IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts Student

Blog Reflection 05: Tutorial 05 Ideating

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?

Actually, I have never used the method of taking the position of an Extreme User, but it really works. I admit it is a good way to explore my thinking, because that gives me a new perspective to think about the questions also user’s needs. Usually, I just consider user’s needs from common aspects therefore sometimes I will constraint myself. because I always tell me that the design should obey most people’s will and don’t make them strange. However, in this tutorial, I feel my thought just released and I became brave to hold some crazy idea, it is interesting, and fantastic thing is that many creations you never thought about just lied through it. It is also a good method to remind your interesting memory and ideas which you have forgot. Compared with my usual habit, the Extreme User method like to give me a new world and new way to think about some creative things, such method actually stimulate my thought and can make me see more potential area. It just like a rich resources overlooked from your brain. In addition, this tutorial also reminds me to think questions not only from questions themselves but also from questions’ relative areas (everything).

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?

Yes, I want to say the provocation cards will give me prompts to continue my thinking when I feel difficult to define a direction or my thought was too wide and ambiguous. Furthermore the provocation cards also a good tool to arise the awareness of category. I think that is a good method to help us make our thought easier. When I write a story, I just found more and more ideas will appear during this procedure, which I can’t come up with just by thinking. Therefore, I think stories just like sketch notes can help people create new ideas and also record them and make them useful in my story. Go through the collaboration, I think it is a process of mix of our ideas and produce some new again on base of former parts. It is a good method to generate all ideas and record them and make them in sequence. People always have a lot of thoughts but you will feel difficult to output them at once. Stories are good to way to remind your memories.




Research: Summary Poster


Feedback (Post-it notes)


Feedback from peers

1.Tell me more about the healthy food spoon.

2.Tell me more about the electric spoon.

3.Have you thought maybe some consumers have some negative opinions about “machine can change people’s senses”?

4. Have you thought about an alarm ring in the fridge to  remind people to eat food in time in each box?


Blog Reflection:Tutorial 04: Empathy and Defamiliarisation

a. Reflection listening

From this exercise, I think it is a good way to practice and improve your capacity of collecting information from user’s (interviewee). During this process, I conducted as an interviewer also as an interviewee. When I was an interviewer, I would be more carefully listen to the interviewee than before and make some simple notes, because I needed to paraphrase the interview content afterwards and get confirmation from my interviewee. In the process of listening reflection, I would organize the information again and conclude it from the interviewee’s perspective automatically. In order to make the restatement as similar as possible, sometimes, I will imagine I was the interviewee. I just found that the interviewee also be glad to add some new information during my reflection. In this point, I think such method helps researcher collect information more complete and real. In addition, it can also make researcher think from user’s perspective more deeply.

When I was an interviewee, I can get the listening reflection from my partner. During this course, I also learnt some new points. I just found the differences in conclusion between my partner and me. As for me, I just simply conclude the interview information briefly but for my partner, she would category for some problems. I think that is a good method to arrange thinking.

In conclusion, this exercise can actually practice the capacities of collecting information and thinking from user’s perspective in different ways.

b. Defamiliarisation of everyday reality

From the most common senses in daily life which are easily overlooked by people, we could also find some interesting moment. For me, when I waiting the bus, my thinking will skip among several memory moments (my friends, my food or my schools and so on). Furthermore, something can be discovered from physical feelings. We should admit that from these normal life scenes may actually hide some interesting aspects waiting us to explore it. From these section, I learnt we should explore and think about some unimpressive things carefully also. The creation which is closed to life may attract people more deeply.

Such exercise also makes me think functions and user demand of some infrastructures. I think it is a good way to experience the infrastructure and think again about its functions and insufficiency and explore some new creation to improve using experience.

c. Experience modelling

During this process, I will pay more attention to some places where I would ignore at ordinary time. I think it is a good approach to experience some new life which is totally unfamiliar. Something you cannot imagine when you just thinking by yourself. When you really cannot see everything clearly and feel really difficult to go upstairs you can find primary demands.

Overall, these activities teach me one thing as a whole, we cannot just think or imagine user’s need. We should take their experience as real as possible then we can truly think something from their perspectives.

Blog Reflection

Tutorial 03: Creating personas

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?

During the process of creating this persona, I found it is actual an interesting new way to gather people’s data. when we came cross different questions we using maps to define people’s different needs. It is more clear and easier to look. In this process, I also discover some special and funny habits(needs) from other group members. For example, I had never believed that a boy can go to supermarkets three or four times a week! What’s more, some one really like one supermarket just because of its trolleys! I should admit that there actually exists some new and special ideas from other people, which you cannot think about it. The step of gathering people’s different perspectives also very convenient because of maps. We can find the most common needs and get a composite conclusion.

However, I think 4 people are still not enough, because the base number is too small we cannot make sure that this persona can represent the most users. To more specific, if 2 of 4 people hold the similar interest but they truly come from the minority people which always with some special needs while another two people actual can represent the most people but in this interview they are regarded as the two simple cases cannot be concluded in the final persona. Therefore, we need more interviewees to avoid such mistakes and can conclude the people needs more complete.

I think it make a little sense to make a second persona, because the main aim to create personas is to design an applications can suit most users. Another persona may confuse the designer and make the application too complex. However, if some application has some spare rooms or want to have some additional functions, a second persona can stimulate designers for some new ideas.


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

I don’t think my persona can successfully generate empathy with users. because just like the former question, 4 people are not enough. Actually, the final persona in my group satisfied the half people’s needs but it does not fit me.

I think the following ways can improve the persona.

  1. Make more people to participate the interview.
  2. Divide the interviewees into groups by their background more detailed.
  3. Compare with personas from other groups with the same scenario IMG20160327212212IMG20160327212358IMG20160327212421IMG20160315205711

Tutorial 02: Interpreting data

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

This exercise let me get in touch with a new method called affinity notes to collect information and construct information. Such method does help us to get an deeper understanding from users’ perspectives. Because compared with other methods I used to contact with, the process of building an affinity diagram is divided into three stages which can help you collect any kinds of detail requirements of users from different conditions and then determine a finally overall design direction through layers of summery. Such process can get a conclusion which does be more empathy with prospective users compared with other methods, because all initial users’ data come from different individuals in the interpretation session and these information called affinity notes to build a affinity diagram. This diagram really reflects the needs from every user, because the affinity notes consider every requirement from different people facing different situations. Therefore, the information which can truly satisfy users’ needs from different aspects could be allowed to continue to build empathy with prospective users.


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

Through the clustering of information, let me understand the different requirements of users from their conversations. The information does not appear to be abstract but more specific.

After layers of summary, we will get general direction to define the users’ needs. Although the final direction is general, it is still to be very specific, since it really conclude a plenty of detail information to describe what the users really wants.

Therefore, the clustering of information does can help me understand the user needs in a deeper way.

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

The biggest challenge may happen at the first stage of summary. Too much detail information from various interviews seems trivial but important. We need to classify them into several bigger categories. During this process, we will be hesitated, considering over again or put them away temporally. Since we do not know how many categories will appear in the end, every initial information should be thought carefully, this process seems to be hard.

I think how to do it better partly depends on our experience. The more experience we have, the next time if we come across the same or similar information we can quickly have a reflection of their higher-up category. In addition, we can have more time and be more unhurried to think about some other special information(user needs). So the process may be easier.




Tutorial 01: Sketching as a thinking tool

How is this sketchnoting technique different to traditional note taking?

Compared with sketch notes, the traditional note taking may pay more attention to the written records, which means traditional words are more likely to use the some simple words, abbreviated forms and letter symbols to express the article meaning. For the process of sketch notes, it may more like a process of drawing a picture which comes from your brain and your mind. Therefore, the traditional notes just need people do a normal record and the outcomes from 50 people may be similar. However, the outcomes of sketchnotes from 50 people may totally different. Because words have their unified regulation but the images and shapes have not. The sketch notes may more likely to stimulate people’s creation and practice people’s ability of thinking since unlike words or letters, you need to create new shapes or images to express what you think.

So, we can conclude that these two kinds of noting have its own advantages and disadvantages and suit different kinds of works and situations.

The traditional notes may be suitable for some paperwork or official work, e.g. Translation. Because the aim of the notes is just for quick speed and original content and details.

The sketchnotes may suit some creative works such as design. Because during the process of drawing and create shapes, you will have more ideas make you to do more things you have never thought.

And some techniques of sketch notes in this tutorial make me get more understand of how to make a sketch note by using some simple shapes. The simple shapes actually can save a lot of time during my creation. In addition, the technique of Exercise 1 makes me feel the freedom of sketch notes which even make me surprised!

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

Just like what I said in the former question, the process of sketch notes can actually stimulate your idea and creations. After layers and layers of connections between different elements, you will always want to add news things in it which you cannot think about if you do not draw a sketch note.

However, new ideas cannot always keep for a long time. For my opinion, Doing sketch notes is a good way to encourage people to have some new ideas but it is not a good method to keep new ideas for a long time, because creative pictures have not their regulation or standards. Therefore someone’s sketch notes difficultly got understand by others if someone does not explain it. And for ourselves, if we do not take any other actions to keep the new idea after we created by sketch notes, there is high possibility that we may forget some new ideas by ourselves, especially for some details.

Personal challenges as a sketchnoter.

As for me, Firstly, I always feel hard to express my meaning totally by sketching. I always have a wonderful picture in my mind but it is very ambiguous, so i always wonder where shall I start my sketching.

Secondly, I cannot do some sketch notes quickly, therefore, it is always unavoidable to lose some information. But I think it is a normal thing.

Thirdly, building some different connections among different elements and make them sense to me. After some sketch notes, I will always find that WHAT A MASS!

Last but not least, the organization and layout of some sketch notes also are big challenges to me, which also include how to use the color suitable and beautiful. I think I can improve it by looking more samples and other good works or even reading some arts books(necessary).


An exercise in line quality




Step 1. Office




Step 2. Emotions


Step 3. Tasks



Step 1. Sketchnoting a conference talk.


Step 2. Sketchnoting a process


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