IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Blog Reflection 8 HALV5836

Blog Reflection 8 

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

User. Something that I already knew and experienced before, the library website is not that user-friendly. My task was to find a paper from a Journal. I tried to follow the steps from the evaluator but the main difficulty was to find which category architecture belong to. I believe having the most-used subcategories will be helpful, instead of trying to guess to which subject architecture belongs.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.46.55 PM

Evaluator. One insight that I found was that Websites have different ways or paths that get you to the wanted place. For instance, in the buy tickets task, there are different ways to do it. One of the easiest is to use the search bar that most pages have on the top-right corner. Unfortunately, most of the time, content is not well indexed and those kind of searches won’t work.  As an evaluator I could notice the frustration my user had by this kind of issues.

  • What aspects of the technique worked well or were frustrating?

User. As a user, thinking aloud helped me to get less frustrated and organise my thoughts before saying something. That helped me somehow to get the task done faster. On the other side, I felt slightly intimidated by my friend’s camera but after a while I forgot about it.

Evaluator. It helped me realise people have very diverse approaches for a problem. Before, I had never ‘evaluated’ the way a friend surfs the web. After doing so, I realised I would had taken a different direction. This was quite surprising, especially, considering the similarities we have in age and background. Hence, it is completely important to have a very diverse and wide range of user evaluations before launching a product.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.47.09 PM

Blog Reflection 7 HAL5836

Blog Reflection 7

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 selected a big spatula which I use to flip my sandwiches. It is made from plastic and stainless steel on the top. I can say, I use it quite often and before this exercise, I hadn’t realised all the different affordances it has. There are two possible explanations for that, some of its affordances are hidden or I don’t pay enough attention. To solve this issue, I asked my partner if after analyzing my object he could notice some of the affordances I missed. He did find the same affordances but only after observing the object carefully.

For instance, there is a concave part at the handle to place your thumb. This helps holding the spatula and even though it was a hidden affordance for me, I use it as it was intended to be used. My insight is that, hidden affordances are desirable when people use them, even if they are not aware of them. It means that you can have a well-design object with minimalistic look but great usability.


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.
One particular thing that caught my attention was analysing the objects with the blindfold on. I noticed how I paid more attention to textures, and transitions of materials when I couldn’t use my eyes. Even some apparently hidden affordances became perseptive to me. While designing for blind people, materials and textures are one of the most important elements.  It could be an obvious realisation yet sometimes overlooked. Another realisation was the importance of colours in design. Not only for the aesthetic or emotional response, but also for usability matters. When I cover the statula’s handle with aluminium foil, it was hard to distinguish where the handle starts due to the similarity of colours from aluminium and steel.   


Blog Reflection 6 HALV5836

Blog Relection 6

  • How did physically acting out help to explore ideas? 

While brainstorming, my group and I overlook different situation due to the fact it was more difficult to imagine different situations by being passive rather than “Acting” them.

In specific situations like redefining the sleeping experience in airplanes, it is a great method to pretend to be the user and see what are the difficulties the user might come across.

I believe, in cases where physical space is involved, bodystorming should be included into the idea generation process.

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

Definitely. By brainstorming as a first step, we had some ideas to star off and test them through bodystorming. Some of the ideas were refined or completely put away from the solutions. For instance, by offsetting the seats from the rows, we avoided the discomfort of standing up to let the next seat person sit. But in the end, the capacity of the airplane would be reduced.

  • What was difficult or challenging about bodystorming? 

Trying to find objects to make our set more believable for the actors. One of the key factors to find unseen problems is to act like a prospective user. For that, you need to replicate the scenario as real as you can. With other people from other groups doing the same exercise, it was difficult to immerse in the character.

  • Does bodystorming lend itself to certain types of problems?

I cannot think of any. Probably, finding a solution through bodystorming and testing it into a real scenario and finding out that the problem is still there could be one of the problems. It is important to replicate the gist of the background where the design should take place or be used.

20150901_202257 (1)

halv5836_Assessment 1 -01

Blog Reflection 5 HALV5836

Blog Reflection 5

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? 

Definitely. I usually generate ideas from my perspective and point of view. Taking the position of an extreme user helped me to have a different approach and identify in an easier way, behaviors from this kind of users. By “getting out of my skin” I generated empathy with my user and eliminated part of my bias from being myself. I tried to understand him and see what did he feel and what were his needs. In the end, I believe the extreme user would like our design solution.

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, the provocation cards were really useful when creating the narrative for my extreme user (money-spinners). Whenever I was struggling with ideas for my narrative, I pulled a provocation card. That helped me to change the course of my narrative or come up with different input that I wouldn’t have thought. of

After completing my narrative, I shared it with the group and listened to other people’s narratives. As a group, we came up with a single narrative incorporating key elements from all the narratives and made the storyboard.

By having the narrative in a visual form, it was easier to see what our design look like and how we could improve it. I believe it would be a nice practice to return to the narrative, modify some elements and create the storyboard again.


Blog Reflection 4 halv5836

Blog Reflection 4


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?

Even though some demographic information was similar. For instance, gender, range of age and background, we couldn’t make a single persona from the input of the four of us. We did find a lot of similar needs and preferences from two members of the group. Taking that as a starting point, we created the first persona. Frequency, time spent and transportation were some of the common variables of the two members.

For the second persona, we took some of the patterns of the group and tried to see what other people with the same background need. I believe the first persona was stronger in terms of representing a distinctive potential user.

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

I believe the first persona was stronger. After analysing all the variables, we could see some patters from two members of our group. It might be coincidence, but it felt like the persona we created represented more than the needs of our two members. In order to improve our first persona, it will be perfect to interview more people with the same demographic of the two members and analyse the variables again to look for patterns and trends.


Blog Reflection 3 halv5836

Blog Reflection 3 


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

First, I believe the questions of the interviewer were accurate. When the interviewer though something was interesting, he/she asked more about it. I had empathy with the user, but also with the interviewer. When analysing the interview from the user perspective, I felt and understood his needs and concerns. But when analysing the interview from the interviewer i could also get why he/she was asking those questions. I learnt how to build empathy with prospective users thanks to the whole interview, that includes the user and the interviewer

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

At the beginning, everything was scattered and didn’t make sense. I believe, I got valuable information in the yellow post-its but there was a lack of organization or order. Then, I tried to find which post-its had some connection in between and whether that connection was important to make a category. I realized I had some cluster post-its that were not relevant to the user needs and other post-its that were left out but were relevant.
What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

The difficult part was getting rid of other ideas that at the beginning I thought were relevant. However,  after analysing all the input as a whole, I realized those ideas weren’t that insightful or connected somehow with others. Somo yellow post-its were let apart because I couldn’t find them a category at the beginning. After I realized that, I tried to get back and add more yellow post-its to set up a new category because I thought I needed to get more input about that area.
How would you do it better next time?

I believe, I will try to be more open about getting as much ideas as I can at the early stage. Representing in a simple way needs and issues rather than important concepts. Taking that way, I could get a bigger collection of data and then, reflect and see what are the connections in between. I believe the yellow post-its are about quantity rather than quality an as you move to blue and pink, it starts to get more insightful and connected.



Blog Reflection 2

How is this technique different to the traditional note taking?

Traditional note taking is something intuitive. Everybody has their own style when it comes to taking notes. That is perfectly fine but, as an intuitive method, I had never analyzed the way I take notes. It was something natural for me and, most of the times, overlooked. Especially taking notes with a pen and a paper. After this tutorial I realized how important it is to sketch and transform your abstract ideas into something more “real”. For me, note taking is divided into two categories; to sketch and land ideas, and as a technique to study a certain topic or problem. The first category is quite important as a designer. Sometimes, when talking to a client and listening to their needs, note taking is one of the best approaches to translate what you hear into what you understand and receive immediate or fast feedback. The second category is quite useful to understand and make synopsis for a topic. Traditional note taking does not involve any method in particular. It is just intuitive. After the tutorial, I have been using the radial structure to take notes and I find it pretty useful. For what I learnt, structure is the key, having the structure well defined, it is easier to input data and get better insights.  

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

Ideas are more than just words, when we think about something,  we barely see words and text, we see images of concepts and thoughts.  Sketching and taking notes is a great way to communicate abstract ideas. It is certainly more effective than just words.  On the other hand, sketching is not easy. Translating one idea into a sketch could be challenging. It takes experience and time. Even when the maker of the sketch is satisfied, it could be quite subjective for other people. That is why sketching especially for somebody else should be accompanied with some written or spoken communication.

Personal challenges as a sketchnoter. 

I have an engineering bachelor degree and making sketches was something uncommon for me. Most of the time, my work consisted in very analytical and numerical solutions. Therefore, making sketches was not a part of my life. Now I am realizing how important this technique is.  Sketching for another person could be very challenging; especially because of the lack of time I have spent in this technique. Making better and more understandable drawings and sketches is definitely one of my top priorities now.



blog reflection 01

  1. How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

Engaging with a real person changed the direction of my prototype mainly due to one big reason, feedback. By asking him different question and digging deeper I could define in a way what the problem was, and be able to come up with more accurate solutions for the user. For me, feed back came up by listening carefully to him, asking him the right questions and watching his body language.

  • 2)  What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

I felt ok because though I could not finish my prototype as I wanted, I managed to explain my solution through my unfinished prototype. Because the user already knew the time was limited I didn’t have to apologize, it was an external factor that I couldn’t control.

  • 3)  As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

As a user I was satisfied because I could get the idea and concept of the solution. It would have been better to have a finished prototype but I could notice that most of the things I said to my partner were included in his prototype.

  • 4)  Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I would keep asking question in a way to discover the real reason of the given answer. It is not only the answer what is important, most of the time, the motivation or what is behind the answer is what matter the most.

If I could go back,  I would love to have more time to analyze in a more critical way the answers the user gave me , in order to make a better prototype. I would also like to finish my prototype and see the reaction of my partner.

  • 5) What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

Having an interview with the user and asking him the right questions. Involving the user more in the creative process and going back to improve the prototype several times after receiving the feedback from the user.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑