M-Train Week 1 Reflection On Design

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him. -John Locke

On Domain Mapping

· Start mapping with a topic of interest (focal point) and brainstorm as many insights as you can with no judgment. Quantity>quality in the first stage.

· Create connections between concepts through common traits. Combine your interest areas and create new concepts based on the connections.

On Good & Bad Design

Good Design

· Good design replaces complexity with usability and has a great social impact (ep: affordable medical products)

· Good design understands why users need this product (carry important items in the backpack); how they use the product (take it off from shoulder put it front and open it); observe & listen to users’ interaction with the product and take notes(inconvenience in reopen zip and can’t reach small items easily); redesign with clear solutions to improve user’s experience (have a hidden pocket easy to reach and safe to store important small items)

· Good design needs to be tested with many users with lowered to none default errors before going to production. (MUJI backpack has a default pocket design)

· Good design is a careful prevention or solution of daily problems that people get frustrated but cannot avoid.

Bad Design

· High-maintenance( iPhone screen get cracked easily and $$ to get replaced)

· Little affordability & signifier cause frustration (ep1. no clear sign in hot & cold water switch. ep2. no signifier on the door: pull or push?)

· Good and bad design often coexist in one product -> think it as a spectrum.

· Design is to first find out WHY then HOW. WHY do you design this? You need to directly communicate with your users to figure out the real problems, not because you like it to be simple or pretty. HOW can you justify your concept? You need rationales to back it up.

 On Research

· Proper questions lead to proper answers. Try to understand why users behave and react in certain ways and frame the questions accordingly.

· Users don’t know what they have in mind, users only know what’s in front of them. (Designers should not use it to manipulate!)

· Be risky. keep iterating.

· Dare to research on a totally unknown field. Narrow it down and refine your design concept along the way.

 On Presentation

· Have a hook at the beginning to get your audience (humor, question etc.)

· Maintain eye contact with the audience. Curb your impulse reading from the screen.

· Keep short bullet points & graphs on the slides. Add one slide of a summary to the project slide. Keep audiences’ reading to the minimum.

(I overwhelmed my group with this slide when presenting a UX project. They prefer to read bullet points or a brief summary)

 On Failures

· It’s a cumulative curve with a (delayed) breakthrough point. Be patient and nice to yourself.

· Pause and take a different project. Allow ideas come to you while you are not consciously seeking.

· Dare to self-study any complicated subjects that interest you.

· Keep iterating until the last moment. Take more risks!

· When in doubt, start doing it, even it doesn’t make any sense.

· “Chocolate helps.” -Carla

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