Week 2: Ideas

Project Considerations:

1) Use energy harvesting tech (solar/wind)

2) Integrate with space

3) Public art, ecological system, resource generation and consumption

4) Biomimicry (kinetic)

5) Materials that won’t disintegrate due to the elements.


Image result for avatar set design Image result for life of pi islandImage result for life of pi islandImage result for glow worms


Group Discussion:

In the day light, it is something, in the night, it will be/create another. We can use solar panels.


  1. Jellyfish
  2. Mushrooms
  3. Willow Trees
  4. Corals
  5. Dragonfly wings
  6. Ferrofluid and watercolours

After Consultation:

  • sound might be distracting (study hub)
  • Collect water to change balance, effects
  • Water condition can be tricky to manage (drainage, algae etc)



Key concepts and learning from reading.

  1. EMPATHIZE – uncover insights by finding intangible meaning of experiences of human behavior.  I think it’s a humbling experience to empathize because we’re making other’s problem ours. Sometimes it will take discernment to pick out the real root issues beneath what is shared as well. Hence, it is important for us to go out there and experience and engage people and their life as much as possible. (Observe, Engage, Watch & Listen)
  2. DEFINE –  what is the problem? Empathizing can be seen as the more emotional/heart aspect. Defining is when we set aside these feelings and focus on the problem rationally by narrowing down from the wide range of information from the first stage. (Target group, Needs, Possible solutions). A good definition to the design should excite us and guide us the rest of the process so that we do not go off focus.
  3. IDEATE –  Generate ideas. Ideation is one of the most exciting phases for me because creativity and imagination are involved. It can be a messy process, overwhelmed with all sorts of potential solutions. I believe that in this process we should allow ourselves to churn out ideas that seem far fetched so that we do not restrict our momentum and flow of creativity. (Mind mapping, sketching)
  4. PROTOTYPING & TESTING – there are 2 different kinds of prototypes. The first is to bring our initial sketches to live. To communicate ideas and do initial testings to affirm if the product really tallies with what we thought it should be. These ideas will then we brought back to the drawing board to be built upon. The second kind of prototype is when we bring it out for users to try. This will reveal and loopholes or areas we’ve overlooked in the design. Bringing ideas into the context where they were found is a good way to learn how successful the product is.



  1. MRT
    Empathize untitled-2

    Crowded trains during peak hours. Frustration and anxiousness from not being able to board the train/bus despite visible room available. Commuters want to stand near the door so it’s easier to exit.

    Define People lose motivation to move deeper into trains/buses once they are on it themselves.
    Ideate 1) 4

    Windows of mrt replaced with screens. Entice commuters to move in by screening entertaining content (news, shows). Or use peer pressure by showing them the situation outside the train (crowded, replay how they looked like when they were outside of the train)

    2) 1

    Interactive floor to get people to move in through games or interesting interactions (like the flower petals we saw at Future World exhibition)


    Empathize Health conscious people or people with special dietary requirements need to be aware of the precise amount of nutrition they are taking. But current applications and reminders are troublesome to use and require a lot of self discipline to manually update what they’ve been eating. People who just started to monitor their food keeps forgetting to update. Nutrition values reflected are usually just estimates.  How can we make this process less of a hassle to them?
    Define People with special dietary requirements need a more effective system to track and manage their diet plans.
    Ideate 1) untitled-2

    Screen at the bottom of lunchboxes or plates to show them nutrition values as they eat. They dont have to measure and weigh their food during preparation which takes up a lot of time. Can also be used to encourage children with poor eating habits. Screen some cartoon at the bottom of the plate so they will clear the contents of the plate faster to watch the cartoon.

    3. One Man Omni Theatre

    Empathize City slickers spends majority of their life far away from the serenity of nature. It’s extremely stressful to live in a concrete jungle and only seek relief temporarily through digital entertainment or rare outdoor trips. Digital entertainment can generate more stress and adventurous trips can also be costly and inconvenient.
    Define We need a different approach to unwind.
    Ideate 1) d

    Using a one man tent and advanced projection/ screen interfaces, people living in the stressful cities can spend every night sleeping in whatever environment they want. In summary, it’s a one man omni theater that can teleport you anywhere in the world and let you be immersed there.


ASSIGNMENT 7 & 8 (Part 2)


  1. MRT 

At these 3 different points, commuters’ behavior and attitude changes. Outside the train, they feel frustrated and annoyed, they want people to move in so they can board the train. However once they are in the train, these feelings of anxiousness and angst fades away and they no longer feel the need and drive to move into the cabin. 

The idea is to replace these windows with screens.

Commuters will be able to see what was it like for them moments ago when they were queuing, see the crowded situation in the entire mrt or see selected shows or news that will entice them to move in to look at the videos.

2. SMART lunchbox

To help health conscious people or people with special dietary requirements be more aware with what they are eating. Specially designed lunch boxes can have screen at the bottom that they can track what they are eating while eating. The screen at the base reveals essential nutritional values that can be personalized to prevent over or under eating.

3.  One man OMNI Theater


Using a one man tent and advanced projection/touch screen interfaces, people living in the stressful cities can spend every night sleeping in whatever environment they want. In summary, it’s a one man omni theater that can teleport you to anywhere in the world, to be immersed there.


Part 1: Response to “Future World”


ezgif-com-resizeExperience design is design focusedon the level of engagement and satisfaction that a user of a product orservice experiences. A trip to the ‘Future World’ exhibition gave us an opportunity to experience what’s it like to be IN an artwork as compared to looking and understanding an artwork. It is different to me because there were instances where we were truly immersed in the environment that was designed. That allowed for deeper, more inclusive and overwhelming ways for us to be engaged. In turn, changed the way the message was brought about. It was more memorable and meaningful because instead of information being given in my face, the message felt very inclusive and real. For example, I could imagine if the experience from the exhibitions Ever Blossoming Life II and Crystal Universe were used to spread awareness of global crisis, it would truly leave an impact. Instead of just presenting data and facts, these environments teleports us to a different dimension where we truly understand and not just be overwhelmed with knowledge. Interacting with such environments or settings in a life sized scale helps me see beyond the current possibilities of design.

I think these technology and new way of engaging users will path the way to deeper communications through phenomenal experiences. Perhaps we are running out of words and images to present pressing issues and a new way of spreading such messages is to bring the environment to people, for them to not just see for themselves but feel for themselves.


Part 2: Start to work on final project proposals – prepare three ideas for a screen-based experience that you’d like to create (it can be speculative). Prepare a slide show to illustrate your ideas. The ideas can be based on any of the field trips done so far or can be something completely new.


Part 3: Find 3 examples of a product/project with thoughtfully designed user experience.


Stumbled upon these few websites which are very simply and well designed. The interface is intuitive, mostly making use of the action of scrolling to tell stories and advertise their products. I feel that the user experience in these websites are well designed because they don’t serve to just provide information but they are designed from the point of view of the user to convey information in a more engaging way. They are truly made to be experienced as users scroll at a pace they are comfortable with.

I especially enjoyed scrolling through the Coin website as the animations that follows from segment to segment is very engaging and introduces the card in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Only Coin


Cool Hunting


  • well designed headings
  • consistency in design
  • Page speed (dependent on us)
  • attractive calls to action
  • simplifies complicated series of products for users by asking questions from user’s POV.
  • Concepts makes us forget that we’re scrolling through a website

Swiss Flight


Drowning Simulator

this website simulates how it’s like to drown to increase awareness of wearing life jacket. Shows us how a change in perspective and letting users experience can bring forth a powerful marketing technique.



3 basic steps that users from all ages and walks of life can understand.

Design understands the wide range of users that uses these check out machines. It caters to the most essential requirements of the process of borrowing items from the library instead of providing bonus features.

The placement for the card slot which also flashes to capture attention is well thought out. The slot for receipts is sheltered with a curved piece of plastic so that intuitively we would not slot our cards there (minimize confusion). The instructional photos shown on screen are also very easy to understand and help the users use the machine even if they cannot read.


Step 1: Language Selection


Step 2: Inserting membership card


Step 3: Checking out of items (all at once). Remove card to end transaction.


I feel that Uber has well designed user experience in their app. It gives instructions and feedbacks one step at a time taking the user closer and closer to getting a ride. Each step is crucial and has a logical chronological order.

  1. choosing the type of car (give users the choice to choose what fits their needs)
  2. start location (able to see where the car is, assuring users thatas they are waiting, their car is indeed on the way)
  3. Estimated price given (suggests openess of the app, no overcharging)
  4. end location
  5. Allowed to share ETA (estimated time of arrial) and even progress of trip (safety issues?)

Part 4, Reading: CH01_Digital_Age_Goodwin.pdf

This reading talks about the process and methodologies of design. The aim of having a design process is to ensure that projects fall within time and economic constraints and that quality projects/ideas are articulated clearly to the rest of the production team.

One of the most important step in design is to understand for whom and for what we are designing for. Design is therefore heavily dependent on human senses, cognition and ergonomics.

Some of the important key takeaways from the reading:


affects product definition (what functionality a product has)

  • what activities does the product or service support and how
  • what workflow provides the best way for users to accomplish their goals
  • what information do users need at each point in that process
  • What information does the system needs from the users
  • How will users move from one activity to another
  • How is functionality segmented and manifested?Questions for our Principles:
    1. Does it help users accomplish their goals
    2. Will it help users minimize work?

PATTERNS are essential in design because they are building blocks of designer’s vocabulary. Principle are rules of grammar.

I agree that the stage of research is crucial as that’s where alot of inspirations and restrictions come from. Below are a few keywords that I extracted from another source that helps to describe the process of research sort out the wide range of information that we get during the research phase.

Digging, Clarifying, Expanding, Thinking, Clustering, Analyzing, Framing, Exploring.

As we design, it is crucial for us to put ourselves in the shoes of the users and ask very meticulous, precise questions on the very problem we are resolving. I agree that different  feed backs work for different context. Hence, it might be important for us to take up different personas and different point of views as we role play.





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: 15 Sep (0700 – 2300)


I saw people using their phones EVERYWHERE and ALL THE TIME. Most commonly they were using it to:

  1. Communicate (Through Whatsapp, Telegram, SMS etc. )
  2. Gaming
  3. Watch videos (mainly tv dramas)
  4. Social Media (facebook, instagram, snapchat)

Majority of the people I observed were giving undivided attention to their phones. Those watching videos had their phones in landscape position and a ear piece plugged in. But everyone observed were very engaged and concentrated, seemingly clueless about what’s going on around them. What’s irritating was that they were still in this deep level of engagement with the phone even when they were walking – they would just walk in their own pace and not bother if they were in the way of other people.

I’m shocked to realize that the need and desire of being constantly engaged with the phone was so great. I’ve seen one person just scrolling the home page of his phone (probably because he had no internet connection). I’ve seen a few more others scrolling through Facebook at such great speed that you know they weren’t reading but just letting the Facebook posts pass them by.

DAY 2Do 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?


The difference was that there were less distractions but also alot more inconvenience. But I realized the things I depended on my phone for could actually be replaced with alternatives. The internet was very dearly missed in this 24 hours. At the end of the day when I checked my phone and looked through the messages, there were ALOT of them. But only 2 -3 chats concerned me directly. I felt like I gave myself more attention through this experiment because I wasn’t distracting myself with my phone but had to face my bored thoughts and manage them. I also became way more observant and curious about the things around me.


Good design of digital artifacts balances SPEED and USABILITY. It also takes into consideration the expectations and requirements from the user, societal laws and ideological considerations. It is also a continual and long term process. It is difficult to pinpoint if a given design (solution) is good in a short term as these designs should continually be worked on and pushed for greater outcome.

Since design is unique, ethical, aesthetical, political and ideological…

This statement that the author made allowed me to reflect on the true power of great design and the responsibility that a designer has. It is not easy to understand other’s peoples concerns and point of view and yet not compromise on my own values. It is increasingly difficult to come up with good design because things are changing constantly and also because it is extremely difficult to take into considerations all the other designs that will interact with my design and how it will work out. This is to say that users experience design not as isolated objects but they are experiencing it as they experience other designs as well.

To summarize, if design is all about people it brings us to a higher moral level because we’re no longer just consumed with ourselves, we want to better the lives of others.

Came across this video the other day. He shared about how design thinking changed with changes in the world. A few key things i picked up:

  1. Design is human centered even if it integrates technology and economics. (we understand culture and context before we have ideas)
  2. Prototypes speed up the process of innovation (putting our ideas out in the world helps us understand its strengths and weaknesses)
  3. Design thinking explores potential of participation (from profit driven to a place where people experiences are meaningful, productive and profitable)

And I’d like to suggest that if we take a different view of design, and focus less on the object and more on design thinking as an approach, that we actually might see the result in a bigger impact. In the case of design, that means balancing desirability, what humans need, with technical feasibility, and economic viability.

– Tim Brown



PART 1: Reading Response

The four drivers – security, convenience, reliability and peace of mind which the author listed out as the fundamentals on which we decide what to carry in our bags is essentially what majority of the urbanites would base their daily decisions on as well. For example, where to stay or what to eat. Most people would want to stay in a well connected area with low crime rate and established with shops or marketplaces. When it comes to food, we generally want food that would not poison us and would not require us to run after chickens for their meat. Hence, the four drivers are very applicable and useful to help us understand the user’s point of view in the design of any product or service.

How does

  • range of distribution (distance that people are willing to let physical objects stray)
  • owner’s sense of object value (project or protect it)
  • centers of gravity
  • point of reflection
  • redundant compensation

influence the way we design things that are meant to be portable? These are carrying behaviors that differ for different objects. By observing and understanding the thought behind how people treat different objects, we  can design to change messy behaviors or cater the design to fit into such behaviors so that it becomes inclusive and more people would use it.

Something that caught my attention was when the author said,

Now, just because you can easily fit all those things in your pocket doesn’t mean you constantly need them … … And simply because you can reduce them to bytes doesn’t mean you’re ready to get rid of their tangible forms.

I feel that when it comes to decision on what we carry or own, emotional values that we attribute to that object plays a significant role as well. Even when we refer to what’s digitalis-ed like phone applications, I’m sure there are some applications in our phones that we don’t use as often but just leave it there. However, when it  comes to cloud storage, the emotional values attributed to what we upload might be diminished. This is because the storage space available seems infinite, we won’t need to weigh, compare and choose what we want to keep anymore, just dump everything online. In this way, the frequency where we think about what we really need decreases and we just keep everything.

Question 1: Are emotional values attributed to things subjective? What are ways in which we can influence it?

Question 2: Will we be able to accurately and efficiently predict and expect user behavior online if users are spammed with an even greater amount of choices? (they could just be mindlessly clicking instead of really thinking about what is it they want)


PART 2: Place, Location and Ubiquitous technology

solar FREAKIN roadways.

The way the guy speaks is really quite annoying.

But the thought of having smart roads is really exciting. These roads will be able to take care of themselves (melting snow and ice, alerting us if there are damages, customized to transform into a new space and improve visibility and safety). If made from recycled materials, it will really help us resolve to a great extent what we could with the plastics that we can’t get rid of.

LUNA: smart mattress

I really liked this one because I’m going to wake up at the right side of the bed every morning with coffee waiting for me. I think it encompass very nicely what ubiquitous technology is about – everyday objects communicating with each other, without a need for us to interfere and improving our lives.


Part 1: Experimental Map

Maps are reliant on our sense of sight and our ability to compare what we see in actual against the text printed on the map. It works because there’s nothing subjective about this. In regards to road signs and building names, what you see is what I see. But these maps serve the sole purpose of helping us find our bearings.

Experimental maps can be used to guide us to experience a place rather than to find a place. I’ve observed that people generally are very consumed with technology wherever they are. We are constantly looking into the virtual online world rather than being fully present in what’s in front of us. We don’t pay attention to what we hear or what we see. If we didn’t use geographically accurate maps, we could have fun by mapping experiences that we share at certain places that are unique to us. It’s like mapping our culture and our way of life.

This may be done through recording thoughts or background noise that strike a common chord within us. For example we hear a description of an experience, “I felt a little claustrophobic as my personal space was greatly invaded. I held my hands close to myself and shifted my weight from heel to toe to keep balance. There was a sour stench coming in waves that forced me to hold my breath. *beeping of doors closing*”. In such a description we could probably resolve that we’re in the MRT during peak hours. It’s like a map, because it gives an objective account of an experience and it works because what you felt was what I felt.

Part 2:  Reading

On The Map
Documentary about Annette Kim and the Sidewalk Lab

The maps are really cool: http://slab.today/maps/ 

“Intelligent design solutions require an understanding of the design problem.” (Kim, A. M.). This reading brought fresh perspective on improving user experience through a discussion on an usually overlooked tool – the map. It talks about how a deep and established understanding of existing experiences with products or services is crucial to the improvement of them. One of the ways to establish this understanding is to go beneath the obvious and observable to find out why things are as such (history of sidewalks in HCMC and to whom they belong). This is also supported by the study of why the HCMC government were chasing street vendors out of the sidewalks because they had inaccurately presumed that tourists wanted clean sidewalks. On top of that it is also important to understand why certain service or product works so that we can push boundaries and still ensure feasibility. For example in this case, maps work because they are objectively factual and readers have a universal interpretation of them. The author was able to use these two qualities to come up with a new map that maps the unseen qualities of the sidewalks in the city and help people see that there are better ways to plan public spaces, not just with an economical agenda but to consider social concerns as well.

Another takeaway on understanding how people experience a space was to overcome habitual seeing and see space not just as a physical phenomenon but also a social one. This was achieved through recording spatial patterns and social relations in the sidewalks. The example was how the author noticed that there was actually a system behind the seemingly messy street vendors in HCMC and this was the system that she was trying to map. Lastly, I’ve gained insights on the usefulness of a map. As a visual representation of spatial relationships,it also tells a story of property and power relations. As a visual convention, it is able to frame and conceptualize what we see.

How could we effectively draw attention to experiences or issues that people have grown to overlook?

Is it overwhelming to map experiences because so many things are going on at once, how could we draw the essence of it?


Part 1: Documentation and Analysis of MRT.


My group came up with a list of issues that we identified for both the train ride and the bus ride. Below are some accompanying photos to show what we observed.


Out of all the issues raised, the following 3 were chosen to be studied in greater details.

Observation Problem Solution
Font size too small for most of the signs People do not notice the signage and can’t be bothered to put in the effort to read them, missing out on important announcements.
  • Larger font sizes, better contrast, more space. Attention symbols LED boards inside the bus
  • Physical signs with bus stop names to be placed BEFORE the bus stop
  • Have a automated voice say where the next stop is (Like the MRT)
  • Phone app that helps people to map their destinations and alerting them to alight.
Passengers refuse to move into the rear of the buses. Limit the capacity potential of the bus.
  • Use speakers to allow drivers to encourage passengers to move in.
  • Longer buses, allow people to board from the back door as well.
  • Change of tone in the reminders – polite to more authoritative and humorous.
  • Redesign of the bus so that the exit door is at the back.
  • Incentives to motivate passengers to move in.
Disembarking passengers from upper deck clashes with boarding passengers from lower deck Takes a long time for passengers to board and alight.
  • Bus captain can let passengers alight before opening the front door for passengers to board.
  • Redesign of bus so that stairs is right at the bus exit.

Part 2: Reading

I got really excited reading this chapter because I could relate to the joy of gaining personal and more profound experience through exploring new places in the ways the author suggested.  I personally prefer immersing myself among people and places rather than hearing or reading about them. Interviews and write-ups more than often are biased feedbacks because they might subliminally be carrying the author’s agendas of reproaching or endorsing the culture or a people group. However it is also important to strike a balance between experiencing the cultural difference for myself and listening to other people because their sharing can most directly and bluntly reflect any needs or problems that design could resolve.

What struck me was the suggestion on breaching behaviors to quickly understand the unwritten rules in a culture. It’s refreshing to realize that coming up with original ideas could be achieved by pushing the “safe” boundaries. We might be missing out on brilliant ideas because we label ideas that do not comply with the social norm as “untouchables”. But just as the author mentioned, these norms do evolve as time passes, and our pre conceived knowledge of these unspoken rules can prevent us from creating products that are extraordinary.

Another insight was when the author mentioned about comparing the understanding of a new culture with my own. Finding out the similarities between cultures could help to design products which are relatable and enduring because it’s based on experiences that I am familiar with. The differences could help to modify the product to cater better to a specific group of customers by increasing the worth and value of it to them.

However, as I bring my own experiences and culture norms to a different place. I tend to see things differently from locals as well. How then can I be sure that the nodes of conflict I identify are things that matter to them as well? Perhaps they are so used to it and see it as a part of their identity instead of something that needs to be resolved. Similarly as we design for our own people group, how could we see from a fresh perspective because we are so adapted to the way things are here?

Secondly, this approach of research seeks that we understand and see from the perspective of the customers. How practical is this approach of research if we only have a limited amount of time? Being able to empathize with the customers’ needs will take longer than a day or two of “Going Native”. Wouldn’t this approach in the short run then be as good as gaining this understanding through online measures?