(6) Day1/ Day2

Over a two-day period, do the following:
DAY 1 – create a diary of when, why and what you use your mobile device for. Observe how others are using their mobile devices. What are the most common uses and where do you see these behaviors?

DAY 2 – Do not use your phone, computer or electronic device for 24 hours. Create a diary documenting and describing the difference in your behavior patterns. How did you do the things you would normally do with your phone? What other alternative behaviors did you develop? What else did you notice about the difference in behavior?


Wednesday. 14/9/16

As I woke up from my slumber, I reached for the floor to pick up my mobile phone with my eyelids still shut. I stared blankly straight at the lighted screen of the phone, my eyes already acclimatised to the strain of the bright screen long before. I checked the time, battery meter to see that it is fully charged, and the familiar news of zero new notification. 6.24am. It was still early. I went back to dreamland.

An hour later, I had just bathed and changed. I sat down on the sofa in the Living Room and took out my mobile phone from my pocket. I casually pressed on the Facebook app, swiped upwards and then downwards, then returned back to the home screen to tab on another app as I munched on the sandwich my Mother prepared. As I leave my house for school, I  plugged in the EarPods to my mobile phone and listened to my playlist. I commuted to school with the EarPods firmly intact to my eardrums. Only when I reached the classroom did I unplug the EarPods and sat on an empty seat. 

Lesson was dry. As my focus was draining out, I quietly took out my mobile phone to the ‘Pokemon Shuffle’ game app. I cleared 2 levels. I put the phone back in the pocket. I tried to refocus. Professor starts talking about an interesting topic. I took out the mobile phone again to the notes app and take down some interesting points. After which, I put it back into my pocket. Then, my phone vibrated in my pocket. I took it out again to see an advertisement message. I shrugged as I put it back in the pocket. 

Lesson ended, I made my way to the Canteen with my friend for lunch. After we found vacant seats, I sat on the seat as my friend went to order. I instantly took out my mobile phone to the Facebook app. Again I swiped upwards then downwards to see the same posts I saw in the morning. I then did the same with the ‘Instagram’ app. I then exited the app to open the ‘ESPN' app. It was Champions League Night the morning before. I read the scores. My friend returned holding onto the tray of a pipping hot bowl. I placed the mobile phone back into my pocket as I proceeded to order my lunch.

After lunch, I bid my friend farewell as I fished for the EarPods in my bag. Again, I plugged in the EarPods to my mobile phone and listened to my playlist as I commuted back home. Along the way, I opened my ‘Pokemon GO’ app to clock the distance needed to hatch my eggs. 

I reached home and switched on my laptop to begin work on my assignments. I turned to my mobile phone to check the time. Naturally, I opened the ‘Youtube’ app. I proceeded to ‘relax’ for a while and watched a video off the recommended list, my laptop left idle. What a lie. I felt a doze of drowsiness. 3 hours passed, I woke up with my phone on my tummy. I checked the time, and notification. My friend had buzzed me through ‘whatsapp’. I replied. I finally started work on the laptop. 

Work was exhausting. I had deviated again, but this time with my laptop on the ‘Facebook’ browser. I picked up my phone and subconsciously click  on the ‘Facebook’ app within the phone. I see the exact same updates. I put the phone away and continued work.

Yet again, a doze of drowsiness whizzed by. I told myself I would rest my eyes for a while. What a lie.

My usage of mobile phone is collated into a pie chart as follows.


I realised that I had used my phone for really essential tasks like checking the time since I do not wear a watch. Also, messages and calling allow me to stay connected with my friends at our own comforts. The mobile phone also allowed my daily commute to be more manageable with music accompany and games. The mobile phone also served as a distraction from my daily work which leads to procrastination. It seems the task of clicking the same app repeatedly had become a really bad habit, albeit silly.

In relation to observing people when they are using their mobile phones, I find that most of the usage of mobile phone comes during the time of commute. People are seen using their mobile phone for music, video watching, social media updates etc.


As (bad)luck would have it, the HDB upgrade renovation has commence at my house. As the toilets and kitchen are being renovated, the power supply in my house had to be cut off from 8am-6pm. 


Saturday. 17/9/16

My Mother had woken me up. I looked up to the wall clock. 7.30am. In my half awake state, I went downstairs to bathe in the temporary toilet.

As I finished my breakfast, the construction workers began entering my house to continue with their work. I placed my phone in my drawer, said goodbye to my Family members and left the house with my bag for the library.

As I walked to the MRT station, I was pleasantly taken away by the serene atmosphere. I was able to hear the bustling of the cars that whizzed by, the wind, and footsteps of people. Upon reaching the MRT station, I looked up at the screen to the next arrival MRT, and the time. The commute to Jurong East was relatively quiet. Without my music blasting in my eardrums, I I shifted my focus to observing the other passengers on board. Some where staring blankly to the moving scene outside, while most were preoccupied with the screen of their mobile devices. I peeked into the closest passengers’ screens. Facebook and Instagram feeds. On top of the repeated message from the speaker above, I listened to the muffled sounds that escaped out of one passenger’s earpiece, and the casual conversation(filled with vulgarities) of another passenger. 

I reached the Jurong Regional Library, of which was relatively empty except for the librarians and students who have already occupied the tables. I went up to the second level and rested on the vacant chair for a while. I then picked up the book from my bag and proceed to reading it. Almost all at once, drowsiness began to creep into my head. I tried to refocus but soon drifted off...As I woke up, I wanted to check for the time. This was when I realised the library did not have a wall clock. I went to the e-kiosk to check the time. 11.43am. I went back to my seat and continued reading.

Reading was difficult. I was rather distracted by any small movement of the other people in the library, of which by now was rather packed. I found myself unconsciously tapping on my pocket, before realising that I had left my phone at home. Hums of songs started ringing in my head. I stretched my arms out as I decided to leave my seat and take a walk around. I left my bag on the seat. I went to the e-kiosk again to check the time.

4.45pm. I needed to leave for my part-time job. I packed my bag and left for Queenstown. The train is relatively packed. Along the commute, I continued reading the books. However, I was distracted by the bustling conversations of the passengers. I found myself subconsciously counting down the seconds as to when the door would close at each station. When I arrived at my station, I realised I hadn’t read a single page off my book. 

I reached work earlier than expected. I see the time on the e-finger scan. 5.31pm. I changed into my workwear and made coffee at the pantry. I saw my colleague and chatted. Finally, I started work.

Work was mundane. Usually in between work, I would casually take out my mobile phone to social media updates. This time, I only had my book. I picked it up and looked at the wall clock in the office. 3 hours to knock off. I put my book down again as I went for my dinner break. I gorged down my plate of rice, and slept the rest of the hour away. I went back to work. Now and then I would subconsciously question myself as to why my pants feel lighter, before tapping my empty pocket and realising again that my phone is not with me.

Finally I finished work. I changed and finger scanned-out of work. By then, the Sun had already set. I walked down the familiar path to the MRT station. Usually, I would make use of the time to hatch my eggs from the 'Pokemon Go’ game app while listening to my playlist. This time, I just walked hurriedly to the MRT Station.

The commute back home was similar to what I had experienced. Except the train filled with an air of alcohol. The train was jam-packed with passengers. I stared blankly as I waited to alight at my stop. The ride did feel slightly longer without my music and social media distractions.

I reached home and went downstairs to bathe. It was a long day. Before I even realised, I drifted off to dreamland.

Day 2 was difficult. I made use of the weekend as I could give my laptop a rest. Without music, I found myself hearing a lot of background sounds. Commute felt slightly longer than usual without the distractions from social media, and I found myself counting down the stops. One interesting discovery is the absence of a wall clock in the library. Also, throughout the day, I subconsciously tapped my pocket to recall my absent phone. It made me realise how much of a ‘necessity’ mobile phone has integrated into my daily life, much like spectacles (of which I would subconsciously tap my nose bridge even on days I wore contact lenses). Time was another problem as I don’t own a watch. I realised that I had to source for available structures in order to tell time.

The commence of renovation at my house had pushed myself to the library (of which is not regular). I thought about the instance if I were to carry out this activity in the comfort of my home, what would be the outcome? Probably, I would lie on the sofa with my book and then sail to dreamland for the rest of the day. This actually made me rethink of the ‘distractions’ mobile phones possess. Do these ‘distractions’ really distract me, or are these made a scapegoat for my procrastinations?

(6) a thoughtful designer

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

This chapter explores the qualities of being a thoughtful designer. A thoughtful designer is one who tackles the challenge of design with utmost care and concern and be reflective of the actions of the entire design process, or design knowledge construction.

One interesting point mentioned is that the design outcomes are mostly consequences of mistakes or lack of knowledge, and that the process of design and outcome can never be perfect. I feel that this is true as the whole process of design is rather complex and as designers, we may not be necessarily equipped with the required knowledge of smaller aspects within the whole structure of design. Point of reflection enables us as designers to reflect upon the entire process and probe further to tackle the unforeseen issues with better solutions, previously unknown to us. A good design as written in the chapter may not be reflected in any particular designs, but the courage to challenge constraints and one’s ability to grow.

As the chapter moves towards digital technology of which digital artefacts “without qualities” results. The challenge of digital technology is that the advancement of technology is evolving at a pace too rapid for reflection. It is mentioned that reflection is still essential as the designer upholds the ‘power to create’. I feel that this is true as the rapid advancement of technology has lead to a shortened shelf-life of digital artefacts, and that it will be rapidly become obsolete, replaced and forgotten. Mobile phones come to mind, with the permutations of countless models rapidly replaced within such a short timeframe. However, reflections have been evident too, such as creating a ‘newer version’ or through ‘updates’.

I have also learnt the scale and magnitude of a designer as responsibility is a core trait of a good designer. Whatever we design can have a bigger impact, and we have to be held responsible for what we design. The skills for design thinking is important to be integrated in our core, as designer. Interaction design is too becoming an integral part in design, and we too as designers have to integrate it into our design process, as well as look for methods and techniques to think about and reflect. I feel that design thinking as a process is nothing new as our journey as designers will have used some methods, but the core traits of being responsible is important to be instilled within us as designer.

Q1. The idea of a good design challenges the designer based on the process of critical thinking, but how much of the final design outcome plays a part in the judgement for good design?

Q2. In today’s advancement of technology, how much more of a digital artefact can be pushed to be utilised in today’s context?


(5) Carrying behaviour / Hologram

Part 1: Read Ch. 4 from Chipchase Hidden in Plain Sight.  Write a response and two questions and post it by midnight on Saturday to OSS.

The reading this week touches upon the behaviour of people to their belongings. The subjects being discussed are really relatable and interesting to rediscover, as I did.

As I was reading the chapter whilst commuting back from school, I naturally reached for my school bag as I try to uncover what is in my bag. Firstly, I realised that I had my laptop clutched very closely to me using my arm as I held onto my iPhone on one hand (I was reading the passage through it). My bag was placed on the ground in between my legs. As I would find out later, my range of distribution is pretty short. Anyway as I proceeded to check my bag, I realised that almost all the stuff in my bag were redundant. Apart from my laptop, I almost didn’t use any of the stuff I brought to school. My water bottle was still mostly filled (I had purchased 2 drinks from the vending machine), I had a notebook and a foolscap pad, and a file filled with notes from different modules. Also, my pencil case was filled with 5 pens. I realised all these does is merely to keep my sanity at ease, which is pointed within the chapter as the point of reflection.

It is mentioned that the redundancy is an opportunity to make the system more efficient. Digitalised platforms offered solutions by allowing people opportunities to carry less. Examples given are mostly used in Japan like the fare service. However, the same solution worked really differently in a really different society, of which Afghanistan has shown in the example of M-Pasia whereby if you can’t see it, you don’t own it. Another point to ponder in carrying less, is the question are we truly carrying less? Think about the coils of wires we are inclined to bring along with us, portable chargers, plugs etc.

Seemingly, another proposed solution is the idea of rental rather than owning through mesh. Whereby the idea of not owning is attractive as responsibilities are shared. An example would be AirBnB, whereby rents of   apartments are able to be made over a large distance over continents.

Ultimately at the end of the chapter, it is mentioned that the whole point of advancing digitalise technology is to aid in our survival. However, as human beings, we already have traits of adaptability inbuilt in us. In fact,  through adaptability had enabled our evolution into who we are today and what we are capable of. One point to pick is the  over-reliance  of technology (as our eyes are seemingly stuck onto the screens of smartphones) necessary a good thing? I find myself over relying upon technology so much, it actually scares me. For instance, times where I forgot the meaning of the words, I would almost skip the notion of thinking, and go straight to google. Now with the advancement of technology being able to ‘guess’ or ‘recommend’ our experience based on our digital footprints, how much of a decision can we make in the future?

Q1. In the notion of carrying less, technology has played a fundamental part in reducing the number of items carried. However, Is there a limit in technology where it becomes too much and in it lead to being a hindrance in our physical reality?

Q2. As adaptable beings, how much has the influx of technology influence/ limit our thinking?

Part 2: Based on the lecture on Place, Location and Ubiquitous technology, post an example of a product, service or design concept and post it on OSS.

This week’s lecture about Place, Location and Ubiquitous technology has been interesting to see the myriad possibilities of infusing technology into and to aid in our everyday lives.

One interesting idea is ‘hololens’ hologram whereby the use of augmented reality is really pushed to the limits.