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: 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







Week 1: In-Class Assignment

Assignment: User Experience Analysis Of The ADM Building 

For this assignment, I have decided to enter the freshmen’s point of view. Looking at how I would react if I were to enter the school for the first time.

Upon alighting the bus, there is a sheltered walkway which acts as a guide that the entrance to the building should be at the end of this walkway. No major signages to direct me otherwise.

The first thought for this would be the key card access. Do I tap? Or is it already open? Also, these doors are automated on one side, where the warning is written on the door as  “Caution Glass Doors Swings Outwards”. It is difficult to gauge if the door on the other side swings out or inwards (push or pull) for there are no guided text. 

This entrance shows no signs of where to head next. Left? Right?

(Left Walkway) Leads to the library and there is a handicap lift. So I do know that the different levels are handicap friendly.

(Right Walkway) Leads to the this huge area. Judging from the high ceiling that it is the main lobby. Not much signages till now. To the right, is the general office with a map that does not have much floor plan (of individual floors) and studio rooms.

The map does not show where I am with the typical “you are here” tag. So it is difficult to judge which location am I headed towards on the map.

Lift does not show what is on the different levels and buttons are not labelled with the main categories of the floors (Eg. B1 Animation Studio/ Product Design Workshop).

This signage shows the general direction of the studio rooms. But….

Which walkway does it direct me to? The simple arrows were insufficient

Stairs heading up or down are generally good as it comes with handle bars for those who needs them. Also, the open concept makes it easy to look down and see if certain studio or workshops are what you were looking for.

Basement Level

No clear maps on B1 for. No toilet signages, only colour coded maps which are not easily understood for navigating.

Fire extinguishers are generally hidden out of sight as there are rows of lockers, but for safety concerns the overhead signages are placed to indicate their placements whenever it is hidden. 

Uncertain push pull doors as the handles are the same on both side and no guiding text are there.
Lecture in progress signages are switched on when lectures are being conducted in the room. 
Emergency evacuation labels are put around the school for people to read and evacuate accordingly when required. 
A map at the end of the hallway showing the animation studios.    

Week 1: Assignment

Assignment Part 1: Find 2 maps of a place you have visited 

Good Example: Universal Studios Singapore 

Image Source: http://thinletitbit.weebly.com/blog/free-download-program-universal-studio-map-singapore-pdf

I love visiting theme parks so I would like to discuss about the USS (Singapore) map. There is an overall design language spoken through the map for being fun and attractive with the appropriate use of colours. During my first visit where I got this map, I glanced through the map and felt that it is very informative and detailed. Even if I were not able to read the words on the map, I could still navigate through the clear images. Reason being that it is a 3D image which I could navigate throughout the theme park as though I was in the map with almost all the rides clearly illustrated through the map.

The map is classified into categories of fun rides such as the themed labels so that people could enjoy those rides within the same category to experience the theme they were to portray.

Map keys are listed in a straightforward manner in the bottom of the map so that people could navigate themselves to the rides which they are interested in (through their names or image). I love how the map was not over informative yet I was able to get the information which I required.

Bad Example: School of ADM

When I was asked to show a bad example of maps, I remembered the very first time where I entered the ADM building and I could not find my way around through the use of maps.

Firstly, the maps were not exactly too intuitive for the image of the building was simply made up of geometries (of the entire building, not level) without much information such as the typical *you are here* tag. The arrows were informative to a certain extent but it was not exactly accurate either. Some arrows pointed to the left but it would require you to walk straight ahead and then, turn left.

I have met visitors around the school (especially those on exchange) who simply can’t find their way around. Most of the time, they would panic as they were late for classes.

Journal Entry of Being Lost 

Perhaps I would talk about the most recent time where I got lost at the Chicago airport. I was on exchange and about to fly off to San Francisco to meet my family there. Upon reaching the airport, the navigations were already unclear. We were puzzled by the numerous ‘queue here’ signs to get into the departure hall. 

Moreover, it was our first visit to that airport terminal so that added on to our uncertainty. Upon clearing security, my friend and I immediately got lost. The gate numbers did not tele up as it was skipping numbers or alphabets. It got really scary as I was together with another friend who was as clueless about the place as I was. Luckily at the end of the day, my friend and I managed to catch our plane with the guide of a local staff.

User Experience Issue: Signages
The greatest issue I saw in the design for navigation was definitely the misinformed signs. First, it was the unclear direction of queuing. Followed by the gate numbers that did not go according to the standard numbering format. I remembered clearly that the numbers skipped one or two and it was misleading for I could not find the gate “in between” those numbers.

This is interesting how memory of navigating in other airports make me have a standard opinion of how directory in airports should be. Forcing me to look out for familiar things to relate to. Often enough it might be true, but in some cases we are forced to think otherwise.

Assignment Part 2: Two Objects I Use Everyday
Product 1: Cups
Cups with handles are generally straight forward as it has an intuitive touch where by users are “encouraged” to grip it. Some other designs comes with a contoured surface for palm grip to replace the handles.

I have chosen to redesign the cups with such contours and added a lip to have a different functional product. Whereby the jar supports the palm grip with its contours as well as the pouring motion through the lip.

Also, if I were to reduce the height of the cup, I could create a saucer or a shallow dish.

Product 2: Remote Control 

Also, the use of remote controls are generally straight forward as it allows your thumb to rest on the upper side of the remote controller where the buttons are). As it is generally labelled universally, the remote controller is pretty intuitive as well.

The side view of the controller which I have has an arc which reminds me of a possible design of a computer mouse. The computer mouse arcs towards the upward direction for curving along the palm.

Also, a rounder design while retaining its buttons could be a possible design of gaming controller (with joystick).