Week 3 Assignment


Part 1: Think of a way in which you could develop an experimental map using images, sounds and stories. Some ideas… What else would we use if we didn’t use maps to find our sense of place? How would you map the sounds you hear every day? How would you map emotions? How would you map the overlooked peoples or places of Singapore?

Maps changes through time and so does the people around it. Maps are often overlooked as a device for finding directions and bearings to our destination. Everyone has different stories to tell and experience to share in different spaces. However a common but varied experience most of us share would be food or public eating spaces. Examples would be the neighbor that sells homemade Popsicle or the ice cream man on his bike that rings his bell routinely. Familiarity but yet distinct experiences would occur thus the notion of ‘common nostalgia’.

These experiences phases out and gets replaced over time and would vary through generations. One way to preserve these experiences would be to compile and archive all these hidden experiences. A recipe book of memories (Memory Recipe) would be a way to look at it. The idea of looking through a recipe book with visuals of how it actually looked like, a brief and general description perhaps and even details of how to recreate the hidden neighborhood delicacy.

As we look through the recipe book, we could reminisce through the difficulties that we had to go through to get that particular DIY Milo popsicle and tell the tale to the next generation with recipes to allow them to experience its goodness. A common recipe with different individuals would map out different stories, locations and experiences as not every neighbourhood is the same.

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Week 1 Assignment – Part 4

This is a response to week 1 reading that is by Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things (1988)

A good design is an intuitive design. An intuitive design speaks to you naturally. No graphics, visuals or manuals for users to respond to. They react to it naturally and understands how to react with the given circumstance.  A good design is coherent in its visibility which maps the intended actions and actual operations.

Design practice nowadays tends to follow the trend of ‘minimalism’ or ‘simplicity’ with designers following blindly. The misconception of minimalism is often thought of removing as many visual cues leaving the product almost bare. Buttons are similar with one another with no visibility in the difference between its functions which is described from the reading as, ‘false causality’, and provides confusion for the user.

We as users blindly accepts these incoherent designs as common practice. ‘If I don’t know how to use it, it would just reflect negatively on me’, would be the kind of thoughts of a user who has no idea on how to use such a ‘simple’ product. Especially now that we are in the digital age where accessing information can be done quickly and easily.

This silent ‘acceptance’ by users would lead to designers further abusing the idea of ‘minimalism’ to their benefit. Products nowadays has so many hidden features and functions that are cleverly hidden behind the veil of minimalism that sometimes we as users has no idea that it has been around all along until the recent discovery by another.


Q1. How does a good design deal with minimalism but yet maps good visibility to its actual operations?

Q2. How would we as designers remind ourselves to not let ‘minimalism’ overshadow its functionality?

Week 2 Assignment – Part 2

This week reading is a chapter on Jan ChipchaseHidden In Plain Sight: How To Create Extraordinary Products For Tomorrow’s Customers.

After going through the reading, there were questions that I would subconsciously recall from the short trip out of school last week. Working and observing in groups as mentioned in the reading really does helps through meta cognitive learning. We also tend to turn a blind eye to signage be it in the form of notice boards or integrated in the infrastructure around us. Only when a situation arise would we frantically look for signage and we experienced this when we were looking for a ramp in the control station.

Also, signages would no longer appear mundane to me as it would provoke and generate questions when observing signages in the future. It would also be an interesting factor to consider when doing user studies later on.

It also answered most of my questions when I began my study on why I had to carry out certain techniques for user studies. It broadened my view on how to effectively input and apply the observations practically as part of my research studies for future design works.
Overall this reading was very much useful and raised my awareness on certain points and factors that I have always overlooked or deemed redundant when doing user studies.




1) Elaborate on formal and informal data collection?
-From my understanding formal data collection is going to the site with questions and objectives in mind whereas informal is to proceed to the context without any queries and freshly experience the phenomena of the context before settling down for discussions on discoveries. Is it along this line?

2) What would be the best method to conduct a cultural calibration in a group?
– Going to the site with questions and objectives prepared beforehand

– Discussing and asking questions while observing

– Experience and observe before discussing and asking asking questions