By The Way (Final)


by Clara, Katie, WanQing


By The Way is an interactive city guide with live news, weather updates and other interesting features like curated point of interests.

Through surveys conducted, it is revealed that train rides are unappealing. Hence, to  enhance the train ride experience, By The Way not only seeks to provide commuters a unique experience every time commuters board on the train, it also helps people (locals and tourists) to navigate their ways/ discover new places to go in the city.


To view the detailed proposal for ByTheWay, please click on this link for our final presentation slides:


The video attached contains the bodystorm process:

Final Animation

This is the final video made for ByTheWay:



By The Way

A project to design an interactive city guide in our MRTs.

Interface Design (Draft) 

Main Screen: 

Interactive landmarks and pop-up pins for point of interest.


Individual Tab Screen: 

Opens up when user taps on the landmarks on the main map.


Top Screen: 

Permanent banner that shows news headlines, weather forecasts and upcoming station.



First look (non-peak hour) : 


During peak hours, top banner will remain while the main map screen will stay as a window (through the use of glass screen)

Survey link:


Week 10 Final Project Progress 1

  • Group Members: Clara, Katie, Wanqing
  • Idea Focus: Interactive City Guide for MRT 
  • Title:
  • Target Audience: General commuters
  • Problems to tackle: 1) Long travelling time (boring rides) & 2) Unable to board (crowding at entrances/ refuse to move in)

Next steps:

  1. Find out what do people want from city guide?
  2. What kind of content/ways to present the contents to engage people?
  3. How the design could incorporate various demographics?
  4. Consider the peak hours? (space)
  5. Consider/ look into current habits of commuters? (phone, sleep etc)

Week 9 Final Project Refinements

Topic: Public Transport (MRT) Experience

Group Members: Clara, Katie, WanQing

Refer to the link below for our group presentation slides:

Final Project Proposals / 3 Ideas

Idea 1


  • The lack of social interaction on public transport.
  • Passengers onboard are unwilling to move in.

Proposed Solution/ Idea

Through the use of technology, social interactions on public transport could be created by connecting people. This can be done by replacing the walls of buses/trains with interactive wall or floors. These walls not only serve as a platform to connect people, it also acts as a “reminder” to encourage passengers to move into the carriage so as to allow other passengers to be able to board on.

The execution of the interactive walls/floors would be dependent on the spaces available on the carriage e.g. on the bus, interactive walls could be incorporated while on the train, interactive floors would be a better option.

The interactive wall/floor would display games that allow people to “touch and play”. Passengers will get to play the game with other passengers onboard as the games will be in multi-player mode to encourage more social interactions. This is a good opportunity for passengers to interact with one another.


Multi-player mode creates opportunities for social interactions. It is also a good way to kill time during travelling time onboard.


Various games will be displayed at different timings.


Interactive Wall

tileServes as a platform to remind passengers to move in


  • Create social interactions amongst passengers.
  • Great way to de-stress (especially in Singapore)

Cons / Questions to think about

  • Cost?
  • How feasible can this be during peak hours?
  • Safety precautions
  • non-condusive environment on public transport?

Idea 2


  • When should passenger give up their seats?  (especially when they are sitting on reserved seats and are unaware that there might be people in need of it more than them)

Proposed Solution/ Idea

Many factors/ reasons leading up to this problem. Most of the time through observations, people are often too engrossed with their mobile phones and thus tend to ignore their environment.

  • Design smart train seats that are able to sense the environment (people in need of seats)  and prompt the person on the seat to give up his/her seats.
  • In times of need when there are limited reserved seats (currently there are only 4 per carriage), these smart train seats could turn into reserved seats through the use of colors, light together with a smart interface to cater to more people in need to sit during the ride.


Smart Seats that are able to switch its colors/light indication to remind people to give up their seats to the others who need it more than them


  • Possible solution to when we should give up our “reserved seats”
  • Creating a more friendly public transport experience.

Cons / Questions to think about

  • Cost?
  • Effectiveness? How do you determine who needs the “reserved seats” or “deserve” it more than the others?

Idea 3


Singaporeans are lacking in a living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, 7 out of 10 Singaporeans are not exercising enough. Are there ways to motivate people to exercise?

Proposed Solution/ Idea

The main reason why people are not exercising enough is mainly due to the lack of motivation to do so. Hence, with the use of augmented reality technology, people can exercise in a fun way which essentially make them exercise more frequently.

When user “enters” the augmented reality, it could be in the form of a game e.g. hide’n seek, maze runner concept game where users are infused in the game setting environment. During the process, they will be prompt to do different sets of exercises (depends on their choices) while playing the game. The trick is that when users are exercising during the process, they would not feel that they are “exercising” in a sense as they would be having fun at the same time.



During the process of the game, users would be prompt to do various exercises e.g. “Run away from the zombies”


  • New way to motivate people to exercise, keeping up with an active lifestyle.
  • Great way to destress

Cons / Questions to consider 

  • Where do users conduct this activity? gym? home? outdoor?
  • Safety precautions
  • Losing touch with nature? (when we exercise)

Assignment 7+8

Part 1: Write a response to the exhibition “Future World”.  Keep in mind the following questions – What is experience design and what are the possibilities of responsive environments? How might this change the way we think about the world around us and the ways that we communicate with each other?

I visited “Future World” during March when the exhibition just started and the experience was one that I could never forget. This exhibition was not like the others as it felt more like an experience instead. It felt like entering into a whole new world with another spectrum of possibilities! Personally, I like the very moment when one step into the exhibition, where the setting is dark and cooling, giving a sense that one has just stepped into their land of dream, surrounded by kaleidoscope of colors!


There are several exhibition pieces that are worth mentioning. The first one would be the “Circulum Formosa”, an interactive digital installation based on a huge LED sculpture. What I find amazing about this particular piece is the fact that setting displayed is never static. It changes accordingly with external data, based on the real-time weather condition, temperature, time and season. It exemplifies very well how the use of technology could imitate nature to give people the same experience they would have felt in real nature environment. I remembered when I stepped closer to the waterfall setting, it was rather mind-blowing how I could felt cool wind gushes on my face and the sound of rushing waterfall, and in that moment, I could really imagine myself standing right in front of a waterfall.


The next piece that left deep impression on me was definitely the “Crystal Universe”. This interactive 3-D light space gave users a surreal feeling as one would feel that she or he is right at the center of the universe, becoming one with light and the body of installation. Personally, I felt that this piece was extremely poetic in every other way. It makes one feel like immersing in a sea of star at night, reminding one of the art piece The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. Personally, I think this is a piece about hope, giving light in one’s path. Interestingly, viewers can change the Crystal Universe through access to their smartphone to give them a firsthand experience!








From the two exhibitions that I have mentioned above, I have learnt that understanding the users plays a crucial role of what experience design is. Only through understanding what and how users feel in a particular setting or situation, then can designing this “experience” be felt in the way the designers would want to convey. (for e.g. the experience one would have felt standing at the waterfall) By adding the element of responsive environment gives another layer of interactivity to users as they would feel “as one”, together in the environment being designed. All of this interestingly makes me reflect about the way we see world and how we communicate to each other. Drawing links to experience design, the way we see the world differs from one another. It is subjective. Hence, the way we respond to them are different otherwise and every experience that we go through varies as a result. This is the same as experience design too, as every experience being designed might be interpreted or “felt” differently by different users. And that is what makes experience design amazing as it is so versatile, and contains endless layers of possibilities.

Part 3: Find 3 examples of a product/project that you think are thoughtfully designed user experience.



  1. Wall-mounted CD player by Naoto Fukasawa

I picked this CD hung player designed by Naoto Fukasawa as it is a great design, that is not only functional, simple and aesthetically pleasing. In fact this design has gained its recognition with design awards. My first impression on this design was how it resembles a fan, especially when the CD revolves. However, with a closer look, one will realise that it is actually a CD player. I think it is amazing how there is not even one control button on the CD player. Instead, user will simply play by pulling the cord strung below.




2. SkyScanner

The next brilliant design is the skyscanner website/app service. It provides a very convenient way to compare flights, flight timings or pricings all across the different airlines. The interface design is very friendly as it is intuitive, whereby even first-time users are aware of how the website procedure works.


3. MRT Ticketing Machine

The MRT Ticketing Machine is no doubt a great design. The user-friendly interface allows users, be it first-time users or those from various background speaking different languages, to know how to go about buying  or top-up train tickets in just a few minutes time. It is indeed a good solution to ease the once long ticketing queue problem in the past.

Part 4, Reading

Designing for the Digital Age: Creating Human-Centered Products and Services, Chapter 1 Goal-Directed Products and Services, by Kim Goodwin

Goodwin’s interpretations to differentiate various designs is interesting and in fact, mind-blowing as some of these questions are no doubt questions that I would often find asking myself sometime. For instance, I have learnt that interaction design is definitely not to be confused with related disciplines known as HCI, human factors or, informally, usability. Another viewpoint that I find interesting that Goodwin has argued is that experience design, as people would refer to human-centered product and service design, is presumptuous. This is because we design every aspect of the environment to encourage an optimal experience, but since every individual has their own attitudes and perceptions to any situations, designers are unable to determine exactly what experience someone has. And hence, product design, as a service is still the end product of the design effort. I find this point rather mind-opening and make me think deeper and further as to how experience design is defined as.

Next, this chapter focuses mainly on Goal-Directed Design, which is a set of tools and best practices developed by Alan Cooper. The Goal-Directed process is broken down into the following steps:

  1. Project Planning
  2. Research
  3. Modeling
  4. Requirements Definition
  5. Framework Definition
  6. Detailed Design
  7. Implementation Support

While I believe that by having Goal-Directed process making can be deemed as the “most” effective or efficient, I think that it is also important for designers to know him or herself as to what is the best way to work. I think every designer has different working style or ethics, and by fixating on one design method can be rather restricting in a sense. Ultimately, what is important is how designers are able to find his or her own best creative space or method, and work towards it. (given under the set of criteria appointed to them) After all, creativity has no limits.

Qns1: Does working/designing under constraints limits or dampens one’s creativity? Is there a way to tackle this challenge?

Qns2: Does working under a design framework like Goal-directed method limits or hinders the time for designers to continue exploring for more ideas? (due to possible time constraints to follow all the steps)

Assignment 6 Part 1

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?

Date: 13th September 2016, Tuesday

Time period: 7am-7pm

The log below shows the activities I used on my phone throughout the day.

Time What was used on my phone? Why was it used?
6am Alarm clock app


Woke up for school

Checked for important messages

6.30am Checked clock on my phone Made sure that I left house on time while preparing in the morning

(on the train)


Mail app

Snapchat, Instagram

News app


Listened to music on the way to school

Checked and cleared emails

Checked snapchat messages from friends/ browsed feed on instagram.

Scanned through daily news updates

Replied to text messages

8.45am SG NextBus app Checked for time of arrival for the next bus to school

(in class)

Checked clock on my phone Casually checking the time
12pm-2pm Whatsapp/Telegram

Mail app

Expenditure app

Replied to text messages

Checked for important emails

Recorded down my lunch expenses

3pm-4pm Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook

Checked clock on my phone

SG NextBus app

Checked snapchat messages from friends/ browsed feed.

Casually checking the time

Checked for time of arrival for the next bus to class venue


(in class)

Google drive app

Blackboard app


Script for class presentation

Checked for class content + other relevant informations

Quick reply to text messages



Expenditure app


Instagram, Snapchat

SG NextBus app


Recorded down my dinner expenses

Replied to text messages

Casually browsed feed/checked messages

Checked for time of arrival of the next bus (on the way home)

Listened to music

From my personal log above, I notice how frequent i tend to use my phone in my daily routine. In fact, the first thing that I look at when i open my eyes every morning is none other than my phone as it is also my alarm clock. Also, I notice how there has always been a constant connection between people in our life through the accessibility of our phones e.g. sending text messages, social media and emailing.

While i think there are pros to all these features to allow us to connect to people conveniently, I still believe that it is important to “disconnect to connect”, especially during the day when we are “actually doing something” i.e. when hanging out with family and friends, during lesson time etc. I feel that checking our phones even when we do not need to have turned into a habit. This behaviour clearly shows the reliance people today have on their mobile devices. So much so that people cannot seem to “lose touch” with their phones. I think this is an important issue to look into as I also start to notice many of the younger generations being addicted using their mobile devices lately.

While on the train, I observed how and why people in public were using their phones.






As seen in the pictures, passengers on the train (from the range of teenagers to senior citizens) were engrossed with their mobile devices. These are not surprising sights and the most common reason why this happened is that mobile devices provide an alternative source for passengers to kill time while travelling. (other than sleeping) Alternatively, people would choose to use this time of travelling to “catch up” with their missed calls or unchecked messages.


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?

Date: 11th September 2016, Sunday

Time period: 7am-7pm

I conducted this experiment on a weekend as this is usually my “rest” day.

The biggest difference that i was not used to was unable to listen to my music whenever i go, checking messages/emails and to go on social media. However, having to say that, i definitely felt more carefree than usual as i did not have to worry about missing out any calls or messages. I was able to stay focus on what was going on around me which include the people and the environment. I began noticing small little details that i did not see before e.g signs, buildings. Interestingly, i found these observations that i had without my phone around me rather useful as i noticed how i could navigate to places without the use of mapping apps in my phone as well. I started recognising “signature” details of a specific place in my head, which gave me the ability to map my direction to the place of destination. This experience made me realised how one could definitely be more alert with their environment if he or she was less distracted with mobile devices.

However, while i feel that navigation with the help of mind mapping was useful, i think that the main function of our mobile devices is simply not just to help us navigate our ways or to connect with people. It is about giving users a sense of security when he or she is in possession of it. The sense of security when one could use google maps whenever they are lost in an unfamiliar place. The sense of security of knowing the whereabouts of the people in their life.

Looking back, i think it is amazing how people behave so differently before the smartphone revolution came about. One question comes to mind when we compare the days before and after our smartphones invaded our life is that, by drawing a “closer” distance through connecting with people/environment on our smartphones, are we, in fact, repelling away instead? For example, people in the past would make extra effort to meet up with each other VS people today who could “stay connected” with text messages/facetime without actually talking face-to-face. After all, emotional attributes is still something technology can never replace isn’t it?

Assignment 6 Part 2: Reading

<Thoughtful Interaction Design By Jonas Lowgren and Erik Stolterman>

What is good design?

This question stood out to me because as a designer, I would often ask myself this question. It is interesting to realise how the idea of “good” design is never definite, or rather, subjective. Along with this, it changes with time as we grow as a designer through our different encounters and experience. Hence, I agree with Lowgren’s statement about how we cannot reach a simple definition of what constitutes “good design”. Such a definition is too complex to formulate once and for all.

While i believe that “good” design cannot be measured, it can be “accessed” through certain factors e.g. how functional is the design? Personally, i believe that “good” design has to be honest as it communicates solely the functions to its user and is valued through “emotional experience” with the user.

“A good design is always the simplest possible working solution” – Dieter Rams

Next, the author mentions that the design process is a complex process, consisting of errors and mistakes. On top of this, I feel that the design process is also the most valuable part of design. It is the crucial process where understanding and communication between the designers, suppliers/makers, product developers or even everyone who are involved in the design making in their various respective fields. The video that i have attached illustrates my point about the importance of team work in the design process. I find this video interesting in giving us a glimpse of how real-life design process in major leading companies like Ikea is like and most importantly, how a successful product can only be made possible through team works from people of different fields.


The next point that i find interesting is design includes responsibility.  The common situation we find ourselves in as designers is how we tend to push the responsibility to clients. The complex relationship between the client, designer, and the user in the design work is indeed hard to grasp and as a designer, i find this is the most challenging part of design process. Yet, it is also the most valuable lesson/skill that every designer will learn along their design career path.

Qn 1: How do we strike a balance between the designer and client’s requirements during the design process?

Qn2: Can something be considered a “good design” if it is not ethically/environmentally responsible? (assuming if it is an ingenious or possibly useful idea)

Assignment 5

Part 1 Reading

Carrying behavior is about knowing where our belongings are, being able to access them at just the right time, and feeling secure in their safekeeping. This point makes me recall of the time era before smartphones and social media swept the world, where people could “survive” without having their mobile phones with them. Comparing this to people today, leaving our homes without our smart phones can be almost seen as an “impossible feat”. We can see how, as technology brings us convenience, it certainly comes with heavy, and rather “unhealthy” reliance on them too. Increasingly, we’re learning how to apply the ways we carry tangible objects toward our intangible, digitally based possessions.

Next in point, I have learnt the interesting term, range of distribution, which refers to the distance that people are willing to let physical objects stray when they’re out and about. We can see how the criteria (the perceived risk of danger, the actual risk of danger, and the perceived and actual need to keep items close at home for convenience), reveal more about the security or level of crime rate in a specific context. In this case, Chipchase’s sharing about people’s paranoia behavior on their possessions in Shanghai, is indeed a good example to show us about the environment and culture of a context.

Another term worth to take note, center of gravity, that refers to where we aim to set an object down and the first place we look to retrieve it. I think this is an example of mental mapping or visual object memory in human’s brain, where we have subconscious memory of the exact locations of where our personal belongings are kept. However, of course, with the help of technology to store such details and information, our daily lives are undeniably made more convenient. When things become digital, the range of distribution equation changes. Those yo-yo strings can be much longer, in terms of physical distance, time distance and distance from consciousness.

It is interesting to note how cultural context can have different meaning and interpretations of ownership or carrying behaviors. In countries like Afghan, where the perceived rick of theft is so high that tangibility is believed to be the only form of security – if you can’t see it, you don’t own it. This is compared to developed countries where people would minimize the number of tangible objects to carry around due to inconvenience. The perceptions of “ownership” in developed and undeveloped countries clearly differ.

This brings me to the next point, if our goal to lighten consumers’ loads and help them be more efficient with what they carry, we could try to either reduce the risk of losing things, reduce the cost of recovering or replacing those things, and/or make it easier to live without carrying those things around. One of the simplest ways to accomplish all three is to allow people to use more while owning less. e.g. Zipcar. As more of what we carry becomes digitalized and networkable, and as we develop identification systems to allow us secure access and payment to the network, we will see radically different ways to interacting with and using goods. I think this is a definitely more efficient, convenient way of having our “belongings” with us, everywhere and anywhere we go. In a sense, gone is the idea of having our very own “personal” belongings, as it seems to function and operate on a “public goods” basis. Goods can be scattered around a city in areas where they’re likely to be accessed; when someone picks up an object to use it, the object identifies its user biometrically and automatically bills for the duration of access. I think that this system is not only smart and highly efficient, as people do not have to worry about risk of theft; it is a big step in establishing an almost “virtual” world through technology.

However, digital evolution is certainly not without perils. E.g. Chipchase’s crossing into Libya, lost all cell connectivity, which meant losing their entire support structure – maps, email, phone, web access. Losing those lifelines left them feeling naked, more exposed to the dangers, but it also forced them to heighten their awareness of where they were at every moment, where they had come from, and how to get back there. Hence, from this example, I think that striking a balance between technology and nature is the ultimate key to “survival” in the future ahead.

Q1: In the smartphone era today, we have clearly witnessed how human face-to-face has been greatly reduced e.g. we see how people in the train today are engrossed with their smartphones, there is not much human interaction at all. With the proliferation of ubiquitous technology in the near future, where people could access anything everywhere without the need for human interaction, will this be a social concern?

Q2: With the convenience of smartphones today, people can carry many things with them, wherever they go e.g. carrying edictionary in their smartphones instead of a heavy dictionary book. However, there are some things that are still preferred to be done in the old, “traditional” ways e.g. how many people today still prefer reading books in the conventional way (hardcopy) than on their smartphones of kindle. Hence, will technology be able to truly replace some of this experience that we enjoy in the old, conventional ways?

Part 2: Example of ubiquitous technology

Example 1: Future with Samsung

Example 2: OmniTouch

Screen shot 2016-09-10 at PM 03.01.05

Read more:


Assignment 3

Part 1

 While people are surrounded by phenomena constantly, maps can bring about conscious awareness and comprehension. They call our attention to a few elements in our world from the millions of things we could be noticing. They also provide information about its attributes and a view of how those elements are related to each other spatially. In this way, maps provide a visual narrative of our world and how things work. And in addition to telling a story, maps suggest how we might navigate our world.

However, having to say that, there are often times when one is given a map and still faces difficulty in finding his or her ways. Personally, I find conventional print map not as helpful as the “map” we have in our conscious mind. This could be related to the sense of feeling we recognized when we see familiar places, objects or sometimes, a déjà vu moment we experience. It is a certain language that is not static, but constantly being renewed and recreated. For example, when one pass by street A, he or she might have recognized a specific building or site like an Indian shrine, taxi stand or even little details like a specific red pillar with graffiti painted on it. It is in the human mind that we subconsciously knew these symbols existed but never really looked at them or thought about them much. By objectifying them with the frame of camera as the central focus, naming them street symbols, organizing them into typologies, and mapping their existence, they became a thing.

After all, maps are about a process or performance rather than an end product. And everyone’s ways of mapping would differ from one to another. Some might use their sense of sight while others might seek comfort in mapping through smell, hearing, touch or even taste. One example of mapping through performance is Beijing artist, Qin Ga. He participated in the project from Beijing by remotely following the Long March team’s movements. The artist first tattooed a map of China onto his back, and then would tattoo each new site that the Long March team would arrive at in its respective position on the map, permanently leaving behind each route and site.


The final site of the Long March and the foundation of a new Utopian society (2005) Copyright © Qin Ga


When the Long March team declared a temporary stop to the project on September 2002, at Site 12 (Luding Bridge, Sichuan Province), Qin Ga’s tattoo work also stopped. Through a small needle, the 25000 li (6,000 mile) Long March was miniaturized onto Qin Ga’s back. His body is both an artwork and a Long March object, combining together elements of history, and collective and individual memory.

Every time they reached a new site, he would have the site and route tattooed onto his back, recording the process with video and photography, as well as collecting the daily items used during the journey as an archive of the process itself. Traveling with him were tattoo artist Gao Xiang, photographer and cameraman Liu Ding, Gao Feng, and Mei Er.


Remotely following the Long March team’s progress in 2002 Copyright © Qin Ga (Source:

Hence, we see how mapping involves not just the human memory, but about the experience we gain through the journey.


Part 2: Reading Response

Sidewalks have the potential to be a remarkable democratizing space.

One point that hits me the most throughout this reading regards the debate over competing conceptions of the sidewalks. In fact, it was not unique to Ho Chi Minh City but gaining policy attention in cities around the world e.g. Singapore City. As people continue to migrate to urban centers at unprecedented rates, sidewalks are particularly important for the lower income and marginalized urban dwellers who try to make their living in this space. As seen in the picture below, we see local vendors making a living by selling homemade food on a common sidewalk in Ho Chi Minh City.



Community recreating and vending practices on the sidewalks have also been viewed as sites of “authenticity”. Take Singapore for example, conservation of built heritage is an important part of urban planning and development. Historic areas like Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, and Little India as they add variety to the urban landscape environment, stimulating visual interest and excitement within the city. The conservation of these buildings and areas is testament to the rich architectural, historical and cultural heritage. It also adds to the distinctive character and identity of Singapore city a multi-racial, cultural place. More importantly, they give people a sense of history and memory even as they move into the future.


Unofficial Cobbler Square located at Exit C of Chinatown MRT Station



Recreating Singapore Street Food


Next in point, I have also learnt that urban design that has been generated by idealized design principles without being informed by ethnography can produce disastrous results. The author mentions how spacial ethnography joins together social science research and physical spatial analysis to uncover how sidewalks are actually used and social processes and meaning of that use. Hence, it is important for the designer to be informed about the particular society and how their work interact with different subgroups of the population while making bold interventions and contribute a personal aesthetic vision. I think this point is not only relevant to urban landscape designers/architects, but also useful to designers in any fields as a whole. This is because understanding before designing is one of the most important aspects in design process.

Setting this into local context, I have learnt that urban design process should include going out to the site and interviewing and observing people. For example, urban redevelopment authority of Singapore made use of a “3R” Principle: Maximum Retention, Sensitive Restoration and Careful Repair. The original structure and architectural elements of historic buildings should be retained and restored as far as possible, without reconstructing the entire building. Parts of the building should only be replaced when it is absolutely necessary. Before any conservation work begins, thorough research and documentation should be carried out on the conservation building to ensure that quality restoration work is carried out through careful and accurate repair. This process helps ensure that the conservation works adhere to the 3R principle.