Week 7+8 Assignment – Reading response

Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin.

It’s so accurate the describe the world as shaped by humans and to suit themselves. We seem to be constantly inventing tools to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Efficiency and convenience are a big part of innovations these days.

The statement about our different modes of communication is also something which technology has boosted. Thanks to technology, particularly smartphones, we are able to ‘talk to someone’ in a variety of different ways. And not always audibly but through the use of images, other visuals, sounds, gestures and other movements. Popular trends of social media like snapchat make it so easy to send photos to people to communicate something -where you are/what you’re doing/how you’re doing/for no reason at all, even without the use of words or intention for conversation.

“Design is the craft of visualising concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints.”

I like this quote because it summarises what it is to design. It also alludes to the idea that design is a mix of science and art, which I agree with! Design is creative problem solving that aims to serve human needs/goals. I think that with the influence and growth of technology design is moving towards being for functional, everything has a purpose and a goal. Design therefore appears to be improving and developing alongside that of technology.

The digital age has offered new challenges and capabilities to design. Airline customer touch points has really impacted from this – as I was leaving home to fly to Singapore I was amazed at how much technology had taken over the whole process, even for long haul flights, and the general lack of people involved in the process. I checked-in using a machine, printed my ticket and baggage sticker, but my bag into a weighing machine which deemed it okay, which then put it on the conveyor belt to get it to the plane. At no point during the check in process was I faced with anyone who worked for the company!

Product and service design, instead of experience design, is an interesting idea because obviously the designer wants to create a particular experience but a valid point is raised here about the chances of everyone having that same proposed experience perhaps being unlikely. Should the designer therefore create an opportunity for a particular experience, or should they just create an environment for any experience to take place, subject to the individual? Is product and service design successful simply by providing an experience to the user, or must it be the particular and intended experience?

Interaction design/Graphic design/Information design/Industrial design – it is interesting to consider how they all link and contribute to Experience design. HCI and IA design is also comparable. Will one trump all other one day, or will they somehow all merge? It seems confusing and an exaggeration to have so many different ‘types’ of design when they are similar and cross over in so many ways. I imagine that designers would have skills in a few of these areas because of this overlap.

I like the label of Goal-Directed design, however isn’t all design goal-directed? With regard to the design process, surely a designer cannot progress without a goal and a plan or achieving it? Despite not all design perhaps having a functional aim (maybe its just about aesthetic value) it must have an end goal or else what drives the process?

Incredibly, personas and other methods that have been developed and are still successful tools used today in the design process. It seems wise to mix new and successful methods to be most effective in creative problem-solving. Personas is a method I have used for a past project and I found it a good way to make sure that the product did everything it needed to, and that it would cater to all audiences it was intended for.

Principals – guidelines, can’t all be applied in all contexts, not all created equally -help user accomplish goal/help user minimise work?

Patterns -solutions used for similar problems, inform designers vocal

Processes -planning (objectives, idea, schedule)/research (define, decide, interviews, ethnographic research)/modelling (analysis, trends, personas)/requirement definition (implied factors, highlights needs)/framework definition (objectives, solutions)/detailed design (plan, refine, collaboration, determine product specifications, user testing)/implementation support (construction support, ongoing)

Practices -team structure, communication, collaboration, small team, team environment

These elements are a good reminder of how the design process works -it is not a straightforward journey, but consists of many influential factors that need to be considered.

Week 7+8 Assignment – FutureWorld review

Future World: Where Art meets Science exhibition at the ArtScience Museum @MBS.

This was such a cool exhibition! One that was definitely on my list of things to do whilst in Singapore. It was incredible to experience a place with so many interactive exhibits, as a view it really helped me to connect to the space.

We were very fortunate to have someone to show us around as it wasn’t always clear exactly what the artworks could do -but I imagine thats part of the fun exploring.

I think that exhibition showed that experience design has a large focus on the users experience when faced with a product or service. It should induce a response from the user and provide an experience. Future World also highlighted that there are so many kinds of responsive environments. There were exhibits that responded to touch, motion and proximity and they produced different effects.

I believe this has the power to really influence the world around us. We can see how technology is taking over to rapidly and becoming part of everyday life. Things are becoming more responsive and automated which enables us to almost think less and do more. Although Future World is perhaps more aimed at being a children’s playground, it is just as exciting for older people because of this integration of interactive technologies. It is a new technology to everyone and therefore we find it so interesting!

The Future Playground is an example of this as it has integrated technology into children’s toys. Not only do you play with wooden blocks, but moving them around the table then results in a change of animation/projection so it appears the environment is responding to your actions.

Communication appears to be becoming more than just verbal form. The artwork of illuminated colour blocks shows another form of communication -when the blocks match up correctly together then they both light up the same colour, and will change back when moved apart. This form of communication is received visually and immediately.


Nature, the moving illustrations of flowers and butterflies respond to your movement and swarm around areas of shadow/standing, and the butterflies disintegrate if you hit the wall as they fluttered past.

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100 Years Sea Animation, showing the effects of global warming.



Future Playground, Connecting! Train Block, the animation reacts to the blocks moving location on the table. This action creates new pathways and alters the thriving cityscape for the various trains, planes, boats and cars. img_9977


A Table Where Little People Live, characters and projected onto the table that will try to jump over your hands when you place them on the table too.


Sketch Town, depicting Singapore city, you are able to colour-in vehicles and buildings and scan them through onto the projection transforming the 2D drawing into a 3D animations.

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Media Block Chair, stacking blocks together makes them change to the same colour. You can construct furniture, towers and other structures. The boxes communicate as they connect and discontent by changing colours. img_9981


Light Ball Orchestra, touching the balls changes the colour and sound produced from the ones around it.
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Create! Hopscotch for Geniuses, your drawings customise the hopscotch with different arrangements of shapes. When you complete the course, the colours stepped on trigger another projection of colour and pattern on the other wall.img_9986

Story of the Time When Gods Were Everywhere, touching hieroglyphic characters makes them transform into natural elements like fire and trees, narrating the story of creation. img_9987 img_9988

Crystal Universe, more than 170,000 LEDS to create the effect of stars moving in space as well as planets, galaxies and gravitational waves.

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It’s so cool reading about the different projects Teamlab has been involved in. They have aimed to portray the natural world in many of their artworks. They have even recreated the way that the landscape never looks the same by having a continuous rendering of the programme used- instead of an animation or loop. The fact that many of their pieces are interactive shows their understanding that human behaviour (and other environmental factors) all have an impact on the natural world.


Nature is also a theme in this piece as it emulates the phenomenon of fire through use of bright coloured LEDs and various sounds. It even expresses the continuously changing and transformative quality of fire by not using pre-recorded imagery but constantly programming the spectacle (like the above artwork).



I like how the Crystal Fireworks artwork has incorporated the use of smartphones as the means to activate a response from the LED light exhibit. This grants everyone the ability to interact with the exhibit as phones are a very current and popular form of technology.

It would be so interesting seeing this piece displayed outdoors! The external environmental influencing factors would be very apparent -the best visibility would be at night time and I wonder how it would be affected by wind/rain? At the exhibition however I think most of the amazement came with being surrounded and immersed in the exhibit, we were able to walk through it and experience it visually and audibly.


I think that involving the use of smartphone technology will encourage people to get involved in interacting with the exhibit.


Week 6 Assignment

Thoughtful Interaction Design by Jonas Lowgren and Erik Stolterman

I really enjoyed this reading and found it so inspiring! It is so interesting to read about simply being a designer and the responsibilities and excitement that can come with it. Studying in this area I regard myself as a designer already and this reading really made me think about what that means.

It means having the privileged to be creating and implementing new ideas into society, working with a range of people on a range of projects, constantly learning about new technologies and new ways to think about design and the design process. It incorporates the challenges and risks you have to accept in order to produce unique products/services, as well as the rewards of contributing to human life. Design spans across so many different areas, which you often forget, and works in so many different ways for example to allow certain behaviours, and even restrict them.

In a way this reading also reassured me that there is never a perfect design process and that things can often happen unintentionally and by mistake. Design is all about the process and if you don’t do that right and without making a few mistakes along the way, you might not create the most effective design. I think this ties in with the concept of being a thoughtful designer because you don’t immediately have the great idea/concept and implement it, you really have to go through the process to shape and develop an idea in order for it to fit with the user needs and functional requirements.

The design experience I’ve had has helped me to recognise good and bad design. Last year I completed a course on app design and since then I notice myself getting frustrated when apps don’t have the qualities or functions that they should have, or the design is just generally poor. Bad design really does stand out.

In saying that, who’s to say what functions they should have? Clearly just because a designed product/service is on offer, doesn’t necessarily mean it is successful or even useful. This addresses the balancing act of designers to please the client and the user, giving the client what they want and the user what they need. Should one have more input than the other? Ideally the client would also be able to relate to the user? As a user I feel annoyed when the app doesn’t serve the purpose I am using it for, or it is difficult to navigate. In today’s world when there is so much choice and variation, this user frustration is dangerous because if it’s not satisfying the user they will simply move on to another product. Therefore not only is it a challenge to keep up with new and improving technology, it must be done at a rate quicker or more effective than competitors.

I think this relates to the design as knowledge construction because everyone involved in the process needs a certain amount knowledge to get the most out of interaction design. As well an understand of the design solution, the reason and context for the design.

I liked the author’s comment about designing for the future from the now. How can we effectively design for the unknown? Do we just experience the now and recognise areas that could be improved? It’s funny to think about but it is exactly what happens, with technology advancements especially. Rapid change is a big part of our world today, in every manner, and we are forced to keep up with that. As designers we hold some of the responsibility to accommodate it, push the boundaries of what it can do and offer us, as well as being apart of implementing such change. After all, “to design is to create something new” and that is what we aim to achieve. “Design is an amazing activity” and I feel lucky to be in such an innovative industry where we have the power influence people and their lives in such a big way.


Using Technolology – Day 1

  • alarm
  • message friends/family at home
  • read the news during breakfast
  • snapchat throughout the day
  • listen to music at the gym
  • message friends to meet for dinner
  • message classmates for group projects

I’ve discovered I use my phone so much throughout the day! It even starts my day by the alarm waking me up. Then I check my messages/facebook/instagram (such an effort keeping up with social media right! Sad that we feel the need to). Another observation I made is that I’m often on my phone most in the morning time talking to friends from home because of the time difference and them being 4 hours ahead of Singapore. I often use my phone to communicate with friends here to meet for meals or to do something – go out/to the pool etc. I’d say I use my phone mostly for communication, more so now I am also trying to keep in touch with my family and friends back home, as well as those friends I have here. Other uses would be listening to music (generally and at the gym), taking photos, reading the news (which I try to do once a day, and often get update notifications of current events), checking emails, checking bank balance/transferring funds, setting reminders. Also there are a lot of times where I receive notifications which prompts me to use my phone, instead of me making the conscious decision to use it- terrible excuse when notifications can be turned off!

I’ve observed that everyone else is also using their phone almost every minute of the day. Our phones are never far away from us, on the desk as we study, in our hands as we walk, in our pockets during class etc. We have developed this reliance and habit of having it close by at all times. People walk around heads down on their phones, they use it on the bus, during meal times and while they study.

Going without technology – Day 2

  • No alarm
  • I was able to start my day without the delay in checking my phone
  • I probably paid more attention to that activities I was taking part in
  • I wasn’t constantly checking my phone for notification although I did miss checking the time! I should really buy a watch…
  • Wasn’t able to do much homework as its all on my computer -oh no!
  • I could relax better, I had less possessions to keep track of as well as things to keep track of

It was even tricky to choose the right day to do this because of how attached and reliant I am on my phone! On the weekend I went to Penang with some friends so took the day of our 15 hour bus ride to go without technology- even though that was during the night/morning. During this time I observed my friends using their phones to listen to music, take photos and message friends and I resisted!

I didn’t miss not having a laptop because I mostly use it for doing work or Facebook, and I was out doing stuff so I didn’t notice that change too much. Being without my phone though was a big change! Even just not carrying it or having it in my hand was different- how sad is that!

Luckily already being with people allowed me to have company or else I would imagine that it would have just been very lonely not having access to technology in order to organise meals/activities with other people, something you learn to do when you live by yourself. It also meant that I didn’t have the means to take photos (but my friends did phew!) but it did give me a sense of freedom. I didn’t have to worry about where my phone was (I find I get worried when travelling about loosing it as it would leave me very stuck!) or communicating with people and ‘keeping up to date with social media’ -nice to not have to do that! I did rely someone on my friends and their phones in order to take photos, find directions for us, plan where we were going to go – but nice that I could leave that to them! I felt more connected to my surroundings and definitely paid more attention to it.

I should really do this more often as it is so easy to get too attached to technology, phones in particular. But in today’s world it has become a tool that is required, and even requires constant attention -eg lots of my classes have group work and the way we communicate is obviously through technology. Social media sends constant updates (irrelevant!) but so do news websites/apps and I find it a good way to keep up to date with current events. I noticed this particularly during the Olympics and the updates were a great way for me to keep up the different events and particularly how NZ was doing as I got notified whenever our athletes competed or won medals! Basically technology has sucked us in and got us addicted to being informed. It offers us access to information about what is happening in our friends lives (can be relevant but not always!) as well as what is happening throughout the rest of the world.

Week 5 Assignment

Reading Response – Chipchase, Hidden in Plain Sight, You are what you carry CH4.

Again Chipchase has encouraged me to think about the ordinary and mundane tasks I perform in everyday life, in a way that I haven’t before.

I was able to relate to many of the points he discussed -I too have the ‘keys, money, phone’ point of reflection before leaving my room everyday to ensure I have remembered everything, but it was the analysis of these objects that interested me. Thinking about these objects in terms of offering us our primary needs is so accurate, and the secondary needs come from the other things we carry around -sunglasses, paper, pens, water, panadol etc are all ‘non-essential’ things that I take with me to alleviate my sense of perceived redundancies, they are the contingencies/items I may need.

This reading made me realise that I have a very small range of distribution, I like my belongings where I can see them. I think this is due to a high perceived risk, perhaps because I am in an unfamiliar country and still getting used to things in Singapore and also from past experiences like my house at home being robbed a few times. Therefore my sense of security has heightened both inside and outside of my home. Other contextual factors include being a foreigner and a traveller which has also boosted this sense of awareness and the safety of my surroundings. As I go to foreign countries my parents always remind me to be careful with my belongings particularly as getting replacements for any important documents/objects could potentially be very difficult being so far from home.

My organised personality has meant that I use centres of gravity to help me remember where I leave things. I try to put my things back in the same place (such as my keys/purse) and I definitely think that this mental convenience holds equal importance to the physical convenience.

The idea of physically carrying everything on your phone with you each day, instead of having it digitally stored, made me realise and appreciate the amount of information we have such easy accessibility to. Despite maybe not using all of my apps often, I still need them all as they will get used at some point. Chipchase touched on the idea of backing up data which made me recall how recently my mum’s hard-drive broke so we went to investigate getting it fixed and basically were told its not possible, they are made only to last a couple years and then you must purchase a new one. This seemed so strange to me because then you would have to back up one hard drive to another and surely you would run out of space very quickly? However this seems to be how technology is controlling us and taking advantage of our consumer practices, like how your iPhone will eventually slow down and loose function after a few years to encourage customers to buy a new one and constantly upgrade. Is this a result of technology advances occurring so rapidly or is it a marketing ploy to get us to continue to spend? It shows how we are “at the mercy of the network” and almost controlled by technology companies and the products that they produce.

I am intrigued by the idea of limiting our ownership while also increasing the number of things we use. This could increase the network of renting things, which already is a popular form of ownership. There seem to be so many platform sand opportunities to rent things temporarily rather than buying it as the use of that object doesn’t warrant or require a complete ownership. I wonder how far this concept could expand? There are already platforms for people to rent out their clothes, for example dresses for special occasions, so are there other objects that we use everyday which could be rented to us instead of purchased?

Finally I will address the notion of convenience, our need and appreciation of things to be smarter and faster. While the world is constantly changing and therefore technology is giving things the ability to be smarter and faster, should we really demand much more? The talk of putting sensors and tracking devices on us to analyse our habits seems too far! If we have companies guessing our next moves and being one step ahead where does that leave us? It takes away our control and our decision making, leaving these companies to influence our behaviours to the degree that they almost control them. I understand and appreciate technology and the ease and aid it allows us in different situations, however I would still like the ability to control my behaviours and be conscious of the decisions I am making without getting lazy and having it done for me. While “the easiest way to never forget anything is to never have anything to forget” (and that would be great) it shouldn’t be the end of the world if you accidentally forget something.


Ubiquitous Technology 

Ubiquitous Technology is made to feel accessible and available anytime, everywhere, in any device and in any format.

The trend of smart phones and apps make ubiquitous technology services accessible at any time and location, given you have cellular service. Google Maps for example uses ubiquitous technology as its GPS services mean that you can locate yourself on a map and therefore find your way to another location/find the nearby methods of transportation etc.

A futuristic* example is iris scanning being projected for use on PCs, ATMs and Smartphones. Iris detection capabilities are already used in various prisons and airports. The speed of recognition can be a few seconds which is faster than fingerprints, despite using more data points for the biometric identification. Iris scanning is a passive process unlike fingerprint scans where you have to touch the surface, which can be viewed positively and negatively. It removes the conscious action of opening/unlocking the phone/computer and would speed up the process by occurring immediately. However it could also activate the action without intention if the person wasn’t aware or wanting it. Every iris is different so it would offer excellent privacy and would be reliable as your eyes are always ready, unlike fingerprint scans which don’t work from a certain angle/wet fingers/has to be right finger.

* although the article was published in 2011 it still appears to be an idea for future investigation as it has not been commonly implemented