IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind




Q1. How did thinking in terms of shots and scenes influence your approach to communicating your design concept?

From my point of view, I think shots and scenes would influence what we want to express in some way. Because our design concept is about community relations. And we choose international students as the target group. When we develop our concept, we may use some slow shots to show the character’s lonely feeling. And we consider some scenes like airport could reflect international students who start their lives of studying abroad.


Q2. What motivated your choice of storyline structure? Can you think of an exemplar from a film that uses the same structure?

Because our main character in this storyline is one international student, we may use some inner monologues to express some changes of his mental activities. One example is this film: The hours. One main character in this film is called Virginia, who has experienced several nervous breakdowns and suffers from bipolar disorder (Wikipedia, 2016). So in this movie, one screen is about her farewell that using inner monologue.


Q3. What choices did you make about audience and style? Were they related?

I think our audience are some international students who has experienced some negative emotions as well. The style is to make audiences strike a chord. They are related and they together influenced process of our design concept.



Wikipedia. (2016). The hours. Retrieved from:





Q1. 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 toothpaste. At the very beginning, I think it can only be used for us to clean our teeth. But this exercise let us to think if we change it from bathroom to kitchen or bedroom, whether it will have some more affordances. And I thought if I put it into the kitchen, I could use it clean bowls, pots or other things. If I put it in the bedroom, I could use it to clean the corner of drawers.

 Q2. 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. 

-Sometimes people cannot use some parts of body to control or complete something, so they need to rely on some objects that can help them. So some connections are created. For examples, the toothpaste I chosen, I want to rebuild a connection between People and kitchen, so I used aluminum foil to cover its appearance, and added an arc parts in its head. Then it was changed as a big spoon or spatula.

-Inspirations comes from our daily life. When we want to solve some problems, we would get inspirations easier. As a designer, I think he can think the affordances as different angles. Apart from object’s original property, change its weight, shape, volume may create some affordances.



Q1. What kinds of information and insights did it give you about the usability of the prototype?

User observation:


Expressions on my face can reflect my satisfactions. I need to complete tasks by the instructions on the paper, but it maybe not clear sometimes. And the evaluator may talk to me to give me some guidance if he has ideas.


In the process of usability test, evaluator need to observe, record and measure users’ effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction aspects of completing tasks. This technology could accurately feedback users’ performance and their needs. Time users used can reflect the difficulty of the task in some way.

Think aloud:


When I did the test, I can interact with the real products. And I just said what I thought and my experiences directly. I pointed out some error or confused areas need to be corrected directly as well.


As an evaluator, if users cannot complete the test path, I will consider that this may be because the system design does not meet user expectations. In addition, it also makes me rethink why users would have this behavior and further consider some other aspects of the prototype’s usability.


Q2. What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

-User observation:

Advantages: Observer does not patriciate in the test, which could ensure the objectivity of results. No special equipment requirement, I just need to sit next to the user, observing and recording his performance.

Disadvantage: If the number of users is small, the result may exist occasionally, which cannot completely reflect all situations.

-Think aloud:

Advantage: This technology is convincing, which reflects users’ real reactions of the prototype.

Disadvantage: The number of users may influence results of test as well.





Some comments on my poster.


Q1.How did physically acting out help to explore ideas?

In this week’s tutorial class, we used this way to work out some solutions for one problem. Doing bodystoming helped better to observe some situations in the scenarios. People in this scenarios would instinctively take some actions, which made us easily to explore ideas. And inspired us to find something that we did not notice before.

Q2. Did you refine your ideas and solutions to the problem through bodystorming? In what way?

By observation, I found that people’s emotion is a good direction that deserved to explore ideas, but I did not pay attention to before.

By summarizing, I found that solutions may aim at not only existing problems but also expected needs.

Q3. What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming?

Compared with brainstorming, bodustorming has more limitations. Because it relies on practical situation, many solutions worked out through bodystorming would be very normal, not creative.

Q4. Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I think bodystorming is suitable for solving some problems existed in our daily lives. But it cannot solve some problems which are high technological.


summary report-zhwu9513.jpg


Q1. 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?
-Extreme User helps to consider aspects of design challenge of what we want to explore to an extreme. This could make us get some new inspirations and uncover insights.
-Yes, it’s different from what I usually generate ideas and empathy. Normally, I just need to observe behaviors of the majority of users. Extreme user makes me notice that some specific users cannot be ignored as well.

Q2. 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, these design thinking techniques helps me a lot. Design provocation cards can provide some new thoughts. Stories can expand and develop ideas. And these thinking techniques make ideas become easy understood to exchange with group members.



Briefly reflect on the lessons learnt from each exercise

(a) Reflective listening
In my opinion, as a listener, I think I still need to guide the direction of the interviewee sometimes. And I need to write down some key words of what the speaker’s saying. From a mindful speaker, I can learn think in some different aspects as well. Talking is a good way of empathy.

(b) Defamiliarisation of everyday reality
Actually, originality and inspiration both are from the everyday reality. From this exercise, I realize that I should pay more attention to the details in our daily life. And set up the connections based on these observations.

(c) Empathic modelling
This exercise is a new experience for me to perceive in a different way. When I can’t see something clearly, my other senses would be sensitive. And I must to rely on other characteristics to distinguish something. Sound is really a good point to help me perceive the circumstance around us but we always ignore.

BLOG REFLECTION 03-zhwu9513  (click it to see our group persona in the week 3 tutorial class)

Q1.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?
-When creating a persona, we need to try our best to combine different interviewers’ needs. Because all of us are students and are at the similar ages, we have many general characteristics on motivations and opinions. It is not difficult for us to build a virtual character.
-I think four people are enough that can form one coherent persona. They would have diverse genders, cultural backgrounds and so on. So just synthesize the most representative features of them, then add some similar needs based on that can form a persona. And in my opinion, if the product is customized for some specific customers, two or three personas are suitable.

Q2. 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 meets the requirements of empathy with users generally. For considering the virtual character’s occupation, we simulate her feelings, motivations that she may have. And the problems that she may face.
-Because the persona is not a real person, it does not exist in the reality. The real users’ needs would depend on many factors. Considering more circumstances can make it better.

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