. It is different from the way that usually used to generate ideas. Compared with universal users,  empathy of extreme users is harder to get, digging potential expectations and exploring latent demands can improve design usability.

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?

Stories and storyboards helped us a lot, especially in terms of combining and synthesizing ideas from whole group, which also present our ideas in a much more interesting way. During creating the storyboard, we constantly refine our thoughts and eventually finished a emotional payphone booth.  However, I don’t think design provocation cards are really useful. Although we tried them in the beginning, the word we chose randomly failed to further our ideas.


Poster_Yuyan Liu_yliu2216

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