Documentation & Reflection

Exhibit Reflection

Michelle Owen - Sun 14 June 2020, 11:01 pm

Exhibit Reflection

The exhibition went really well for team Twisted. Our channel on Discord had a steady and constant stream of visitors, peers and teaching staff who were keen to see our team's individual projects in action. Team Twisted had a very cohesive presenting style where we would pitch, demonstrate and then introduce the next team member who would then repeat this process. This cohesion was even commended by visitors. The team also received positive feedback regarding our design approaches and complementary projects which were clearly reflective of one unified domain. All team members were able to succinctly and accurately answer any questions the visitors asked as well as effectively exhibiting the work completed to date.

No real problems occurred during aside from a small mishap with my red colour pad which triggered unexpectedly late into the exhibit. I realised that this was because the single core wire which was leading into the Arduino had been knocked and was touching another exposed wire. I fixed this and it worked without error for the rest of the night. In future development, Mixed would utilise a printed circuit board (PCB) in order to add to the design's durability and robustness. Another small issue was that some visitors were unfamiliar with how to use Discord which occasionally made it difficult to demonstrate our projects.

It was a learning curve but very rewarding in the long run. DECO3850 has showcased some exceptional designs and it was brilliant to see these in action at the online exhibition.

Reflection on Reflections

I just went through and reflected on all of my journal posts since week 1. It was really interesting going back through this living documentary of my project development. Some things that are glaringly obvious in retrospect didn't even cross my mind in the moment.

I think out my ability to reflect fluctuated to a significant degree over the semester. I found it quite difficult to reflect on some very straight-forward processes (such as building the physical controller of Mixed). I think it was mostly an inability to separate myself from the work I had just done, then step back and reflect on what I have done and how it complements the overall design/ design process of my project. I often found myself projecting potentials into the future rather than critically reflecting on past events.

I think that if I had refined this skill and made more of a conscious effort to reflect, some of my roadblocks could have been minimised or mitigated altogther. More specifically, I think that if I was able to reflect more effectively, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble relating to the audio feedback. Reflection could have evaluated the significance of previous (unsuccessful) feedback forms, called for earlier user testing and settled upon a more appropriate feedback form well before the appraisals.

Nevertheless, I think reflection is a skill that is mastered with consistent practice. So, here's hoping that reflection is continued far beyond my designing endeavours

Exhibit Prep - Week 14

Michelle Owen - Mon 8 June 2020, 9:51 pm

Demonstration Video

I have finished filming and editting my demonstration video!! I am really happy with how everything has come together and was stoked that I did not have to simulate any form, features or interactions in this video. I decided to narrate over the top as a means of catering to my target users - visually impaired users. Aside from that I believe the video is able to actively convey the new large-scale form, the updated audio feedback and the new interactions with the mat.

User testing

To date I have had 5 users come and evaluate my design (one of which is actually colour blind - so bonus!!). I was able to evaluate Mixed against my objectives that I detailed in the prototype document and I was really happy with the outcomes. 100% of users understood interactions with Mixed without being prompted and all users could also generate complex artworks of their own volition. It was the audio feedback which could do with some work. 80% of users could identify a colour that they used in their artwork from a group of three random audio tracks. This was better than I was previously anticipating! But only 60% of users understood the audio equivalent of colour mixing. One even noticed that they were listening for my (the facilitators) movement in relation to the mat rather than understanding the frequencies themselved.

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A recurring suggestion was to use this tool in music classrooms to help students with pitch and tone recognition. I really liked this idea and believe it could definetely add to the cognitive benefits that Mixed aims to facilitate


I am super proud of how my portfolio is turning out. I have designed with accessibility considerations in mind so things like 'title' is used frequently as well as alt text and a high contrast aesthetic.

I have used javascript to have a scroll-top navigation which really adds to the cohesion of the portfolio. Other subtle touches like hoverable animations and the flickering stars in the background are more reflective of my personal style.

There is a few things I need to tweak tomorrow in order to have my portfolio exhibit. The first is a link to a referenced page of sorts and the second is styling on some screen sized is a little off. I don't think this should be too much work

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Still to do

  • Download unity onto separate drawing tablet so that I can use my laptop for the discord call
  • Figure out if I am using OBS/ how to use OBS
  • Tidy up my portfolio
  • Finetune audio feedback for 'brown'

Mixed Update - Week 13

Michelle Owen - Fri 5 June 2020, 10:45 pm

Build Update

So I started polishing off my final build meaning that everything needed to be secured and made a little bit more durable so as to comfortably support someone's body weight. This meant a lot of hot gluing, threading, taping and adjusting the form of some of my colour pads. I also wanted to make it look a little nicer to the eye so I added in a white tarp and a large piece of cardboard to cover my wires (this was also done to avoid tripping hazards but the aesthetic touch was nice).


I am really happy with the form it is taking. There will need to be a few touch ups (I don't like the blue edges and everything could be straighter). Also the 'red' colour pad is proving rather finicky so that is definetely something to look into.

Audio Feedback

I am coming to dread these words. I found another bug in my code which essentially meant it would weight the first colour heavier then the subsequent mixes (ie red then blue would be more maroon while blue then red would be a deep blue). Not ideal for a colour mixing mat. So after a few hours of debugging I found that I had made an mistake in my logic and, after that, restarted work on my audio feedback.


I pretty much started from scratch and decided that 15 colour ranges was the way to go. I started decided what the standard colour was and then deciding what I wanted the thresholds to be in comparision to that base.

This time I separated out tolerence ranges for lighter and darker versions of the base colour as trying to visualise and code for the logic of an entire colour on the spectrum proved too difficult to attempt in one threshold.

At the moment the audio feedback is pretty much finalised!! Very excited to be able to say that as it has been playing on my nerves quite a bit over the past few weeks. There is a little bit still to do for brown/grey colour thresholds but, other than that, we are golden!!


Below is a rendition of 'Starry Night' using Mixed as the medium, enjoy!!

Portfolio and thumnbail

Pretty happy with how the portfolio is going. It has all been written, it could benefit from some culling in words but I am content with the text to image ratio at the moment. The styling colour use some work, but I think I am on a good track at the moment. A test document is up and on the server so I am confident going forward with this piece of assessment

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Going forward

Before the exhibit I really would like to figure out how OBS works so that I can stream my digital interface and my physical interaction on Discord without too much hassale. The team want to have a meeting on Monday to go through our set ups and just have a general check in with eachother. We have also made significant progress on the team report which is really comforting because it means a lot less stress for us later.

Individual Project Development - Week 12

Michelle Owen - Sun 31 May 2020, 6:11 pm
Modified: Sun 14 June 2020, 9:12 pm

Physical Build

After a very long time of testing and revising the changes I had made between my small scale prototype and largw scale translation, I eventually noted that the foam I was using must have been slighlty conductive. I did not see that one coming. As I had the foam secured to the metal plates there was inteferance when I was applying pressure. Once the foam condensed enough I believe it was essentially acting as a form of resistance. This resistance messed with my readings from the 'completed circuit' to my serial output. So, I needed to revise my approach.

I decided that foam could still be used as a compression aid, but it would have to be separate to the metal plates - that was fine. I could just secure my rubber surface to a slighlty thicker piece of foam and it would functionally work the same.

I then needed some way to attach my metal to my rubber - glue was too weak and finicky so I concluded that drilling holes through the rubber and metal plates may be a more durable alternative. I would then threat rubber bands through these holes to fasten the two components together.

This time I was determined to test properly as I must have not been thorough enough in my previous build approach. So, I went through this drilling and threading proceduce (which wasn't particularly easy) for one pressure pad and tested. Success!! Then I tried again for the second to make sure it wasn't a fluke - success again!! I then made the rest of the pressure pads in rounds (measure all, cut all foam, drill all pilot holes, drill all main holes, drill all rubber, fasten all components).

So, that took a while but I was super happy with the result (see video)

Audio Feedback

Audio feedback is proving a lot more difficult than I previously anticipated. As colour is so subjective it is very difficult to map out what all colours should be with respect given to sound.

For example, something with a value (in my system) with relatively high R and G values and absolutely any B value can be considered orange. So, this is going to be a really fun game of trial and error.

I did, however, find a bug in my code when trying out audio feedback. It was a bug that was causing the reset to seemingly work but would then act up again after another one or two colour pad pushes. So that took a very long time to debug as I could not find what was going wrong for a very long time. Nevertheless, it has been fixed and Audio Feedback is back on my radar. I just need to do it in increments I think, otherwise I tend to get frustrated. So far I have done: Red, Yellow, Orange, Black and White audio feedback. A fair few to go though

Team Update

The team is going along quite well. Discord took a bit of getting use to. Jess and I did some debugging on her project on the server so we could get a bit more familiar with it. We have also decided that we will start the team report now so that we aren't all super stressed in the next few weeks. A fair way to go before exhibit though :)

Individual Project Development - Week 11

Michelle Owen - Sun 24 May 2020, 11:12 pm

Ongoing Troubleshooting

So, I am a little impressed with my capacity to defy fundamental electrical principles at this point. I have somehow managed to translate my pressure-based buttons (where metal to metal contact is needed for the circuit to be completed) into capacitive touch sensors. Wonderful, in theory. But, given that I aim to cover the metal plates in rubber mats it stands to be a bit of an issue. An even more interesting point of contention is that I have continuity tested the whole circuit, double checked my code against an old prototype and made sure that I am not some electrically charged special-case individual. I think I may just need to take a break and start afresh tomorrow with a new perspective.

Audio Feedback

I have now converted 16 colours into associated sound frequencies and these sound files are now intergrated into my digital interface (for the most part). The thresholds I previously decided upon are not holding up well in testing. I did not quite consider the complexity of each colour and how a red can still very much be a red when the 'R' value is at approximately 125.


Going forward, I think the gauging the aptness of a colour threshold will be an extreme excercise of guess and check. Nevertheless, I am feeling more confident with my audio feedback. I have subjected a few friends to the frequencies (after giving them a reference point) and the results were reassuring for this new approach. Essentially, I need to get across to the users that lower frequencies are cooler tones (blues and purples) while higher frequencies are warmer tones (reds and oranges)


Portfolio Development

I have started writing my portfolio in a word document but I have also started to do up a shell for my HTML/CSS/JS webpage. At the moment I am thinking one continuous page with a very minimalistic and flowing design (subtle animation and very clean lines). I will have to finish writing before I can get much further with this template as I am not sure how much content will be in each section yet


Individual Project Update - Week 11

Michelle Owen - Fri 22 May 2020, 12:46 pm

Individual Project Direction

The first thing I wanted to start getting a handle on was translation into a large scale mat. Hence, I needed to plan out how it was going to work - especially my cable management. So I set about sketching how I was planning to wire up my circuit for the large scale so I had a reference point for future development:


In order to make the large scale I was going to need a fair amount of resources. Including:

  • 9x35cm of single core wire for ground
  • 9x40cm of single core wire for digital inputs
  • 8x10cmx10cm of cut galvonised iron for the colour pads
  • 1x7cmx7cm of cut galvonised iron for the reset pad
  • 8x4x2cmx2cm of foam for the colour pads
  • 1x4x1cmx1cm of foam for the reset pad
  • 16x20cmx20cm of rubber mat for the surface of colour pads
  • 1x10cmx10cm of rubber mat for the surface of reset pad
  • 1x100cmx100cm tarp
  • 1xArduino
  • 1xTouch screen device

So, another trip to bunnings was needed as well as a trip to a friend to get some 0.5mm single core wire.

Laying out the large scale

The first thing I did when converting to large scale was cut up the remaining rubber pads and lay them out on the floor in the formation I want the final form to be in.


The dimensions of the above formation is 100cmx100cm. Next, I cut 9 pieces of galvonised iron to make sure that the dimensions would work and then moved on to cable management and circuitry:


Now fairly certain that I had enough wire, I decided to test if my large scale was going to work in the way I wanted it to. So I set about developing two colour pads:


I soldered the grounds and digital inputs to connect two colour pads, secured the foam between the two metal plates and waited for it to dry.

The pressure pads require a decent amount of pressure to be activated but they both stand to be durable and read in inputs reliably. I was really happy with the large scale translation as I wanted the mat to be stood, pushed and jumped upon.

I then tested to see if my arduino code and unity interface were still working with the upscale in buttons. I put my whole body weight on the red colour pad and was very excited to hear the audio feedback and then be able to draw in red on my touch screen. I then mixed yellow with red and got purple which was a bit surprising but I then remembered that I had connected yellow to the wrong digital input. That aside, colour mixing still worked and the body weight of a 20 year old jumping and stomping on it was not enough to break it ... yet. So hopefully, the system is durable enough to maintain the interactions of 6-7 year old children.


After this, I decided to cut and label all remaining metal plates, strip all remaining wires and cut the foam and the tarp. Then I layed out all my pieces so I (hopefully) was sure that I have everything I need to finish the large-scale mat translation.

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Reflection and going forward

I am really happy with where I have gotten to over the last few days. It would have been better if I had slightly more apt tools to cut metal as I could have gotten a much cleaner cut and not have any bowing in the plates. Nevertheless, it still works effectively and can still facilitate the active conveyal of my physical interactions. I am also quite pleased with mapping out my resources and planning this round. For my small scale prototype I didn't have as much forsight and, as such, resource and cable management suffered quite a bit. Going forward, I am going to have to piece together the remaining 7 pressure pads and secure them to their rubber and tarp bases. Soldering could get interesting so I want to have a plan to make it as seamless and safe as I can.

Week 10 - Appraisals and Individual Concept Development

Michelle Owen - Sun 17 May 2020, 5:04 pm

Given Appraisals

This week the team worked together to critique and write appraisals for three other teams. We set about watching the videos together and having a quick debrief before adding our own general thoughts and insights in a collective team excel spreadsheet. This allowed all team member's opinions and critiques to be succinctly documented so, when writing the formal appraisal, all insights could be drawn upon. The team split the writing responsibilities equally and then made sure all appraisals were edited before posting to Miro


Received Appraisals

I received appraisals from three teams: Team X, The Negative Nancies and Half Ice No Sugar. I was given insightful feedback from all teams and, as expected, most of the critiquing elements releated to my individual concept's audio feedback component.


Contextualising colour for the colour blind is proving to be a lot more difficult than originally anticipated. I am yet to come across a form of audio feedback that has a purely objective link to colour that all user's are unanimously happy with. People with perfect colour perception debate the actuality of certain colours so I am not quite sure how I am meant to translate this rocky context of colour into audio feedback for colour blind and visually impaired users. Syneasthesia did stand as a theoretically justified link from colour to audio, however, this did not translate well to the team's evaluating my conceptual design. Granted, the concept did rely on near perfect-pitch to be able to form the cognitive ties between sound and colour so I do think that I am going to have to ideate for a new form of audio feedback.

One suggestion was that utilising the frequency levels of the colour's light and translating it into a sound frequency could be an apt alternative. I have been doing some preliminary research into this and it looks to be my strongest contendor for a new form of audio feedback.

Another repetitive piece of feedback I receieved was using accumulative audio feedback (ie using chords). I am really reluctant to pursue this approach for two reasons:

1: It relies on actual perfect pitch which a 6-7 year old audience will likely not have

2: It detracts significantly from the colour mixing element (red + yellow != the distinct values of red and yellow). Adding red and yellow results in an entirely new output -> orange. Previously conducted user testing highlighted an expectation to hear to audio output for the given colour (orange) rather than the two notes of red and yellow played in unison. With that being said, while I appreciate the premise of the feedback regarding chords, I am hesitant to integrate it into Mixed as a result of previous user testing.

Going Forward

Going forward I am going to look into how I would go about integrating this frequency based audio. At the moment - if I was to use it raw - it sounds incredibly annoying (think mosiquito in ear), so finding a way to make these frequencies more pleasant to the ear could be beneficial for the feedback component.

I have also got to start translating my small scale buttons into large pressure pads. So, soldering, hot gluing and cable management is back on the agenda for the near future.


Well, I am currently inspired by 'the dress' given the subjectivity of colour theory and how difficult translating perceived colours into audio equivalents is proving to be. So, is it white and gold or black and blue ... and, more relevantly, what would you expect from the audio feedback of this dresss?


Week 9 - Individual Concept Development pt.2

Michelle Owen - Sun 10 May 2020, 8:29 pm

Individual Concept Development

Audio Feedback

After I talked through an implementation approach for audio-range tolerances, I went about programming it. It took a fair while and a lot of guess and check, but I finally managed to have conditional audio ranges for three colours: red, yellow and orange (as a result of this, I will demonstrate these three colours working and fully implemented in my video).

Below is a current map out of my colour ranges and, upon inspection, it becomes evident that there are some ranges that are not catered to and major discrepencies between range sizes from colour to colour.


I will still have to simulate the audio feedback for when the user begins drawing. However, I am very happy with having audio feedback for a button/colour pad press. I believe this feedback is very beneficial to have as it indicates if the user has successfully 'selected' a colour pad.

Tidying small-scale

I decided to print out and laminate the colour pads so the small scale appeared a little nice and also didn't rip on touch. I also restripped some of my wires to help a bit with cable management and taped everything down so that the wires didn't impede the overall user experience.


Non-functional large-scale

In order to effectively convey the intended user-experience for my individual design direction, I decided to make a non-functional prototype to scale. I cut rubber, laminated colour pads, taped out a canvas and cut a tarp to size. I am really happy with how it turned out and believe that, in my video, this large-scale prototype of the form effectively represents an ideal user experience


Helper graphics

I have done up some sketches as some of the concepts I discuss in my video are quite hard to make sense of without accompanying visuals. Below are some of the helper graphics that I am using in my video to help with communication of my concept.

A translation of colour coded music notes according to Synaesthesia:


A deconstruction of audio-tolerance ranges with respect given to colour:


And a side on view for the pressure buttons that I have made:



I finished editing my video this afternoon. I believe it clearly conveys the form, function and interactions of my individual design direction in a clear and consice manner. I am looking forward to the appraisals and user feedback for this coming week!

Week 8 - Individual Project Development

Michelle Owen - Sun 10 May 2020, 6:47 pm


In the studio I was able to establish how far I had come with my prototype development and also what I had left to do before submission.

For the most part, I was really happy with my progress. I had a functional MVP which is what I aimed to have working for the deliveravle due on Monday. I still wanted a reset button working so I could demonstrate how my concept was able to facilitate complex drawings so, after I had a conversation with the teaching team and my group, I set off to work on my reset button's functionality.

I got this reset functionality working about an hour after the formal studio session ended.



In the workshop I began storyboarding and writing my script for the video.


After a fair while of writing and reflecting, I decided that I may still have time between then (Friday morning) and when the deliverable was due to get very rough audio feedback integrated into my system's working functionality. I decided that, in order to pursue this goal, I should first have a proper understanding of how I was to go about implementation. I called a friend on zoom and rubber ducked the whole implementation approach for audio-tolerance ranges and, by the end of the conversation, was fairly confident that I would be able to integrate audio feedback.

Week 8 - Individual Project Development pt.2

Michelle Owen - Tue 5 May 2020, 10:49 pm

Studio Report Back

It was great to see how my team's individual projects are progressing. I as previously established in Week 8 - Individual Porject Development pt.1, I have been working a fair bit on the physical form of my prototype



In the workshop I decided I was going to further pursue synesthesia/ chromasthesia as the theoretical justification for linking sound to colour. Studies have been done into both of these theories/phenomena and it is possible to form somewhat objective links from colour to sound. This means, in essence, some people are able to hear colour.

So from here, I have attributed each colour with a theoretically supported sound/musical note. I want to do some user testing going forward in this space and then, depending on time, think about integrating it into my prototype.

Aside from this, in the workshop I continued on my individual project developmemt.

Individual Project Development - Linking the Physical and Digital

After some reconfiguration of my Unity Settings, C# code and Arduino code, I know have a semi-functional prototype! My physical pressure pads can control the colour being displayed on my digital canvas and (more importantly) the colours successfully mix together:


Users can combine any of the available colours together and can add more of a certain colour by reselecting/applying pressure to that colour pad again. I am absolutely stoked I got this working as I was having a fair bit of trouble connecting my physical buttons to my Unity interface. Nevertheless, I ran with the logic I established in the my last post and it proved effective.

Week 8 - Individual Project Development pt.1

Michelle Owen - Sun 3 May 2020, 10:04 am
Modified: Sun 3 May 2020, 10:10 am

Individual Project Development - Physical Construction and Arduino

I started on my physical build this week. I went to bunnings after planning out what materials I needed and how I intended to build the first small scale prototype. I decided on rubber mats, galvanised iron, something to cut that galvanised iron with and hot glue was the way to go.

When I got home, I needed to decide if my idea for a pressure based button was going to work. So, I made one push button:


I needed to cut the metal, solder a single-core wire onto each of the metal plates, hot glue the metal to the rubber mat and, finally, hot glue small pieces of foam between the metal plates so they only contact when pushed together. Granted, it isn't that aesthetically pleasing, but it does work and is relatively durable. This is promising for large scale translation.

I then wired my push button to an arduino and was able to get the inbuilt LED blinking when the button was pushed. Satisfied with the design and functionality of the button, I set about creating my small version mat:


I can also have these buttons registering in my Unity project! However, this is where I begin to plateaux in my progress. I currently have print statements registering when my buttons are pushed, however, I am not able to attached my desired functionality to these buttons. I am rotating between IO Exceptions, Null Reference Exceptions and nothing registering.

In theory, I should be able to attach the functionality of my digital interface's buttons to my physical buttons in a switch case. I'm going to keep on with this theory until I have exhausted all potential imp

To avoid a mess of cable management and grounds, I decided to use one large metal plate as a consistent ground. I then made the top of each button complete with soldering and a growing distaste for hot glue. I then measured out and marked where on the mat each of the 8 buttons would be located.

Next, the hard part - gluing each button on with foam to the base and ensuring that they are all functional buttons:


I realised after I glued everything down that my ground was on the wrong side for neat(ish) cable management. Regardless, I tested each of the buttons making sure they were able to complete the circuit when pushed. Some are a little harder to push than I would have liked, but they all work (also possibly a good thing for a large scale).

I then set about getting my buttons sending a signal which could be translated by my arduino. Now, each button sends a corresponding number to the arduino which can be read seen in the Serial Plotter:


I have also gotten these signals to register in my Unity Project - exciting!! However, this is where my progress trajectory starts to plateaux. I have gotten print statements displaying whenever a button is pushed, but I cannot get the desired functionality attached to change and mix the pen colour.

In theory, I should be able to translate the functionality of my digital interface buttons to my physical buttons. I think I am going to continue with this approach until all implementation cases are exhausted.


I think it is rather inspiring that I either am haunted, magic or need to be more patient with hot glue:


Week 7 - Update and Reflection

Michelle Owen - Sat 25 April 2020, 9:55 pm


It was great to get back into the studio after the break. I think I was pretty productive over the midsem, and I think this was validated during report back. As I have previously mentioned, I was able to get colour mixing to work and settled on potential audio tracks to play for my colour mixing

I also reached the conclusion that I wanted to move away from emotional intelligence within my individual design direction. I believe it was getting overly complex for the target users and this was validated in some follow up discussions I had with some experts. My main task for the coming week is mapping out how my physical interaction was going to be implemented and finding an effective way of incorporating audio.

I had some further discussions with an expert user and an interesting point of mixing sound was brought up. The expert said that they would expect the sound of yellow and red mixing together should sound like orange - not an overlayed track of the two. I had completely overlooked this perspective but believe it is a more effective interaction approach:



I was super happy with my progress in the workshop. I mapped out how I will likely separate my digital interface and physical interaction for the next prototyping round. This can be seen below:


I then went on to msp out a potential circuit for my physical interaction in addition to how I intend for my buttons to be activated. I think I am happy with using two pieces of a yoga/gym mats with metal attached to each piece. Foam will be inbetween the two to stop the metal from contacting. When pressure is applied to the top layer of the mat, a signal can be read in from the arduino to my digital interface:


I also made a crude prototype of my mat out of lego. I think starting small scale might be a good way to approach this:


Next Steps

I want to eventually test my yoga mat and foam theory on my lego prototype. But first I need to get a yoga mat, sheet metal and some foam.

In the meantime, audio and Unity seems to be the way to go. Finding ideal and royalty free audio clips is proving to be more difficult than originally anticipated


My tarot cards came in the mail the other day!! I pulled a card at random today and got the sun - it means joy, success and positivity. So consider me inspired!! Good things are to come!!


Required Entry Week 7 - Individual Concept

Michelle Owen - Wed 22 April 2020, 3:02 pm

What is my concept?

My concept falls under the collective team domain of designing for "a creative learning initiative to teach colour theory to Year 1 students through active engagement and open interaction techniques."

I took this domain and the first round of user feedback into consideration and decided to focus my individual design direction on contextualising colour for the visually impaired/ colour blind. As my concept currently stands, I aim to achieve this through providing relevant audio and light feedback to a given colour.

I am currrently facilitating colour mixing and drawing as can be seen below:


My original concept aimed to have the users then draw their current emotional state in the centre of the mat. However, I think the interaction scenario became overly complex and user feedback highlighted a desire to draw and create without restrictions.

Thus, I am learning towards faciliating total creative freedom and experimentation with colour and sound. My individual design direction should facilitate the understanding of colour mixing and colour theory both visually and audibly.

What is the ideal finished product?

The ideal finished product is a large scale stand-alone mat that can be incorporated into a year one classroom setting. Users with and without visual impairments should be able to actively engage and benefit from interaction with the system


The mat would be approximately 1.5m in diameter and have a large circular canvas in the centre where the users can draw with their mixed colours and audio. Each colour has an associated audio track which aims to form an objective link between the colour selected and the sound being played (ie blue = running water).

Applying pressure to one of the buckets around the outside of the mat would select that colour. Users can select multiple colours which will mix those colours, and related audio tracks, together. The newly mixed colour can be experimented with on the canvas in the centre of the mat.

Just as the colours mix together (blue + yellow = green), so will the audio (blue audio (running water) + yellow audio (birds chirping) = green audio (leaves rustling)). This acts as an audio equivalent to the colour mixing process and hence forms an audio narrative to pair with the users drawing.

LED lights would also illuminate the paint buckets which are currently selected to clearly represent which colours are currently being mixed together.

Ideally, the finished project would also facilitate collaboration with multiple users so that experimentation and creativity could be explored in a communal environment.

In summary, my individual design direction should allow visually impared and colour blind users to obtain an understanding of colour theory through providing light and audio feedback. Users should then apply this knowledge to draw and express themselves in the centre of the mat.

Mid-Sem Progress

Michelle Owen - Wed 15 April 2020, 4:15 pm

Mid-Semester Progress - Individual Design Direction

So, I was fairly ambituous with how much I wanted to get done on the mid-semester break but I am really happy with how I am going.

The first thing I needed to settle on was my core interaction flow, so I have penciled in a first attempt at an ideal interaction scenario and we will see how far it takes me. Currently, I believe it is fairly intuitive and should hopefully conform to the user's mental model but iteration and retrospect are very useful in design:


As for the prototype development, the first thing I wanted working for my prototype was some way for you to select a colour and get some form of feedback. This seemed relatively easy in practice, so I decided to use Unity to set up a touch and draw interface.

I started with an aim to get a paint line following the users finger, so after a fair bit of research, I stumbled across my first win:


He looks pretty minimalistic, but I had a starting point for my individual concept.

Next, adding colour... I spent the better part of two days thinking of ways to salvage my code. At one point I had colour selection working, but no chance of mixing as I was essentially toggling everything except the colour that was last clicked on. While it was progress, it wasn't particularly helpful in the overall scheme of things.

So, I decided to take a break. I was playing around in illustrator and had an idea about averaging RGB values and wondering if that could work. So, I decided to average my RGB values for yellow and blue in hopes of getting green and I did!!

I then had a chat with my sister about the possible logic that could make this work and by the end of the conversation I was confident that I could make something work. So, after a bit of a break and a fresh perspective, I tried ... again:


I was absolutely stoked that I could get colour mixing to work. Averaging RGB values really does work and, after some more targeted research, I found others who have reached the same conclusion - but way more fun to get there by myself.

Next, I should clean up the interface a little and then onto audio!!

Week 6 - Studio Reflection

Michelle Owen - Wed 8 April 2020, 2:32 pm
Modified: Fri 10 April 2020, 5:14 pm

Studio Reflection

This week's studio provided a useful insight into report deconstruction as well as highlighting methods for conducting user evaluation given the current regulations on social distancing.

I have a fair bit I want to get done over the midsemester break. I do have some little cousins which are in our target user age range so some preliminary probes and maybe an interview could prove beneficial for mapping out some extra detail for my individual design direction.

I also want to plan out the necessary materials and components I will need to obtain in order to start prototyping my concept.

Additionally, an interaction flow diagram will be useful to help me visualise the functionality and interactions that my concept aims to facilitate.

So a fair bit to get done over the midsem but I think it would prove relaly beneficial in the long run if I can get a start on it now.

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Miro Boards - Train Commuters

As I previously mentioned, the teaching team provided us with some resources relating to methods for user evaluation in a pandemic situation. We were expected to observe commuters on a train and note their behavioural patterns. I found this could achieved relatively effectively through Youtube. If I had more time I would have liked to somehow get myself a virtual 'seat' on the train. As I later discovered, there were alternative techniques for user evaluation without face-to-face interactions.

Journelling, Big Brother Observations and Online Role Play I think could be really beneficial for evaluating my individual design direction at this stage. Observing the user's perceived interaction pathways and mental model of the design (even virtually) will hopefully be able to shed valuable insight on the respective strengths and weaknesses of the concept.

I might have to have a bit of a reliance on the target user group's parents to observe and detail the child's behavioural responses.


Miro Boards - Team

After the commuter activity, the team moved to our team Miro board and began mapping out our collective team context. The team were all focusing on the same domain, so, intuitively, we would all have relatively similar contexts of use. We came to the conclusion that we should all be targeting similar people, time and location with our individual design directions. We extrapolated on these points as a team and then broke off to create our own mind maps for our individual concepts.


Team Update - Post Report

The team got our report in on time, but I would have appreciated getting it done a bit earlier so that I would have had more time to edit - perhaps a bigger emphasis on the importance of predetermined deadlines is necessary.

Nevertheless, I think the team have produced a high quality report which systematically details our design process to date. Each of my team members have a promising individual design direction as well which is amazing to see!!


I have been trying to expand my portfolio recently and, as such, have been looking through examples of some of the great artists. I got lost when it came to Picasso. He has such a bredth of talent - which, to me, is incredible. I was looking through some of his work and it got me back to thinking about the importance of colour in representing emotion (as it udnerpins my individual design direction, I should hope so). But the mood that Picasso is able to elicit purely from his evocative colour choices was really some food for thought going forward.


Week 5/6 - Update and Reflection

Michelle Owen - Tue 7 April 2020, 12:34 pm

Studio and Workshop Reflection

We did a lot of work in last week's studio and workshop. The report gave us an opportunity to start a conversation about how we are tracking and the transition to online learning.

As expected, I am still struggling a bit to maintain active focus and motivation. I think adopting the pomodoro approach - like Lorna suggested, could be really beneficial. I have been trialing a 25 minute work period which has been going well so far, so here's hoping that trend continues.

The teaching team were able to provide a lot of insight which helped shape my individual design direction. As established in my last post, I have moved away from subjectivity and want a stronger focus on an objective link from sound to colour. I am pretty happy with how to potential concept addresses accessibility needs and an open-ended interaction approach. Hopefully, I have been able to justify this in my individual section of the report.


Team Update

The team have been really good with maintaining active communication. I am to read through and edit the whole report tomorrow, so I am pretty happy with the team's organisation as well.

We should have a near final report by tonight which details our design process and relevant justification by tonight.

Concept Development

I conducted some interviews and conversations with friends to establish some sounds that could be used as part of my individual direction. A lot of the responses overlapped which is brilliant to show converging mental models. At the moment, sound to colour links include:

Red = Fire (red) crackling

Orange = Fallen leaves (orange) crunching under foot

Yellow = Birds chirping on a sunny (yellow) day

Green = Wind in the trees (green)

Blue = Running water (blue)

Purple = Thunder in a storm (purple)

White = Aeroplane in the clouds (white)

Black = Crow (black) cooing

Divergences included black: owl hooting at night, purple: bees buzzing on flowers, white: snow falling and orange:carrot snapping


I was looking into how Year One's are able to communicate their emotions. Current curriculum standards ask Year One's to draw/ paint their emotion using colour and facial expressions. I have chosen to further extend this concept to address accesibility constraints and a higher degree of creativity.



Week 5 - Individual Direction Development

Michelle Owen - Fri 3 April 2020, 6:58 pm

Individual Concept Development

After going through all the critiques as a team, there were a few recurring trends and themes that resonated with me. These themes revolving around accessibility considerations and emotional colour theory.

With that in mind I began to further develop the pitched concept - Twisted, into a system that would facilitate the needs of colour blind and visually impaired users.

I started with the thought that I wanted to contextualise colour, for this user group, through audio feedback. Thus, the emotional ties individuals can form with colour could be simulated through audio.

From here, I ideated for a mat with three columns: happy, sad and angry. Colours corresponding to each of these emotions would be randomly distributed on a grid based mat. Each colour would also have a sound attributed to them (happy sounds = C Major Scale). Users could then move the colour and respective sound into the row that they believe it reflected (eg blue=sad, so move to the sad column). Then, the users could 'play' the colours in that row from left to right. The audio tracks of the colours would then sound and colours with a similar colour palette should sounds complementary. The same would apply for the inverse (a colour clashing within the row would sound out of place). However, there was a great deal of subjectivity in this concept. With that and the fact that this is targeted at 6 year olds in mind, I decided it might be beneficial to move to a more 'objective' approach to contextualising colour

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I then tried to ideate for an objective link between colours and sound. Nature seemed like a familiar context for the user group so I pursued that route. Colours like blue would be linked to running water and red to fire etc. Colours would, again, be randomly distributed on a grid-based mat. Users would then have to move the sound/colour to suit the appropriate picture overlap (the images would remain in a static position while the colours behind would be able to move). While I was starting to appreciate the objectivity of the concept, I was back to square one with a closed interaction approach where there was a 'right' interaction with the system. We received feedback suggesting against that approach in our original team pitch. So, I wasn't happy with that aspect of the new concept and was starting to think having a static image and moving colours may be confusing to such a young target user group. Finally, I also noticed how I had started to drift away from the purpose of 'emotional' colour theory.


So, I moved away from the grid-based approach because I found it limiting and needed a fresh take on things. This time I started with a circular form. Arcs of the circle acted as colour 'buckets' which could be used to mix colours together. I kept on with the 'objective' links between colour and sound but wanted to use this combination to facilitate creativity. Now, the concept revolves around mixing colours together to reflect the user's current emotion. Just as the colour mix, so would the associated audio - hence forming an audio narrative for visually impaired and colour blind users. Users could then draw a face in the centre of the mat with this generate colour/sound. Then a direct and visual/audio link can be made between the users emotion and the colour/sound they created


Well, it did take a very intensive week of iterating upon an initial concept - but I am starting to feel a lot more confident with the design direction I am not following. I have done a fair bit of research around the domain, the Australian curriculum and the benefits of colour theory. So, hopefully this concept has some solid foundations for future iteration.

I still have a fair bit to do in relation to objective links between sound and colour - access to the target user group would be especially useful. But, I will have to find workarounds - I have started with some discussions with friends and family. Other than that - Individual report writing will occupy me for the next while as will reading through the team section of the report

Week 4 - Critiques and Team Update

Michelle Owen - Sat 28 March 2020, 12:00 pm


Given Critiques

Zoom went a lot better than I thought it would so that was a very welcomed surpirse!! While it is a little impersonal, we were all still able to effectively be critiqued, critique others and maintain active communication. At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

I did feel some concepts were a little underdeveloped or lacking in effective conveyal. This may have been due to a non-conformance to the studio theme, a basic interaction approach or an ambiguous purpose. However, there were still some really innovative and novel ideas that were pitched by other teams this week!!

I had a serious appreciation for concepts that targeted users with accessibility requirements such as team Hedgehog. This team pitched a concept that upholds the studio theme of "designing for playful and open-ended interactions for use in everday life". The target users were individuals with visual impairments and as a result, the team reimagined a game approach which caters to and normalises the needs of this demographic. A very thoughtful and promising concept!!

Received Critiques

Our team was happy with how our pitch went, and I believe we effectively conveyed the domain, problem space and concept to our peers. The team was also prepared and approached the writing and video development of the pitch in a timely manner which I am very grateful for!!

After we pitched, we collected all of our critiques and had a meeting where we went through every critique and discussed recurring themes. We identified a need to better address an open-ended interaction approach, the potential for audio feedback and pushing for a more randomised approach to the colours made available to our users.

I think it was a combination of my appreciation for team hedgehog's concept and some critiques revolving around accessibility issues that sparked a potential individual design direction. Narrowing down the target user group to early primary school students who have colour perception difficulties/ blindness could be a very interesting design space to further pursue. Utilising audio and haptic feedback could be an effective means to translate colour theory into something relatable for this user group.

Another possible individual direction relates to the emotional intelligence subset of colour theory. Focusing on which colours relate to which emotion could be a promising concept for young users and provide further relevance for teaching colour theory.

I would like to do some more research into colour blindness/ sensitivity and colour used as an emotional tool before I commit to my individual direction. However, to date those are the two possible design directions I am interested in furter developing. We will see where my research takes me!!

Team Update

My team have started on the report. After our team meetings we decided on what will be our individual contributions and when we want this completed by. The team decided that we wanted the team section of the report completed by the 1st of April and the individual sections completed by the 7th. This gives us two days to edit and revise any issues that may arise.

So far, I have finished a decent portion of my sections of the 'team' portion and need to collaborate a little with another team mate to polish it off. Now, I have to do some further research into the Australian Curriculum, emotional intelligence as relevant to colour theory and designing for individuals with colour perception accessibility needs.

Week N/A

Michelle Owen - Sat 21 March 2020, 7:52 pm

In Review

Well, it has been a very interesting week to say the least. I think it can be summed up as uncertain and overwhelming.

That being said, I am incredibly grateful for the teaching team. Reimagining the structure of this course to facilitate the ever changing advice being delivered would be no easy feat. So, thank you. I have been looking forward to taking this course ever since I learnt of its existence and it means a lot to be able to keep on keeping on.

Concept Development

My team have still been developing our concept - Twisted, and have been figuring out Zoom as we go. We have continued our research into the chosen domain of creative learning while mapping our what our video pitch will look like.

Personas, story boards, system sketches and pitches have been in the works and is starting to come together really nicely.

To date, the concept relates to a creative learning tool which facilitates problem solving and active collaboration through teaching colour theory to primary students.

A concept sketch can be seen below



Granted - this probably isn't the most relevant inspiration to an sci-fi coloured creature concept, but I have had a bit more time on my hands this week than usual. I was looking through my portfolio for graphic design and found some old inspirational imagery from one of my favourite graphic deisgners - Beau Bertens. He is this Dutch artist that is all for the evocative. The colours, the type face ... just everything!! I am always so drawn to his work because of his incredibly distinctive style.

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I think that might be what has inspired me to write about him in this journal. I want the designs I work on, whether they are in a team or individual endeavours, to have something uniquely 'me' about them. Next step is finding out what I want to be synonymous with.

Concept Development - Twisted

Michelle Owen - Fri 13 March 2020, 9:56 pm

Potential Concept - Twisted

The team is still ideating for a concept we are willing to pitch on Tuesday. At the moment, the idea revolves around a Twister-like mat connected to a projector screen.

The concept aims to teach primary school students colour theory and active collaboration through problem solving activities. In the case of twisted, it is helping little aliens camoflauge into their home planets.

I think this concept could be really promising and I really like the novel interaction mode (Twister) to promote collaboration and colour theory!!


Week 3 - World Cafe, Bash and Team Formation Reflection

Michelle Owen - Fri 13 March 2020, 9:37 pm

World Cafe

World cafe provided me with an insight into themes I had not previously considered. Themes such as Change through Positive Reinforcement and Musical Things were able to be developed and extended upon by myself and others at the table. As a result I was able to see them in a new (and really interesting) light.

We were able to develop concepts of themes which I ended up putting as my preferences because of the genuine interest and playful ideas that were pitched (such as the musical grid mat and the tower construction code decipherer - the names may have needed some work).

However, I was still passionate about pursuing Creative Learning. I have always found helping people through education invaluable. So, extending this and being able to explore a problem space in this field is super exciting for me.


I am so appreciative that we got to talk to a successful designer who wants to help us out!! Bash had some really good points that I had never considered before (like going through a recruiter) and selling yourself as a person who will make your employers life easier.

The one word challenge was also really insightful - stripping yourself down to your core is a very interesting approach to highlight what you want to be synonomous with. Create a brand with that word and stay true to it - I can get behind that idea.

And, of course, one of my biggest takeaways was don't be afraid to move!! It looks so incredibly rewarding to get out of your comfort zone (geogrpahically and mentally) and push yourself to do things you previously thought

Team Formation

I have been really lucky and placed in a creative learning team (first preference!!). I am keen to get to know my team a bit better and start developing our pitch for Tuesday.

Currently, my team is thinking about further developing a colour theory concept. More to come about this soon!!

Week 3 Notes

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Week 2 - Pitch and Critique Reflection

Michelle Owen - Fri 6 March 2020, 12:40 pm
Modified: Sun 8 March 2020, 2:13 pm

Peer Pitch Reflection

I was impressed with the pitches that were made this week. I do believe some missed the mark and either weren't effectively communicated or didn't address the domains outlined in the brief (playful, everyday and sci-fi). Nevertheless, there were some very novel ideas. I was drawn to concepts with interesting interaction modes. Interactions such as pressure pads or making shadows were some interesting proposals and would like to see these concepts developed into projects.

My Pitch Reflection

I was pretty happy with how my pitch went! I believe I was able to clearly communicate the concept to my peers and addressed the domains outlined in the brief: playful, everyday use, and sci-fi. I have really enjoyed ideating design possibilities for Mort and it was promising to see the same excitement come from my classmates.

Critique Reflection

After going through the peer reflections of my concept, there were a few recurring critiques of Mort. These critiques can be grouped under themes: lack of audio, relevance of morse code and networking Mort with friends so they can talk to eachother.

I think that the incorporation of audio would be a really beneficial form of feedback for the user and could also assist in personifying Mort.

While morse code is essentially a redundant language, the cognitive benefits acquired through learning a language remains. Morse code is a relatively simple language to teach and Mort lends itself nicely to facilitating cognitive growth.

The future of Mort could definitely involve networking. This could further the user's encoding and decoding skills and allow them to practice with friends. I really like this suggestion!

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Week 1/2 - Concept Ideation

Michelle Owen - Fri 6 March 2020, 12:38 pm
Modified: Sun 8 March 2020, 1:06 pm

Reflection on Concept Ideation

I actively pursued three main concepts: Mort, Fortunes Fast-Tracked and Self-Op. Each had a focus on different domains that the brief facilitated, however, education and emotional wellbeing were recurring design directions.

I chose to pitch Mort due to the versatility of the concept. A direct link to a playful interaction, everday use and sci-fi themes can be established.

I have always had a passion for education, and Mort lent himself nicely to teaching young children cognitive techniques to learn languages and decode encrypted messages.

I can see myself actively pursuing the design and development of Mort and, at this point in time, am very excited about what direction he could go in.

Notes for Concept Ideation

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Project Ideas & Inspirations

Michelle Owen - Mon 2 March 2020, 7:46 pm


Concept Description

In recent years, there has been a serious decline in youth learning languages other than English (LOTE). This has negative ramifications on children’s ability to retain information, their creativity and problem-solving capabilities.

In response to this problem space, a concept has been ideated which aims to increase the cognitive capabilities of primary school students aged 5-9 years. Meet Mort. Mort is an innovative and interactive approach to teaching linguistics – specifically, Morse code.

Mort is an alien who has crash landed on Earth and wants to communicate with us humans in the comfort of our own homes. Unfortunately, he only speaks in Morse code.

Well, not quite. Mort is a children’s plush toy, around the same size as a soccer ball. Mort’s legs are used as the primary input method to ‘talk’ to him. For context, Morse code is made up of a combination of one to four dashes and dots. On Mort’s face there is an English letter the user is required to encode so that Mort can understand them. The user squeezes one of Mort’s legs that they believe is the correct input (eg: ‘-‘ for the beginning of the letter ‘y’) and Mort’s eyes then provide visual feedback for this input method. Once the user has completed the input, Mort vibrates the code that was entered while his eyes change colour to indicate if the interaction was correct. If it was successful, the user moves on to the next letter. If not, Mort vibrates the correct code for the user to decode again.

Mort hopes to bring peace and teach code through his playful interaction approach which can be used everyday for children aged five to nine years. Or, as Mort would say “- -.--"



Inspiration and References

#code #morsecode #langauge #cognitiveload #toys #alien #decryption

Week 1 - Reflection

Michelle Owen - Fri 28 February 2020, 9:39 pm
Modified: Fri 28 February 2020, 9:40 pm


Week 1 was intense. We well and truly hit the ground running. The five hour sessions absolutely tested my concentration after the holiday period. Nevertheless, I am feeling pretty good with the content we have covered so far - I think keeping the grand challenges in mind when ideating for potential concepts will be beneficial in the long run.

I have started on idea generation but am struggling with relating the concepts back to the brief. More specifically, developing a concept that is both Sci-Fi and to be used in everyday life. Conducting observations or utilising Awais' technique may be able to provide some much needed insight.

To date concepts revolve around plush toys, tarot cards and misdirectional sound.


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Week 1 - About me

Michelle Owen - Tue 25 February 2020, 7:54 pm
Modified: Tue 25 February 2020, 8:01 pm

Hello fellow DECO3850-ers!! My name is Michelle and I am in my third year of pursuing a Bachelor of Information Technology with a focus in User Experience Design.

I think I am a very organised and hardworking person. I have come to appreciate a good challenge and, as such, am always willing to put in the hard yards to see my work (and my team's!!) come to life.

I don't really know what to expect from the course as I have heard so much about it. In fact, I think one thing I have learnt in DECO3850 so far is not to expect anything. I think preconceived expectations can limit the creativity, skills and design prospects that this course facilitates and, as I am really hoping for a challenge, I have no expectations. I do, however, want to expand my skillset - especially in more physical facets (woodwork, laser cutting, metalwork etc). I want to push myself to develop something innovative and novel. I want to improve my design outlook - to reimagine the world around me so as to find ways to improve it.

Hopefully DECO3850 can help me achieve that.