Design Methodology Theory and Practice Module

On the 23.05 Fiona Good talked about evaluation.

She prepared an exercise where we had to evaluate our project of the design process module. Our group realized that we were constantly evaluating our project but on a unconsciously level. The presentation taught me to make the evaluation implicit and that a lot of the work of a designer is to transfer things which are implicit to the explicit.

Duy Bui held a teaching class about teaching Interaction. I liked his presentation because he transformed his presentation into a teaching class, where he had the role of a teacher. He brought some little bits, with which we could very fast create interactions. He also talked about that teaching is everywhere and that as a designer we can also teach our customers, but there is also the question if we are entitled to do so?

After these two presentations we did an exercise. Everyone had to teach to five other students a skill.

I decided to teach them Spanish and bringing them closer to the Peruvian culture. Something I often heard in my family were the words. Carramba, caraj and carajo. I wondered a long time what these terms meant, until I found the interpretation which I found correlated to my own experiences.

It was from Mario Vargas Llosa in the book „la casa verde“. He described, that the three terms express emotions. They can be used in a positive as well as in a negative sense to express your emotion. The emotional value of the terms rise. Carramba → Caraj → Carajo

On the 16.5.2018 Stefan Lustenberger talked about the history and invention of technology

While I was listening to his presentation I realized that technology or technic have been here since there are people on earth. In the stone age people created technics in order to get a meal. Technology changed over time but was mostly developed further to facilitate peoples live.

We also talked about the neutrality of technology. Whether technology is neutral or not. I really liked the idea that technology can be seen as a mirror which reflects the hopes and the fears of the people.

After Stefan, I talked about the relation between innovation and design

I liked a lot the discussion which started after my presentation.

Whether we are entitled as designers to do a change or have an impact on the society and further change it?

One argument was, that we might don’t have to change anything, instead we could create alternative possibilities for people. In this case people can decide by themselves what’s right for them.

On the 9. 5. 2018 Jennifer Duarte held a presentation about misuse and repurpose.

Misuse : Wrong or improper use as well as misapplication.

Repurposing: adapt for use with a different purpose.

In this context we talked about also about facebook. On Facebook you can publish things and spread messages and connect to each other. For example the IS uses this page correctly but with an negative attempt.

Dominik Dusek held a presentation about User Experience. He brought some products, which he used in front of us, where we could see his experience with.

He brought two different Ketchup bottles. One out of glass which is impossible to squeeze and the other was a normal plastic bottle. He struggled to get Ketchup out of the glass bottle, because he had to hit on the back of the bottle and there was a chance that too much Ketchup would come out.

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On the 2.05.18 Randy Chen held a presentation about Cybernetics.

He googled the meaning of the word and he figured out that it means „science of communication“.

The term Cybernetics has it’s origin from the word „kubernêtes“. „Kubernêtes“ does mean steersman or to steer. He compared it with an example of a ship, which you steer in order to reach a goal. Fundamental to reach this goal is acting, sensing and comparing.

Later on Mara Weber held a presentation about Physical computing

Physical computing tries to build the bridge between human and computer.

Physical computing is a form of prototyping and it’s process can be subdivided into the following steps.

  1. What happens? What does the user experience?
  2. Break the story down:

input, which comes from a person(if you start typing into your computer for example)

Output, for example Music

Processings: if person comes into the room.

3. Identify the activities. Are they digital or analog?

4. Describe the Sequences. Are they parallel or serial?

5. Level of abstraction. High-level or low-level?

On the 18 of April Melanie Abbet held her presentation about evaluating projects with stories and scenarios. Based on a historical cave painting she illustrated that stories are not an invention of the modern humans but it has been here for a long time.

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Cave painting https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6hle_von_Lascaux

There are different types of stories namely, visual stories, oral stories and written stories. The reasons for the use of stories variate. Nowadays, we usually communicate through stories. Furthermore we use stories for educational purposes in order to share and express ideas or experiences as well as to illustrate a problem.

The purpose of stories and scenarios in the field of design is to spark a debate, to fascilitate the exploration of a new concept and to analyze a project.

In the area of marketing it is used for promoting ideas, to enrich the project with an identity and to attract the buyer. Storytelling is an important field in advertising. If you are familiar with the series Madmen you might have noticed this due to the fact the series illustrates this very well. Moreover, you can manipulate people through storytelling. As for example in the magazine Vogue, storytelling is used to influence the reader. The magazine sells a dream, an idea of a life, which you could have.

As a designer you’ll have an imbalance of power. It is possible that your boss expects you to use your talent in order to manipulate people. At the end of the day it is up to you. The notion of responsibility which a designer has can be used to eventually educate the consumer.

The following presentation was from Felix Prantl about the influence of research labs and the culture of demos. Basically the goal of research is to create progress. We examined different projects from the MIT Lab. Research is needed to advance existing knowledge and it is what we have to achieve for our BA-finals, to make a contribution which advances the knowledge.

Three essential points for a good essay are: Ethics, double-blind and funding. If you have a broad and deep funding, you are able to work on the substance and make a valuable contribution. In contrast, making a more superficial project might cause a wow-effect in the beginning but is not really sustainable. Dr. Joëlle Bitton Head of Interaction Design BA illustrated the community based lab www.genspace.org and also recommended to visit the fabled in Zurich.

The last presentation was from Collin Schmid about Design Fiction, which is a design method to demonstrate possible alternative realities or a possible future. These design ideas can also push research into different directions. It is essential that we are aware that with fictive scenarios displayed in videos we can also manipulate people and make them believe that something that is fictive is real even if it is not.

In the afternoon we watched four different videos

Topobo from the MIT Lab https://vimeo.com/44539844

Inshin-den-shin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iw1FhmY1sIU

Ostrich pillow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IT_EUlKcaw

All four videos have an individual character to visualize their idea and their goal. Institutions like the Royal College of Art were known for their work on speculative design. Known characters are Dunne and Raby as well as Bill Gave from the area of IAD. The RCA was known for pushing the idea of proof of concept. Conceptual aspects needed to be proven, so that the prototype didn’t have to work.

The goal of the ostrich pillow was to find investors, who provide capital for their project. Nowadays, this method of fundraising got very professionalized. The third example generates a form of hype and it is shown how it could work.

Furthermore we discussed wether people believe what they see in videos is true/real or not?

There are a lot of videos, which are unfounded and show a fake reality. There are artists who build their whole reputation with showing people a fake world. Often people believe what they see. Thus, the question is whether it is our responsibility to inform the viewer that we are creating a video about a fictive reality or whether we can leave this responsibility to the viewer and let them believe a fictive world to be real.

On wednesday, 11.04.2018 Edna Hirsbrunner introduced us to the design method „cultural probes“. Thus we discussed what a probe is. So far as I understood a probe is a detector which you place into an unfamiliar culture or target group and then observe what kind of impact the probe has on the participants. A probe is used on projects, where you can’t be physically there. The goal of the probe is to gather information which you can’t gather through interviews. Furthermore it’s a more playful way to get to information.

Pascal Jeker spoke on the same day about co-creation, participatory design and the notion of customization.

Co-creation: Think of design which includes other people. Co = with

Participatory Design: This method tries to understand what people want what are their needs. It searches for the best propose which suits to the needs of the people.(The dictator of majority)

Notion of customization: To explain this notion we were talking about shoes where customers can change online the color of the shoe.

In this context we were talking about the importance of collaboration and thus it’s never someone alone who creates a new innovation. (Example iPhone) Behind a successful project there is a history of developement, where different groups(companies) work on the same product until one succeeds. It’s mostly a collaboration which leads to a successful product and not a work of an individual person.

Janina Tanner presented the topic „information design“.

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Harry Beck London Underground Map https://londontopia.net/site-news/featured/london-icon-tube-map/

She showed us a diagram and based on that diagram we discussed which information are relevant for a data diagram: ( The diagrams referred to the death of people in some year)

Context/ Title/ Number of death in total/ Number of deaths in the year/ Year/ Country/ Gender/ Age/ Suicide.

Who makes the study?

Who pays for the study?

In this context we discussed the credibility of data which represents for example a country. For example 50% of the nation voted for.. (something) This number represents the people who participated on the voting and not all the people who live in this country.

On the afternoon of April 11th 2018 we were introduced to the method of bodystorming. Bodystorming is a method, which includes the human being as well as the environment in the design process. Our task was to observe the parking area for bicycles, looking for possibilities where we could improve things and simulate how people interact with this place in a playful way.

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Parking area for bicycles

As we reached the parking area we were overwhelmed by the amount of bicycles which were parked there. Our first thought was how anyone could find his or her bicycle in the sea of bicycles ever again after a long day of studying. In order to prove our assumption, we created two scenarios. In the first scenario we hid the bicycle of a colleague, who then had to find it.

In the second scenario, we created different parking sectors, which were marked by different colors. After we hid the bicycle again we told her the color of the sector, in which the bicycle was hidden. The results were very clear. In the second test Jennifer Duarte found her bicycle much faster and easier. Thus, we thought about possible solutions in order to implement the different colored sectors in the parking area. The first idea was to color the ground and another was to color the bar on which you put your bicycle.

On Thursday, 5.04.2018, Lalya Gaye held a presentation about „Quirky designs for development“

What is development?

What is social change?

Creative work, design should make people see things differently. Changing minds and society.

The four main points which she was introducing to us were:

1. State driven design for utopia

2. Critical design

3. Vision alternatives/ alternative lifestyles

4. Water and information

For the first point she took Sweden as example.

Change society by design

Sweden was trying to reinvent themselves and finding the connection to the 20th century. Many designers were inspired by the bauhaus. In 1930 Sweden decided to completely change society through Folkhemmet. Folkhemmet was a vision to create a paradise in Sweden. The goal was to build “good housing for all“. Before the 20th century people in Sweden lived in the countryside, each family far from the next family. Trough industrialization many people moved to the city. Thus, they had to find a way how to accomodate all these people in the city. The idea was to build buildings around a green playground, as exemplified on the picture.

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notes from the lecture quirky design for developement

With her second point „critical design“ she urged us to ask the question „why not ?“

We looked at different projects of designers as for example:

Dunne & Raby

BIT radio by Bureau of Inverse Technology

Natalie Jeremijenko

Breathless Corset by Kirstin O’friel (showing the impact of pollution)

Dissolving Memory by Sarah Wisniewska

Endura Sphere TM The Yes Man.

The projects of the yes men impressed me very much. In some projects the yes men pretend to be someone else and proclaim desirable improvements.

The third point was about alternative lifestyles:

We looked at designing for homeless people from Michael Rakowitz.

Krzysztof Wodiczko

For the last point we discussed designs for developing countries. Many developing countries have resources but unfortunately they don’t get access to their own resources. We looked at the project of Ronnie, the PlayPump.

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Ronnie, PlayPump https://businesssocialimpact.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/building-a-sustainable-social-business-three-key-lessons/

The idea was to build a Waterpump, which was easier to access. The idea of the play pump was that children could use it as a play tool, and at the same time they would be pumping water.

The problems of this project were:

It was actually very hard to turn it around, so that it became a form of childlabour.

It was extremely expensive

The local population wasn’t consulted if they wanted it.

An other project in the same category was “The hippo water roller” which was successful.

Important points which we have to consider if we design for developing countries:

• the people have to feel ownership about the design, they have to want it and agree to it

• Make enough research

• Not too expensive

• It should be a balance between playfulness and practicality.

• What are already existing solutions.

  • Decolonise design!

Decolonise design should make us aware that if we design for developing countries, we should observe what the local people are already doing to solve their problems, instead of confronting them with finished solutions, which are reasonable from our western perspective, but might not be reasonable from their perspective. It should enhance us to consider and include them and their culture in the design process. In order to find the best possible solutions for them we should be open to find a solution together.

Western countries often want to do the things in their ways, disregarding what people were already doing for a long time. Mostly when people are doing something for a long time they do it because of a reason. Don’t be humble.

On Wednesday, 4.04.2018, we started with two presentations from our colleagues. The first presentation was about fluid technologies and the second about defamiliarization. I liked the principle behind the idea of defamiliarization. Marcial Koch talked about the text of Genieve Bell, from the Intel Research Mark Blythe University of York and Phoebe Sengers, from Cornell University. The name of the text was “Making by making strange: defamiliarization and the design of domestic technologies”

It is basically about making an object’s purpose unfamiliar without changing its nature. A good example for this is the project “Eliooo” from Antonia Scarponi :


Furthermore we had a long discussion about the influence of pop-culture on designers, based on examples of our history. We talked about Star Trek, iRobot and the twilight zone and observed with examples of our history how reality and pop-culture are connected. Godzilla for example, was created as a reaction to atomic bombs. Superman was inspired by the repercussions of Nazism when many Jewish people fled to America. They had to leave everything behind them and did not know what was happening to the people they had left behind. Thus, Superman was created as a symbol of a man who brings back justice. Furthermore, we also talked about designers from the nineteenth century namely, Bruno Munari, Enzo Mari and Achille Castiglioni, who were inspired of what was happening in the everyday world. The beginning of the nineteenth century was also the beginning of futurism, the time of the industrial revolution, invention of train, photography and even avation. The nineteenth century was especially important in the context of design because it was practically the time when design was born. Machines suddenly took control over art and craft. Machines made it possible to build things in a much faster way and through the invention of photography there was no need for artist to reproduce the nature anymore. As a reaction to that the epoch of realism ends and the impressionism starts.

Additionally we looked closer on two words machina and robot.

On Thursday, 29.3.2018, we were introduced to the field of Permaculture Design, which was very interesting.

The word Permaculture is a grouping of two terms, namely permanent and agriculture.

The first principle of permaculture design is to observe what is already there. The second principle is to make use of the things which are already here. An example for that is to catch and store the energy of a sunny place. A third principle was tested later was to find loops in our systems.

In order to do that we looked at a cup of tea and disaggregated it in every little component which includes a cup of tea and the production of a cup of tea. We tried to find loops systems in the production and looked how it could be reduced. The same thing we did later in groups, we made it about a pullover, which was very interesting.

In Permaculture Design it’s about designing for people’s habitat.

Important keywords are:

Sustainability, human and habitat.

It all started in Australia by trying to solve the problem of pollution.

It’s about earth care, design things which do not destroy the world and also about fair share, equivalent sharing. For example, in Switzerland many households share one washing machine.

Everything you design should not only make something look nice but should always be useful.

On Wednesday, 28.3.2018, we conducted a field research at the Migros Limmatplatz . We interviewed five Migros customers about the data collection of the Cumulus Card. In order to obtain results we asked a number of people about their opinions on the data collection of the Cumulus Card.

The main goal of the interviews was to find out whether people are aware that by using the Cumulus Card data about their purchase behaviour is being collected and whether they realize what happens with their data. We were also interested to find out whether people value the fact that their data is being collected or not.

In order to acquire the best results we asked five open questions so the interviewed customers can express their opinions about it.

We interviewed people of different age group.

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Interview protocol

Conclusions of the interview:

-All customers are aware that their data is being collected.

-Throughout all interviews we obtain the impression that they don’t have a bad conscience to give their data to Migros, probably because they appreciate what they get in exchange, namely a discount or even personalized advertisements.

-The customers have an assumption what Migros uses the collected data for but they have no assurance.


The film „powers of ten“ shows us the big scale where interactions can happen. From tiny molecules till the universe. Interactions happen between Human-Human, Human-Computer, Computer-Computer, Human-Nature, Nature-Nature etc. It is a big field, which isn’t supposed to be only digital, it can be analog as well. An Interaction Designer connects skills, fields and people. He creates experiences for people and has to be constantly aware of his role as designer and his responsibilities which come along with his influence which he can have. The power of creating experiences which influence and effect other peoples mind. Therefore he has to ask himself what kind of experience does he want to create?

A Designer solves problems and designs for people, therefore it’s important not to design against them by creating blackboxes. But even if a designer starts with good intentions, he can’t control how people are going to use or misuse creations or inventions.

A designer can change the world to do so, he has to unterstand what „the world“ means. How is the world represented? Are we already living in the best world as Candide is being told in the satire of Voltaire? Do we only have to improve things or do we have to change some fundamental structures?

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Candide who discovers that the world isn’t perfect.
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excursive method

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fKBhvDjuy0 . (powers of ten, from IBM)

Tuesday 27.3.2018 Afternoon

In the afternoon we discussed in which field we want to have an impact?

In order to find a topic I wrote down some fields, which I found personally interesting. The topics I chose were overpopulation, how our world is going to look like in the future and the topic about data.

I decided to for myself that I would like to know more about data and what kind of importance data holds in our lives today as well as in the future.

We formed groups with similar interests. In our group we tried to find a topic which interests us all and with which we could start the interviews the following day.

Written by

Interaction Design Student ZHdK

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