IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 2 Reflection

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

The interviews helped me not only identify and understand the user’s needs, wants and motivations it also helped me identify areas of potential need.

In being able to read through their experiences the common themes were things that we could all relate to in our way of thinking about experiencing new things vs being comfortable and set in our ways. It helped to understand areas of weakness and strength and mirror them with life experiences we might have had to form an association with the user and understand the roots of their needs and actions by being able to understand the emotionalIMG_20160803_202538 IMG_20160803_202534 13844295_10154026594369635_1330749998_o IMG_6642 components of their successes, difficulties, and priorities when experiencing travel and family.

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

The clustering of information allowed us to identify common areas of need and highlighted some areas we may not have been able to clearly identify quickly without undergoing the exercise. It allowed us to form a more concrete picture of how certain needs impact experiences and thoughts around things like technology, personal habits, encountering new things etc.

The end result was a much stronger identification of user need in to clear areas to then focus on how we might meet those needs or provide innovative thinking around servicing or bettering initial ideas about what the user might require given a set of scenarios or experiences.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? 

The main challenge I found was using the right language in conveying and grouping need. Language is really important to get right when grouping and I found it hard to fit the right language to a group of needs.

The other thing I found particularly difficult was mixing a number of people’s different ideas on post it notes as some people tended to focus on certain things which may not have been so need oriented or were general observations. So grouping those was tricky because the underlying need wasn’t clearly identified on the post it so it made it difficult to fit it into a given group or even a new grouping on its own.

I don’t feel like there was enough time to complete the exercise in the tute and even with the walk around enough explanation of why some people’s were better than others and a discussion/review of what went well and didn’t in the exercise. I would have liked the tutors to sum up some of the key strengths/weaknesses from the groups but there simply wasn’t enough time.

How would you do it better next time?

Take more time to be clearer with language and take more time to understand every post it should link back to a need and re-write/re-think the categorisation.


Tutorial 5: Ideating


How did taking the position of an Extreme User influence your thinking in relation to the design challenge?

Having to place myself in a position of such a specific, extreme character pushed me to think outside the box, outside of what I personally would love to see in the design of a product.  Instead, I had to imagine what this character, a Trekkie, would want in a product based on her background, interests and goals.  We have to think of features that are very specialized and kind of out there, that might seem to only satisfy these extreme users but could actually inspire some interesting innovations.

Was it different to how you usually generate ideas and empathy?

It was very different because normally we’d either generate ideas based on our own wants and needs or, if we’re thinking of other potential users, we’d base it on common denominators in order to get to the features or characteristics that would satisfy the wants and needs for the majority of the base.  In this exercise, we kind of did the opposite, which again could result in something a wider user base would want.  Even when I did the reading, looking at daily planner designs for the drug dealer and the pope I thought “these are actually pretty cool.”

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?

Definitely.  We tried to come up with characters that are part of the same extreme user group but also had distinct backgrounds and personalities.  It forces us to consider a greater diversity within this user group rather than make sweeping generalizations based on the initial keyword.  When we came up with the stories, we also had fun thinking of ways these characters would interact with each other (and in a more concrete way once we reached the storyboard phase) and, as such, how that affects the needs of the design.



Blog for Week 5/ Ideation/ yliu7890

  • 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 users are a different group from the user group of the product to be designed. But it helps to discover the hidden features- sometimes the hidden needs and wants- of the user group. This is because extreme users are developed to exaggerate certain aspects of the user group, and are put into scenario settings where the products might exist. As a designer, I tend to be inspired by such a scenario, and can openly think about new ideas for this particular exaggerated character. Then I may find that the idea is very likely to be welcomed by the general user group as well.

I used to first think about the needs and wants of the user group, but as I discussed above, some needs and wants are hidden. Like MP3, before it existed, no one would think about wanting a tool to store music and carry it everywhere. The needs were generated after seeing the product. So extreme user can help discover hidden needs.

  • 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?

Design provocation cards, as how the name tells, work pretty well in provoking new ideas from thin air. Those cards and the phrases on them are random and disconnected, so they can give you a new angle to think about the design idea.

Stories make me think through the idea in real life settings, and then help me realizing missing parts of my design. Before composing narratives, the idea is general and function-based, but after the story development I find when a user truly use the product, some other features should be involved to make the design more feasible.

Storyboards are most helpful in communicating the idea with group members. Also, in the process of visualizing, some others features are figured out, such as the appearance of the product, and the environment around it.

Design Project Group

Calling Brilliant Minds

If you haven’t thought about what group to be in for the Design Project, now is the time.

We are looking for a third person with strong research skills and an eye for detail to join our project group. The ideal candidate will be familiar with creative software and web tools. Some background knowledge of filmmaking is desirable, but not imperative.

We’d ask you in person, but you may have noticed that we’re very shy guys and our English is not so good. Personally, I haven’t uttered a single word in class yet. Our group currently consists of myself (Michael Tsimnadis) and Armando Breton. Armando is a talented designer and well-versed in graphics and 3D packages. He runs a four-man creative studio of his own in Mexico City and is all about getting the job done well and done on time. My strengths lie in communication skills, asset creation and time management. I run my own business offering digital and social media consultancy to SMB’s and have worked as an editor (both text and video), copywriter and designer in various capacities for 15 years.

Website Capture
Here is a glimpse into my level of organisation. I have already created a project management website on Sharepoint with a common space for documents, tasks, group notes etc., with Stage 1 of Assignment 2 already allocated tentative completion dates for subtasks and all other stages and tasks preloaded and ready to go.

Anyone who is interested, should stay back after class for a few minutes for a chat. Even if you don’t necessarily want to join our group, you might want to stay back and organise a group of your own. See you in class.

Week 2 Exploring Materials, Reflection

Carlos Mardones Del Solar

Different materials = different objectives

A prototype doesn’t need to represent all the characteristics from the object we want to design. Some materials are better for expressing shapes, others textures, weight, scale, color, and so on. Depending on what we want to express, the material we’ll going to choose.

We demonstrate with this exercise that we can use any material reachable for doing a prototype. For instance, if I am at a cafe telling a story, some idea to a partner, I could do some sketches over a napkin which will be helpful for understanding the idea. It even gives the opportunity for my partner to take a pen and draw some doodles over mine.

Changing materials helped me to improve the original idea. To begin with, the cardboard. Although the result was very rough, within a few minutes we could do several tests. After that, we added the use of scissors, where we could improve the ideas we liked best. The third material, pipe cleaners. It allowed the development of 3D models at high speed. And finally, tooth pics with tape. I found this complex and slow, I prefer the more flexible materials which going back was not frustrating. At this early stage of the design process, the cleaner pipes were my favorites, they gave me a quick virtual shape of the object which allowed me to re-prototype over it self. It was helpful for going back and forward the times that I needed.

After all prototypes, I went back to the drawing. It was difficult to design without interacting with the user. Next time I will invite Maggie Simpson to give me her feedback and together we will co-create her chair.

Captura de pantalla 2015-03-16 a la(s) 23.27.01

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