[Response] Calibrating Your Cultural Compass

Just like the title of the book, Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers, the contents that Chipchase touched upon in this reading is indeed knowledge that I feel, is subconsciously within all of us, and only requires a bit of probing to get people to start thinking about them. In fact, I feel that this is the purpose of User Experience in Design, to get us to notice things that we often take for granted. Continue reading [Response] Calibrating Your Cultural Compass

[Response] The Design of Everyday Things

In the first chapter, Norman introduces us to the concept of Human-Centred Design (HCD), as well as two of the most important characteristics of good design — discoverability and understanding, and the six fundamental psychological concepts that discoverability encompasses: affordances, signifiers, constraints, mappings, feedback, and conceptual model.

Continue reading [Response] The Design of Everyday Things

Excursion to Harvey Norman

Comparison of two products with the same purpose

Both of the products are coffee makers. While Kenwood took a much more simple and conventional approach to a coffee maker — incorporating the usual components, the Dolce Gusto took on a more futuristic approach and strayed far away from the regularity of a conventional coffee maker. I prefer the Kenwood coffee maker to that of Dolce Gusto even though the latter is more daring in terms of design approach. This is because Kenwood’s appear to be more straightforward and easy to use. The aesthetics of Dolce Gusto appears to lean more towards the emotions node because of its attempt to invoke a sense of futurism, while Kenwood leans more towards the function node.

Trends observed includes a return to vintage, less mechanical/intimidating aesthetics, more round edges, and bright and pastel colours.

Giving “forms” to products

From the previous lecture, we understood how the aesthetics of products are influenced by three major factors: Function, Human, Emotion.

Of which, it is determined by the more dominant factor.

Below are the three products I have categorised according to the three dominant factors which I feel have influenced their aesthetics.


This is a tilting teacup designed by Magisso.

I feel that the product is function-dominant because of the overall simplicity and intuitiveness of its design.  The intention of the product is to help tea enthusiasts brew the perfect cup of tea. Users are able to adjust the strength of their tea by tilting the teacup.

The design of the product is very straightforward; even without an instruction booklet, users will be able to understand how the teacup is meant to be used.

I feel that the Lililite, a bed reading lamp designed by Thijs Smeets, really embodies human-dominant aesthetics. Smeets take into consideration the habits and needs of avid readers and transformed them into his design.

Everything an avid reader needs is housed in one design; space for them to place their books, and a physical bookmark that acts as an on/off switch for the book light below.

All in all, I feel that this is a product that was designed with human as its utmost consideration.

Lastly, we have the Heifer Pitcher.

It is a double walled glass pitcher that features the shape of cow udders on the inside. The first word that came into mind when I looked at it was “cute.” The designers behind the Heifer Pitcher intended for it to be a fun way to encourage children to drink their milk, and an object of amusement for adults. Regardless of the liquid in the pitcher, consumers will definitely have a fun time using it.




Naoto Fukasawa

The designer I best identify with is Naoto Fukasawa.




His designs are organic, minimalistic, and intuitive, which is closest to my design aesthetics and what I’d hope to do in future. Born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1956, Fukasawa has been described by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the world’s most influential designers. Fukasawa is a member of MUJI’s advisory board and has designed products ranging from kitchen appliances to ready-constructed cabins for getaways.

Lore 7: Entertainment

There isn’t much entertainment in the poverty stricken town, but on the rare occasions, you can see vendors making malt candy sculptures.



During the afternoon, adults and children alike will gather at a corner on the street and listen to the town’s storyteller weave his tales.

In the sect itself, members will come together to play chess during their free time. Each division will also prepare feasts to strengthen the bond within the sect. Occasionally, you can also see sect members playing various musical instruments or choreography martial arts dance. Sect members with nothing to do, will find pleasure in sitting in when the others are practicing.



You will need to skim through my lore 6 on celebration in order to understand the context of the 雪红日.



The head attendant beckoned the both of you to come closer, all the while wearing that impish smile on his face. You had both expected to hear something terrible, but what he told you far transcended anything that you can imagine.


“Why, the both of you are the blood banks for our lord. The kungfu they are practicing, which will give them unimaginable power, is too unorthodox. It poisons the blood of our lord. That’s where the both of you and the rest of the sacrifices come into play. Your pure blood is transferred into their body to replace their poisoned ones.”


Your eyes widened. What kind of a person would execute such a cruel act all for the pursuit of power? To treat humans worst than animals, to see them nothing more as disposable objects, indeed, only the person who gave innocent folks false hope just to smash it into bits is capable of such cruelty.


“Now enough chit chat.” The head attendant suddenly snapped. “I may like you now but I have no need for useless people. 雪红日 is coming soon. Earn your survival by helping the sect members to complete their errands. Do not say that I didn’t warn you, if I hear even one complaint against you–”


He tilted his head and the both of you can see death pooling in the silver of his eyes.


“I will make sure you leave here as dead bodies. ”



You’ve successfully convinced the head attendant to let the both of you stay. Now, it is time to prove your worth to him by helping him to prepare with the upcoming 雪红日 (xue-hong-ri; Red Snow Day, also has a double meaning of Blood Red Day). Be careful not to make a single mistake or you risk falling out of grace.

Lore 6: Celebration


The only major celebration in the sect is the day the sect leader exterminated all the smaller unorthodox sects in the area and claimed themselves the ruler of the valley and the land that surrounds it. In present time, the celebration takes place on the 12th of December every year. Legend has it that on that very day, the blood belonging to the enemies of the sect painted the snowy mountain red. Not only that, ever since that day, a rare type of flower that is blood red in colour managed to bloom while every other flower died. This day was therefore officially proclaimed as 雪红日. It has a double meaning. It could take on the meaning of its literal translation, Red Snow Day or its darker and more accurate meaning Blood Snow Day as in Chinese, snow and blood have the same pronunciation.



This particular flower is known as the hellebore. Of which many species are known to be poisonous. It is also the symbol of the sect and the sect leader is known to have a small red hellebore tattooed onto their right wrist.

During the celebration, the entire villa is decorated with red chiffon like cloth and one can find the presence of the hellebore in every nook and cranny of the villa. Sect members will choreograph a special formation with the skills they have learned and perform it during the celebration. This is the only time the sect leader will appear publicly to their following, even if only to kickstart the entire event.

Wine never stopped flowing and food is always available. Talented sect members will take turn to showcase their artistic talents and the ones that are exceptional will be rewarded by the division leaders. As the day is special, the villa is only protected by deadly traps. Despite that, highly skilled martial artists who had managed to find the sect by a stroke of luck and who naively tried to invade the sect have always faced death at its face, for the villa is impenetrable.

Lore 5: Law


Law in the town itself should have been upheld by the officials and the local magistrate court. However, due to the rampant corruption, laws of the town are manipulated to fit the needs of the rich and the powerful. It is not uncommon to see the sons of wealthy family walking away scot-free despite committing serious crimes neither is it uncommon for the officials to simply execute innocent people just to release their anger.


In the sect, the sect leader is the alpha and the omega. However, they rarely mete out punishments, they simply come up with a set of laws and pass down orders and expect them to be carried out. Only on the occasions where serious offences have been committed would the sect leader step in. Usually, the 5 division leaders are the one in charge of maintaining law and order.


Offenders would either be expelled or killed, depending on the severity of their crimes.

Betrayers will be killed.

Undercover agents from opposition sects will be killed.

Members caught stealing valuables will be flogged and whipped in public. If they were to do it again, they would be expelled.

Lore 4: Architecture

© Lark Trip


The town at the bottom of the valley is densely populate with houses that are packed very close to each other. However, due to the rampant tyranny by the corrupted officials, a lot of families and people have been killed and hence many of the houses are left vacant.


© People.cn


This is probably what the exit of the town into the forest that surrounds the valley will look like. A flat wooden bridge will connect the back of the town to the entrance of the valley.


© Trip Advisor


Inside the town will be main roads and many narrow alleys. During the day, commoners will come out and set up make shift stalls by the side of the road, selling crops, commoners’ desserts and other kind of food. Due to the hard life in the town, entertainment such as molten candy sculpturing are rarely seen.


© anhuinews


This will be the kind of houses the rich will live in.


© Wallpaperstock


It is not easy to find the location of the sect amongst the poisonous floras and faunas, but if you walk in the correct direction, you will eventually be able to find a pathway that can lead you to where the sect calls home.


© Visions of travel


Sect members’ living quarters are arranged accordingly to which division they belong to. The houses are all interconnected and to travel from one division’s quarter to the other, one must utilise the bridges that are built all around the enormous villa.


© wikipedia


The Science division conducts their experiments, research and manufacturing in tall pagodas such as the one in the picture.


© Historum


This is the parade square in front of the main hall of the sect leader’s living quarters. Every morning, young members will come together in front of the parade square for training. Throughout the days, the younger members will be allocated cleaning duties which involves trimming the shrubs and sweeping dead leaves away from the floor.


© Cits


In the center of the sect leader’s abode is a garden that is exclusive to them.


Most of the architecture in this world are built using rammed earth, stone, and wood.