Post 5: Approaches to Design for Change, Design-led Ethnograph

I was randomly assigned to another person in my class to interview. The interview I conducted was to open my interviewee’s mind and make her more conscience about her feelings of her day. I started off my interview with warming her up and making her comfortable in this setting. After going through the warming up phase, I began prying my interviewee with my questions.


My questions were to ask them a series of questions that would let them discuss how they feel and ask whether they are conscious of their emotions. From these questions, I asked about their habits and reactions when they feel a certain way. I had expected my interviewee to understand the basics of Mental Health, to understand it to be an issue that was at large in Australia. Another large expectation I had was when I pried for her habits that she may attempt to continue to act in a way that would deepen those emotions.


Questions Outline:

  1. Hey! Hows your day been? What is the most memorable thing you’ve done today?  Do you think that made you happy/sad? Did it influence you in anyway ? Do you think you’re quicker to share bad news or good news more often? What do you remember more? (referring to bad good news)
  2. Do you think you’re a more optimistic person than you are a pessimist?
  3. What are some behaviours and habits you have when you’re feeling happy? What do you do? Do you treat yourself with good food, or share it with your closest friends. Do you snapchat it?
  4. When you’re upset, what habits do you engage with? Do you watch sad movies? What movies? Why?
  5. When you’re feeling these things what are you trying to do? Do you try and make yourself feel happier? Or worse?
  6. What do you think makes a good mental health?
  7. Do you think it’s an important issue in Australia?
  8. Why do you think so?
  9. Thank you for sharing this with me.



What I have discovered from this brief interview is that we as human go off in tangents, some ideas are not understood completely straight away and sometimes its the interviewer’s job to direct the interviewee into the ideas that the interviewers wanted to flesh out on.

Through asking these questions I believe my interviewee took notice of the things she did during the day, she also seemed overall more positive and delighted by the small things that happened for example she said one of her highlights were to buy her coffee for the day. Another enjoyable factor about this interview was that she was transparent and was brutally honest about her day as well as her opinions on her good and bad days.

I was fortunate to have interviewed someone who believed themselves to be optimistic. Her answers to my fourth question is overall predictable however one interesting idea is her lack of engagement with technology when she’s happy as she believes she enjoys ‘living’ as she has put it. She wasn’t able to get in depth what she does when she feels on the lower side of things as she doesn’t indulge in films but she does listen to more depressing music.

My interviewee was delighted to share that it isn’t in her nature to become more depressed if she is upset, she would call herself out of her mood and is perfectly able to cope with her emotional state. She has a strong attitude that highs and lows are fundamental to human feeling, and she allows these feelings to pass and appreciates them.



My probe was for my interviewee to go about her everyday and be aware of the conversations she was having. I asked her to create a digital ’emoji’ care package in response to the conversations she was having. This experiment was to get her to be aware of the conversation she was having, to be sensitive and to be selective of the right emojis to respond. With our interview in her mind this would help her appreciate the words and actions she can contribute to the other person.


Results & Analysis:


Emoji’s are becoming a new way of expressing emotions and helps contextualise the words we send digitally to each other. They help aid in the understanding of ideas. What I had gotten my interviewee to do was basically understand the words and conversations she was having.

The emoji care packages she has made a brief and short, but each collection shows an interesting story. I didn’t ask my interviewee to tell me the contents of the conversation, but these emoji care packages have been diverse. Visuals are usually quite positive in nature, there are a few sad emojis but overall the positive emojis are used more often.


Next Time:

If I had the chance to conduct this interview again, I would lengthen the questionnaire, in order to flesh out ideas further. I also would get my interviewee to collect the responses from those she was speaking to as well. Also ask for a further summation interview to ask how the probe went and if she felt she had learnt anything from the experience as well.


Author: Danyen Rosa Nguyen

Visual Communication Student at University of Technology, Sydney