How People Work: Reflection Blog by Renee and Jayden

Jayden Liu
3 min readOct 14, 2021

In our first year of learning design at CMU, we could have never imagined how in-depth design can go into. We started our education sketching rocks and leaves, and now we are learning about how we can improve our design by considering how people feel and how people think.

From learning about how people feel to how people think, it was interesting to see a connection between the two different ideas and how they relate to each other. We were brought up with the idea that design should not only make people feel certain emotions, but also take people on an interacting journey. Not only do we have to think about how people would feel during their interaction with the design, but we also have to consider how people would think to interact with the design. Knowing that there is knowledge in the head and knowledge in the world helps us as designers to think in advance of what to consider to make an efficient interaction.

We both currently take E-studio right now, and our first project was to create a museum experience. Visitors could either go right or left from the door, however, designers have the ability to decide that by putting out information into the environment to guide the visitors. In Renee’s model, she puts arrows, footprints, and other directional graphics to inform the visitors as to where they go. This is an example of how Renee used the knowledge that people know which direction to go based on signifiers.

In Jayden’s model, he purposely made the space on the left more spacious to signify the visitors to go there first. Jayden decided to do this since it is more likely for visitors to go to the space that is more open considering the thought about how people would feel.

While we did not have a specific word for it, we all subconsciously have our own mental models that we use when interacting with a design. It is what the user believes about the system at hand. As a designer we could bridge the gap between the mental model and the intended use by either confirming users’ mental model or improving users’ mental model to match our systems. We were particularly interested as to which of the methods is preferred and what are the implications of choosing either of those.

A memorable statement that Jonathan Chapman mentioned was, “We want people to feel a range of emotions”. It was shocking, but also interesting at the same time because up until now, we’ve designed projects at CMU to give a specific emotion to people. For example, during our freshman year, we needed to design a poster that made people feel empathy towards the endangered animal. However, emotions can change and develop just like how each day we face something new and that engraves a mental model in our mind. A good design should be an intriguing experience that acknowledges the change of emotions.