Ideation for improving cooking experience


Ideation, one of the most important tasks of designers, needs to be practiced and reflected on for numerous times. Project this week started with demonstrations about the basic concepts and skills for ideation, and then a practicing studio with further explanations about brainstorming.

The ideation topic in the studio was about trash. I came up with ten sketches in ten minutes, and then ten more sketches about variations for one of the previous one in another ten minutes.

Ideations done in studio

Initial set: ten sketches

The first part of the project was to create ten sketches about cooking. Without abundant experiences of cooking, I chose to ideate in directions of how to help beginners in cooking and how to motivate people to cook. As can be seen, most of my sketches were about simplifying the process of preparing food, which can be annoying for beginners in cooking, and about bringing people together to cook, like remote cooking class, apps and kitchenware regulation system for communal kitchen. As mentioned in lecture, I tried to defer judgement and welcome wild ideas, therefore quantity went up naturally.

Ten sketches of the initial set

The second set: ten variations

The second part of the project was to expand on one of the sketches in the initial set, and create ten variations of it. I chose to work on the condiment box, for in daily life a well thought-out tool for using condiments like ketchup and salt is helpful. After the ten variations I pick one of them to be my most promising sketch, concerning cost, feasibility, usability and portability.

Ten sketches of the second set

This is all the 20 sketches:

The total twenty sketches of this project

Problems met

I was once stuck in the second set of ten sketches. After the first variation was created, the image occupied my mind and hindered me from thinking of more images. Finally I realized how to combine & improve ideas to have more variations: variations can be not only made in the appearance, but also be made in the ways of interaction. Thus, I acquired a different angle of ideation, and by developing this angle and trying to find more angles with the same method, I have more inspirations and the rest of the sketching went smoothly.

I also spent too much time in drawing. I understood that sketches do not require high fidelity and vivid details, however my drawing skills were so poor that I met difficulties even just in explaining my ideas, and I had to draw several times to clearly visualize and convey my information. Drawing is not crucial to UX designers, but due to my problems in expressing ideas, in the future I still need to learn more about basic drawing skills and doodling, so that I can form and communicate my ideas more efficiently.

What environment did you surround yourself with? How did your choice of environment influence what happened during your sketching activity?

With the habit of studying in a quiet place, I went to the Quiet Area of Odegaard Library with this project, where I could focus on my work without distractions. Nonetheless I realized that limiting oneself in a closed, silent and a bit depressing space may not be a good choice: I ran out of inspiration quickly and when I struggled to think of more, I felt anxious. The library in certain extent limited my creativity. Perhaps for designers, being totally focused on the ideation alone without distractions and interaction with environments or other people is not helpful. In future time I should test if an environment with more liveliness and stimulation can help me with more inspirations and ideas.

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