User Experience In Design Group Project 20/03/17

Group members:

Chua Qi Wei Valerie, Fong Hin Wai, Jordyn Khoo, Kerin Ng

Group statement:

Our group is keen on the topic of recycling and how a product (physical or intangible) would help to foster new habits that can facilitate the act of recycling. Inspired our experiences abroad on an exchange semester previously at various destinations: Canada, Chicago and Taiwan, we observed how different cultures and habits resulted in different perception towards recycling. Through the project, we hope to come up with an innovative yet intuitive design approach to encourage people in Singapore to recycle, while fulfilling an educational stance.

In order to come up with an appropriate and relevant design idea, our group has decided to first proceed with first-hand account research. We intend to engage in both online surveys as well as in depth interviews after. Firstly, an online survey of 100 people would be carried out to collect information about the recycling habits, so as to better understanding the recycling situation in Singapore. A desired age range would be chosen from the survey as the target audience of our design challenge. An initial design brainstorming session will then be carried out,  by administering design thinking to find out what are the possible solutions that will best target the needs of the people. In-depth interviews would also be carried out to further clarify our queries and extract data to finalize our design solution. Following the interviews, subsequent actions would involve prototyping, bodystorming and refinement of the design solution.

Project Timeline:


Members Responsibilities:References to Singapore context:

Current initiatives, problems faced, etc etc

  • Raw food waste -> compost
  • Low household recycling rate despite 15 years of National Recycling Programmes (NRP)
  • Cause of low recycling rate: In-house refuse chute too convenient so people don’t want spend time going downstairs to recycle items
  • People not sure what can be recycled what cannot be recycled (e.g McD drink cup, wash before recycling? If so will it waste water? – Ironic)
  • Waste segregation education to be improved
  • Current initiatives: ‘Cash for Trash’, ‘Green Homes’
  • Efforts to not only recycle materials, but also reuse water

  • ‘Save-As-You-Reduce’- Let those who throw less pay lower waste collection fees, earn points to redeem voucher for every lg of waste recycled
  • 8/10 household not heard of such schemes
  • Certain areas have better response for ‘Cash-for-Trash’ scheme
  • Monetary incentive not viable as a long term solution to bring up recycling rates in SG
  • Eco-precinct in SG: Treelodge estate at Punggol – recycle 3x more than other estates
  • Government exploring usage-based pricing waste disposal system

  • Zero waste – entire concept of waste should be eliminated
  • Involves reducing consumption, minimising wastage, maximising recycling and composting, and ensuring that products and materials are designed to use less resources and made to be reused, recycled or biodegradable
  • Through this lifespan of Landfills will be increased
  • Not only recycle, but reduce and reuse
  • Programmes:
    1. Save Food Cut Waste – educate individuals and businesses on the environmental and social impacts of food waste
    2. Food Hero App – Developing a Food waste matching app for those with excess or unsold food to sell at a discounted price or a giveaway
    3. Bring Your Own (BYO) campaign – sign up retailers to offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable bottles, containers or bags
    4. Let’s Recycle Together – encourage more HDB residents to recycle using existing blue recycle bins in their estate, and to recycle correctly
    5. Waste is not Waste – an online business platform that facilitates waste materials and unwanted items from companies that no longer need them in their operations to non-profit organisations, schools and designers that can utilise that waste
    6. Circular Economy Singapore (CES) – informal network of individuals, businesses and organisations that embrace the concept and principles of the circular economy

  • Not difficult to recycle in Singapore theoretically
  • A recycle bin under each HDB block
  • The step for separating recyclables have been taken off the shoulders of the public as workers at the recycling plant will take care of sorting them
  • But as of June 2016, recycling rates in Singapore still remain at mere 19% as compared to Taiwan (55%), Germany (64%) and South Korea (59%)
  • Two rubbish chute have been implemented in new HDB blocks, one for normal waste, one for recycle materials improving recycling rate
  • However, it is not a cost efficient method and the process to implement theses chutes in all existing HDB estates will be too time consuming
  • Proposed idea would be an incentive system accompanied by law implementations on the Government’s side, or a competition between blocks on who recycle more
  • If low recycling rates continue on, Singapore’s only Landfill (Pulau Semakau) will be filled up in 2035

  • Sometimes, recycled waste are contaminated by food waste causing them to be unusable for recycling
  • Put a brake on Singapore’s green initiatives

References to other projects:

Wecyclers enables low-income communities to make money from waste where lets families exchange garbage for consumer goods via an SMS-based point system.


Implementation of a waste framework that would facilitate an effective product materials circular reintegration through waste auditing and segregation


Recycling Initiatives from around the world. Extracted project ideas include:

  • Jumbo Jet Hostel, where an unused 1976 Boeing 747-200 airplane was converted into a hostel, fitting the demands for cheap and affordable lodging around the airport. This makes use of and reinvigorates existing dead spaces

  • Upcycling (by converting unwanted products and creating new value for them). An example from the site includes the making of dresses using maps and used coffee filters


  • ‘Oilpots’ are distributed by city officials in Barcelona to create new value to the huge amounts of cooking oil are disposed everyday and curb the local water pollution problem. Users can pour their cooking oil into the ‘Oilpot’, which will separate oil from food

  • The Dream Machine in the United States encourages recycling by incentivising people through their act. Simply donate your recyclable product e.g. an empty can, into the vending machine and gain points or prizes

  • Recycled plastic bags are used in a light installation named Recycling Sunday by art collective Luzinterruptus in Warsaw, Poland, as an attempt to bring recycling awareness to locals

Implementation of a system within the workplace that could modify existing habits. Extracted ideas include:

  • Setting up a double sided printing system
  • Having staff to activate their print jobs at the printer instead of it directly from their computers so as to reduce print jobs that are never collected

Household recycling bins

  • Solecan™ works as a dual bin, where one component is to facilitate regular trash while the other is for recyclable waste. By having compartments, this household bin encourages residents to recycle and reduces the hassle of having to sort of items into recyclable or non-recyclable products. Most importantly, residents can also dispose their waste efficiently by detaching the bins


Other household bins

Images from (from top to bottom):

Week 8: Reading Response

Reading Response to CH 1 from Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age

(What an interesting read!)

In response to the reading assignment, the beginning of the chapter introduces us to the definition of design by its author. Then again, the author clarifies that the word has such a broad meaning that people within the industry or not mostly has their own justification of what design is.

I appreciate how the author brings up the importance of visualising concrete solutions as the essence of design. Personally, I have thought of this question and often remind myself of how communication is extremely important for designers.

When we sell an idea to our clients or audience, we are selling something to intangible such as an idea. To communicate clearly what is on our mind is sometimes very challenging. Often enough, I find myself in the state of thought where I simply want to “copy and paste” what is on my mind onto a piece of paper and pitch it.

As a product design student, I have the difficulty of sketching like a professional designer and I constantly find ways of practicing and improvising on this important skill set. However, we have come to a digital age where it is also important to seek other digital skills which could possibly replace your weaknesses in the non-digital context.

That being said, through exploration of different mediums, I find myself excelling at the understanding of digital softwares such as modelling through Computer Aided Design softwares (CAD). As such when I pitch my ideas, I tend to illustrate it through the digital platform rather than through pen and paper.

As such, I feel that every designer ought to seek their own channel and language which best speaks for them.

Also, it is an extremely important point that the author brought up about experience design. That no one design could fulfil every individual needs. For we each come from a different background, with a unique story to tell.

As designers, we could harvest our individual stories and implement these into our designs. Keeping in mind that if we face this problem, someone else might have been through it too. Which is why products always has a beta testing phase where people are invited to test out the prototype and feedback would then be considered for future improvements.

Question 1: Would digital skills have the potential to (entirely) take over hands on skills?

Question 2: Does all good design always have a  story behind it? (as to why the designer did something a particular way)

Week 7: Reading Response & Assignment

Discussion Review, Response, Dairy Of Behaviour

Part 1: Review “Interactive Environments & Experience Designs” in-class discussion

The Facial Weaponisation Suite by Zach Blas was an interesting piece for study. The masks seeks how various gender, race, and sexual orientation are progressively being interpreted and influenced by science and technology.

Blas questions at the idea of a global face culture, whereby biometrics and facial detection technologies drives the ever need to know, capture, calculate, categorize, and standardize human faces. The mask generated using several facial features of queer men is a contradictory tool to bring awareness towards this issue. Where the mask hides and exposes identities at the same time. The label given to those men when the audience sees it, and the inability to identify the unique being removes their identity at the same time.

This brings up an important technology which we have sometimes come to ignore, for facial recognition is no longer an inaccessible and far fetched idea. The increasingly popular use is on platforms such as Facebook, where the platform identifies faces in your uploaded photos and prompt you to tag your friends. Such data seems so harmless but it could possibly be used in many dangerous instances. Identities could be stolen, or such data could be used inappropriately as it is freely up for grabs through the interconnected web.

However, it is something which I personally feel that we have to accept for we cannot possibly isolate ourselves from the world for such minor setbacks in technology.

With our phones becoming increasingly smarter, the newer smartphones even have payment details stored in them. An example would be the ApplePay. I am a supporter for this system as I could simply bring one phone around and do everything with it.

In the past, when I leave the house with everything I need, I often end up carrying a heavy and huge bag. Now, I simply carry my phone with credit cards, contacts, camera, internet all stored in this compact device. It often scares me how my identity could somewhat be stolen if I lost my phone to someone. Would the pickpocket use my credit cards in place of me? I guess it is another situation of give and take. Companies such as Apple have implemented security measures and yet there are tons of hackers out there which try to break these implementations.

Question is, are we prepared to move backwards to our daily routines of carrying around huge amount of physical items or could we look past this flaw in technology?How much could we evade technology advancement and yet keep up with society?

Part 2: Reading Response & 2 Good Products

In this week’s readings, I agree with Löwgren and Stolterman’s that every material has its unique qualities which through better understanding we could apply them better through design. I have previously read up on books which discuss about harvesting the inherent qualities of materials which then produces an effortless design.

In this case of digital technologies, it could be classified as a material without qualities. The constant breakthrough of technologies pulls us away from setting boundaries for this medium and this then becomes an open ended quality which designers could harvest.

Löwgren and Stolterman later questions the reader’s thoughts towards a good design. That this definition cannot be derived simply through a few words or ideas. Not only the thoughtful process has to be put into place, but also the product design never ends.

I do agree that design never ends at any phase. Even upon launching the first iPhone 3G, Apple constantly pushed their boundaries and strike for a better product the next time. Imagine if Apple had the idea of living with the satisfaction of the first iPhone and seeking for a better option, would they be as successful as they are today?

On the other hand, the reading led me to think that if designers are constantly improving on their designs. Would that result in a more picky consumer group?

In conclusion, I have derived form this reading that the thoughtful designs are ones that are so effortlessly placed at the right time and location, for the right use and user. Whereby we often overlook because it is already part of our routine to follow the guide of the designer’s product. With the familiar quote for product designers, I want to bring the point of form follows function but then again sometimes, function follows form”. All in view of a better experience in design.

Question 1: Will a good design ever be a completely good design? Is there an entirely perfect design?

Question 2:  Are consumers high demands for better design created by designer’s constant improvements?

Product 1: GrabTaxi
A good design I found was the idea of Grab. This idea harvests on the inability of official cab companies to fulfil the demand of passengers. In Singapore, the industry of hiring cabs were previously dominated by ComfortDelGro and SMRT. There were many complaints of how demand was not met during peak period and that fare prices kept increasing.

The reason why Grab and other similar companies have been so successful in Singapore is because the idea of Grab covers many problems. One of the product which I am certainly most impressed with is GrabHitch. Where Hitch drivers are not official cab drivers. These people offer car pool services often at a fraction of the actual cab hiring prices, just to pay off their own fuel prices while not affecting much of their usual route to work. Both parties needs are fulfilled as first of all, the driver gets paid for going along their usual route by simply letting someone carpool with them, while the rider’s demand for a ride is met. Most importantly, it is even eco friendly to do so!

I feel that the product is extremely well thought through, for it provides incentives on both ends of this supply chain and solves the issue of unavailable cab rides during peak periods. For these drivers mainly pick up jobs before going to work and before heading home in the evening (both of which are busy and peak periods).

Product 2: iMac

I am a huge Apple fan and I love to observe how their company solves design issue subtly while maintaining a sleek design. One of which is the iMac, and I do own one at home. The idea of iMac is simple. A desktop and its monitor all packed into a slim design.

Prior to using an iMac, I have used Windows desktops and it is very space consuming and bulky in design. The iMac clears up my desk space, allowing me much more space freedom while working on the computer. As it is a single unit devices, wiring issues are reduced. Such as tangled wires, broken wires etc.

Again, I feel that it is a minimalist approach and a good design thought through for it solves many problems which consumers did not seem to have realise prior to the product launch.

Part 3: Dairy of Behaviour


Week 5: Reading Response

Reading Response

Seen and unseen: Ho Chi Minh City’s Sidewalk Life By Annette Kim

“In many cities, sidewalks are the most important and the most overlooked public space.” The sidewalks of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) seem to be of a space where stories are told. It was where people come together, work, rest with no specific purpose tagged to its existence. However, this does not diminish its value where the process of urbanisation challenges the value of sidewalks. 

Though there are those who feel that sidewalk vending is an act of the past. Where the underdeveloped country justifies for such behaviour but now for the sake of progress Vietnam has to grow out of it. The development of HCMC has put in place rules and regulations for the improvement in the country’s environment. With such implementations, the thought of zero activities on sidewalks seem to suggest the lost of a cultural practice. No monetary figure could be placed on this historically rooted tradition which once lost cannot be recovered. 

The older HCMC used to be underdeveloped, forcing locals who are not educated to make a living out of sidewalk vending. Which today makes a living for roughly 30% of the population, providing low-cost foods, household goods, and services. The sidewalk vending seem to be inculcated as one of the unique necessities required in their daily lives. As a result, the execution of policies by the Vietnamese government to clear sidewalks of ‘unnecessary activities’ seem to remove the network between the locals as well. 

The community was built up based on the idea of relationship between unknown passerby with vendors or the people. Interactions between the unrelated creates chance for them to be acquainted. The simple smile and nod every morning becomes a habit which one look forward to everyday.

Singapore Cultural Context
In asia, relationships and networking plays a huge role amongst people and the community. The trust factor for neighbours are relatively high. This concept is well identified in Singapore as the Kampung Spirit. Also understood as a sense of social cohesion within a community where there is understanding and compromise among neighbours, even as preferences differ from household to household. The sense of an extended family even when someone is not blood-related to you.

People gathering to play Chinese Chess at the void deck.


The development of Vietnam seem to be like of Singapore in the past. The reduction of smaller individual villages for a better Singapore. The elimination of villages brought neighbourhoods today. All of which includes a void deck or common space on ground level for the locals to interact. Void decks are usually equipped with seatings and tables for residents to relive what we call the Kampung life (village life). Initiating connection between people in these common areas such as the void deck.

Kids gathering at the void deck for a game of soccer

Source: The World’s most recently posted photos of game and void – Flickr …

The void deck in Singapore seem to allow locals to look past each other’s age, race and religion. Which is also an interesting case study to follow, for the common space seemed to have allowed people to make connections with one another with no prejudgement.

Question One:
Will it be appropriate for Vietnam to implement the void deck concept (or something similar) to develop their local culture with a new concept?

Question Two:
With Vietnam developing to be a developed country, how would the country adapt and  accommodate to inflows of foreign talents and workers?



Week 5: Assignment

Assignment: The Smart Nation Initiative & Design Intervention

What is a Smart Nation?
Surpassing global expectations and standards are not exactly new headlines for Singapore. For the eighth consecutive year, Singapore has attained first ranking for World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index. It’s also been acknowledged by Ookla for having the world’s fastest broadband nation and labeled as the top and fastest-changing digital economy according to Tufts University. Nevertheless, there is now a new goal our nation is heading towards, which is to attain a new label to further enhance the country’s already remarkable list of accolades and that’s ‘Smart Nation.’

In 2014, Smart Nation was launched by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as an initiative  which aims to support better living, stronger communities, and create more opportunities for all. The idea was to create systems where Singapore would act as a beta lab for all essential tests and experiments to be carried out. Where the use of technology implementations are utilised to solve problems and address existing challenges. The four key categories for implementing their plans for a smart nation is Health, Living, Mobility and Services, where 

In many cases, initiatives involve the use of new technologies that allow breakthrough in things that were not possible before. These initiatives often include integrating different policies, people and information systems that could sometimes be disruptive for the citizens in its initial phase of research. However, it is certainly unwise to impede the nation from further growth just for these small hurdles. Hence, the SSNI plays a part in providing assistance to researchers who require carrying out beta testing in an environment that would not cause disturbance to others. An example a case study in reference to this point would be the innovation of Self-Driving Vehicles (SDV). In July 2015, vehicles were approved to be tested out at one-north, the first public road network with demarcated routes which are 6km long, as an initial staging test-bed to serve as a proof-of-concept for SDV testing.

It was also heart warming to see that implementations were not only taking care of the tech-davy younger generations, but also including the older generations. As we enter the phase where Singapore faces an aging population, healthcare is a major issue. How could we improve healthcare on a Smart Nation level? The idea of HealthHub initiated where a web portal and mobile application launched in January 2016 was created to allow users to have access to the one-stop online health information and services portal. The Ministry of Health’s Health IT Masterplan carried out a project where healthcare institutions are now connected to one another to provide continuity of care of patients. One major benefit for this case would be the reduced lines at a particularly populated area polyclinic. Now, patients can visit other healthcare institutions and receive continuation of treatment at a different location.


The thought of technology advancement has also made me feel a little detached from my family members, as it is commonly seen at a dinner table that everyone is looking down at their phones. The Kampung Spirit which is part of a local culture for caring and sharing for your neighbours seem to have been diminished. In the past, people went knocking around each other’s doors when they ran out of salt. Now the convenience of groceries delivery would do the job. Which spurred a thought in me, what if we continued to move forward as a nation without throwing away what we had in the past could we bring back the Kampung Spirit again? The idea of Kampung Spirit is also evident in this initiative for a Smart Nation. For people come together and contribute for a better future, therefore developing connections between people.

Design Intervention : ShareTown
Which result in my thoughts of having a development of a nation where we could reduce wastage by sharing. The idea of the system is called ShareTown. The systems starts by having a smart building or town built to be connected through small passageways. These passageways are then installed with conveyor belts system for sharing of things between the people living in the smart homes. Where these smart homes would be equipped with a delivering ‘lift’. 

For instance, Kate, living in ShareTown Unit #11-09 runs out of butter at home, she posts a request for butter on the ShareTown app stating that she needs them for dinner tonight. Tom, who lives at #09-07 happens to have spare butter at home. So he places them in the delivering container and it goes through the passageways and then gets delivered to Kate. In the mean time, Tom gets paid for that half stick of butter through the app that has mobile banking as well.

As such, the system creates less wastage for perishables and improved connections within the neighbourhood. Both parties gets fulfilled and the system recreates the idea of Kampung Spirit with a little touch of technology. 




Week 4: (Field Trip) Assignment

Field Study: User Experience of Hawker Centers and Food Courtsuser-experience-in-design user-experience-in-design2 user-experience-in-design3 user-experience-in-design4 user-experience-in-design5 user-experience-in-design6 user-experience-in-design7 user-experience-in-design8 user-experience-in-design9