RESPONSE: Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age

In this reading the author define the definition of design was to serve human needs and goals. I really like what he had mention:

design is the craft of visualizing concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints.

While designer is not about expressing their point of view but understanding the problem and giving a concrete solution that meet its goal. This bring us to the next important point of Goal-Directed Design focus on achieving goals was the best way to design a successful product that developed at Cooper. It includes the four components such as principles, patterns, process and practices. I find principle are an important starting point because it helps you to reevaluate the problem and has a clearer idea on which area should the designer work. It touch on the basic by asking the designer does this product accomplish their goals and will it helps the users minimise their work. In design process, the original intention or purpose are often been forgotten along the process as we got more distraction from the constrains or evolving ideas. Principles would provides us the guidelines while creating good solutions.

Another important take off was the design process that involved project planning, research, modeling, requirement definition, framework definition, detailed design and implementation support. In research part the author said that we need to understand it before we can solve the problem which I find it very relevant. Just like before we start of our project for iLight, we went through the requirements and theme before we set of research more about sustainability. We need to know what is it about and design something that tackle the problem. This also reminds me in one of our readings discussed about Mcdonalds would adapt their product to the country’s culture. Definitely, deep research are require to understand the culture to create something authentic and personalise to this particular targeted audience which makes them become international brand.

In conclusion, I feel it is important to define our goals and think about what was the purpose before the design process. The process such as research help us understand more in depth about the problem which would help in analysing the requirements definition and goals to determine the needs. All these process would add up to make the ideas more concrete that serve its purpose.

Design serves as a process catalyst by making ideas concrete.

RESPONSE: CH 1 from Jonas Löwgren and Erik Stolterman, Thoughtful Interaction Design


In the reading, the authors brings out the importance and ability how designer can makes a difference which in turns the responsibility designer held. Going beyond usability and usefulness for interaction design, a thoughtful designer with great ability to create designs that are appropriate to the solution.

A thoughtful designer is about being reflective and able to examine the purpose, outcomes and benefits of doing design in various ways. Where good judgment and critical skills are needed to determine what is appropriate approach. I also agree with the authors that the idea of “good design” are too complex to achieve consensus as it was in relation to many ideals. Yet, constant thoughtful reflection will improve the designer’s design ability.

Design would impact people’s lives where the decisions and action from the designers will affects their choice for action or even influence them. Every new design they have seen changed their overall experience of the world giving them the small scale perspective. From digital artifact of promoting products or meaningful quotes that will leaves them with impression that would manifestations into ideological ideas. Thus, designer has certain significant power in influencing people in their everyday life. While this power comes with responsibility while working with contradiction and dilemmas. The authors pointed out about client hold the responsibility for the outcome as well as the designer who produce the work which I find it very relevant across design industry. As the professional accumulate knowledge from experience helped the designer to produce the design works. Designers should have more confident in pushing for good design by trusting their own judgment. The authors also mention that being a designer does not mean to get rid of all obstacles but develop something that has lasting quality in the most suitable and creative way given with exiting condition which I personal agreed. Designers can’t possibly solve every single problem yet in that particular situation what can be done or change was more important.

In conclusion, a good designer requires not only the normative approaches but also a reflective mind that will constantly redefine what is good design to improve design ability. They understand that theories, concepts and ideas are the basic while challenge themselves in various aspect and working out the appropriate solution from all given condition. Knowing the responsibility that it would have significant impact on the society to design people’s lives.


 2 examples of good examples of thoughtfully designed user experience product/project

1: Singapore ticketing machine


In the earlier days of public transport uses the magnetic fare card and manual machine, commuter need to slot the card in and press the distance of fare themselves. This also results in confusion of the distance fare where commuter would just press the lowest fare amount. The action of pressing this manual machine slow down the whole process that would effect the overall commuting experience. This few secs would added up which become a delay for the bus timing.


Whereas for the ez-link card machine it was introduce in 2002 for the transit payment on public transport. The contactless stored value card objective was to speed up the passenger flow on the gantry and buses. Each individual trip will be calculated by the system and deducted automatically. The flow of commuters are also recorded in each bus through the tap machine so to cater according to the needs in various hours. Moreover the use of the Ez-link has extend to be use as payment for ERP, carpark fees or even retails outlets. This help us in multiple ways of payment while having a single card for transportation.

2: Erasable Pens 

Since young I would carefully write my notes and homework using pencil so I can erase it when I written something wrong. Until we are require to use pens the problem occur, even using correction tape would leave visible marks that will still annoys people who has OCD. Thankfully erasable pens are invented now and getting more and more popular! The ink uses 3 types of chemical compounds when heat friction is produce the chemical would mix together to produce the change of colours. Although its a very simple product but it helps people with OCD a lot that would made their written experience more effective! They solve the common problem of writing mistakes can be corrected easily without any visible trace.

RESPONSE: Jan Chipchase – You are what you carry

The reading are more in depth explanation of this Jan Chipchase’s Ted talk whereas now we were given a boarder view. He talk about the fundamental of carrying behaviour, which provides insight into the user activities, values, beliefs and fear. We also strategies where we should be putting our stuff to prevent us from forgetting them. I would always categories my things and place related item together, for example my lip balm and ointment was place at the same small pouch to allow me to find them easier in my school bag. I will also think about how frequent I will be using it and place them in different slot in my bag, so that I can just slip my hand without taking down my bag.

Jan Chipchase also uses examples to describe the term range of distribution. The Shanghai lady given me an insight of their risk of theft is high from the way she react on her shopping trip. In comparison, Singaporean are more relax that we simply place our phone on the coffee shop table where the phone are still visible to us. There are also cases that their phone are being stolen away however, the crime rate are lower as compare in Shanghai.

One of the part where he mention about a point of reflection. I was nodding all the way as it is something I do every time I leave a place. I will do the mental checklist like he said. This widespread behaviour could possibly due to incidents like we have forget our item before. So just to make sure we doesn’t make the same mistake we would take extra caution.

In future, there might be automated systems to predict our shopping habits. I felt it is really possible if most of the company would corporate together to shared the information among them. However, he mention about the way Amazon could do by sending the product to our house might only last for a period of time. Looking in Singapore context, I would imagine I get many different product each week/day that would be kind of irritating. The feeling given is like hard selling, although we can choose not to pick up that item. This also reminds me of how our advertisement on the browser are linked to our browsing history. If you are searching air ticket for the past few day, the advertisement in Facebook or other website would cater to what did you search for.

In conclusion, we would all have reason for the things we carry that are fundamentally tools for our survival. We also develop our own way of carrying behaviour that could be influence from our surroundings or personal reasons. Nonetheless, technology advancement would constantly changing our tool and idea of survival.

RESPONSE: Chapter 5 Jan Chipchase, Hidden In Plain Sight: How To Create Extraordinary Products For Tomorrow’s Customers.

Calibrating Your Cultural Compass 

This week readings discuss about the importance of understanding people from their daily life using the technique called rapid cultural calibration that would aid in the design research. The technique range from observing the city to travelling by their public transport to the airports, community hubs and signs in that place. All those would give us clues to the local culture and also being able to experience it ourselves will give us insight of what is beneath the surface.

Recalling my own personal experience a few years back, I was traveling in Melbourne, Australia where the subway broke down during the rush hours early in the morning. During that time, it was the first time I encounter break down in public transport (that time our MRT are still working perfectly fine). The locals act very different from us Singaporean. They look clam and just took alternative path to their destinations. That really surprise me, its so clam that I only realise the train breaks down when I reached the station. There were no chaotic situation or shows of unhappiness. In comparison, maybe we Singaporean are too used to the efficiency we used to have and took it for granted. Or maybe the train have broke down frequently in Melbourne that the commuters have used to travel by alternative route.  It is just like how we Singaporeans are less frustrated now during the break downs. Just my two cents. However, how we reacted to the situation definitely shows a lot about our culture. Like I have mention we live in a very efficient country whereas in Melbourne I feel they are more flexible in this way.

It is very interesting that Jan Chipchase mention that McDonald tailored it’s brand to so many country, from their decor to food menus. I have also seen the packaging indication for vegetarian food. As compare to Singapore, in New Zealand there are a lot more people who has allergies namely, peanuts, gluten and so on or other dietary requirements. The restaurants there are more careful and flexible about these requirements. In Singapore gluten free restaurants are very limited, however, there are more and more restaurants that provides gluten free, vegetarian or special dietary requirement options.


  1. Is there more companies either in Singapore or overseas sees the importance of understanding the user would help in designing their products? As this research would be costly for the company and I am thinking its a very new concept that might not be adopt in the markets especially in Singapore where companies are more conventional.
  2. I still not quite understand about Capturing the Platzgeist. From my understanding, it was capturing the environment whether is it sounds, images or colours would help to trigger our sensory memories? If we incorporate that into the product or installation will it helps leave a more impactful impression to the user? Is it because we will remember clearly how we feel or sense then the content itself?

RESPONSE: Chapter 1 of The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norm

 The Psychopathology of Everyday Things

The reading was interesting where Donald touch on the simple things and elaborate on the process of how we interact with it through discoverability and understanding. Taking one example of the ADM glass door that located beside the office on level one, it is one of the Norman doors. I was nodding internally while reading the first few paragraph about why a simple door can be so complicated. Although this is my third year in ADM, at times I still get confuse about the direction of opening that glass door. I came up a way to differentiate the direction through the magnetic system on top, that was the culprit which only allow the door to open from one direction. Whenever I am confused I look up to see which direction I am standing and act accordingly.

There is a part where Donald talks about the engineers think that they understand people however, they neglected the part where humans are complex. Similarly, I feel its comparable when designer/artist created an art piece that display in the museum or a public art. Most of the people don’t really understand it especially for abstract art unless they read the rationale behind it. In later part of the readings mentioned about the signifiers, probably incorporate signifiers into the art piece would makes people able to relate more and understand more. Nonetheless, one can still say that art is an expression from the artist, probably it solely depends on which perspective we view.

I am also amazed that part where simple details such as visible affordance can makes a big difference to the user. It a very subtle detail that I feel I did not realise until I read this reading. We all did it subconsciously just like the handle of cups, it is so natural to hold it by the handle.

Feedback reminds me of the car seats at the front will start beeping annoyingly when it senses that you are sitting on it without fastening the seatbelt. The annoying beeping sound actually works for me as I was really annoyed by the sound so I rather put on the seat belt instead. Perhaps some frustration in some case are exceptions.

Lastly, I also agree that part where each discipline would have their own constrains and importance. When all the teams work together would produce a greater product as compare to a team that did not work with others. It will greatly save the company lot trouble when each team talks about their problem and of course there is gain and losses. Yet compromise from each other will come to a conclusion that satisfy every team!



  1. How do we determine whether this is a good product/design when all of us come from a different culture and upbringing? As in we can’t probably please everyone and there are so many people in the world.
  2. As for system image, will a graphical illustration will communicate better than a written instruction? I was thinking that the system image was sort of an instruction menu for users to find out how to operate the product.