{post 5} the issue with assumption + concerns of life.

interview. probe. findings. reflection. judith tan.

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(Think Eat Write Read 2014)

In this post, I will explain, record and analyse my findings from some primary research I conducted in the hopes of understanding some of the viewpoints young adults have on the issue of homelessness.

Continue reading “{post 5} the issue with assumption + concerns of life.”


POST 5: Approaches to design for change and design-led ethnography // Interview and probe



This informal, semi-structured interview gave me an insight into areas of mental health that I hadn’t considered before. My interviewee partner wasn’t as knowledgable about mental health as I have become over the past few weeks so his answers to my questions were quite raw and refreshing.

When I asked him what generally comes to mind when he thinks of mental health, he responded with drugs, negativity, selfish individuals and violet people. This response startled me and reinforced what I have been researching; stigma and discrimination against mentally ill people. He isn’t very aware of mental health issues as he hasn’t experienced them first or second hand. He has seen documentaries and depicting os people with mental illnesses being socially unstable. A good point that he made was that mental health problems are not just about the mind, it affects people’s physical health as well. He also described how he views people with mental health issues and how he acts differently around them. He agreed that he acts differently by changing the tone of his voice and the way he speaks to them. He says that people with mental health issues have random and spontaneous actions and emotions so it is hard to expect how they will react in some situations.

One aspect of mental health issues I wanted to ask him about was his own experiences of stress in everyday life and how it affects him. He responded that university life such as assignments, group work and responsibilities make him stressed and he often finds it difficult to manage. When he is stressed, he is scared of making mistakes and becomes nervous. The intention of this question was to simulate to him how, someone suffering from mental health issues (for example anxiety) might feel on a day-to-day basis.

Finally, I asked what he uses as coping mechanisms for when he is stressed or nervous. To my surprise and delight he said that he plays video games to unwind and calm down. This is an aspect of mental health treatment I researched early on in POST 1: Secondary Sources // Mental Health; specifically the benefits of Pokemon Go for people suffering with mental health issues. For my my partner, the stress remains on his mind for a while but doing things such as playing video games takes his mind of things briefly so he can relax.

Reflecting on this interview experience, I think it was quite successful as I gained some insights into mental health I hadn’t considered before. However, his answers were quite short and it was difficult to get him to expand on his responses as he didn’t have much knowledge on mental health in general. If I were to conduct this interview again, I would try and provide more context for him and perhaps form more open questions and subquestions.


The probe that I set my partner was to meditate everyday for a week and write down how he felt before and after. Meditation is a simple act for a healthier mind and awareness of mental health. It is beneficial for everyone to take a few moments out of their day to relax and focus on their body and mind. For this probe, I told him to use the free app Headspace to help guide him with his meditations during the week. Visit here to find out more about the Headspace app for meditation.

Screenshots from the Headspace app created by Andy Puddicombe (Thrive Magazine 2016).

Before starting with the probe, my partner listed 10 purposes/goals for meditation:

  1. Reduce stress and improve positive attitude.
  2. Increase concentration.
  3. Reduce the pain from headaches.
  4. Control my mind and body.
  5. Reduce physical and mental tiredness.
  6. Improve brain function and planning ability.
  7. Reduce stress and anxiety.
  8. Test and improve my biorhythm.
  9. Sleep well and earlier.
  10. Understanding myself.

Most of the time before meditating, he stated that he was stressed, tired and nervous about university assignments or work. After meditating he felt more relaxed and was able to reflect and evaluate on his day. It helped improved his concentration and even helped reduced the pain from a migraine one day. Throughout the week he also increased the duration of his meditations from 1 minute to 7 minutes which shows how he learned to take time out of his day to focus on his mind.

Main words my partner used to describe his feelings before (red) and after (blue) meditating.

The purpose of this meditation probe was help my partner become more aware of his mind and thoughts in order to empathise more with people suffering from mental illnesses who would find this type of meditation difficult. Ideally, I would have liked him to experience a face-to-face meditation class to compare it to the Headspace app to see which was most affective. Overall, I think this was a rewarding and enlightening experience as I have learnt a little more about mental health in relation to meditation and treatment and he achieved his goals from meditating everyday.


Fit Journey 2013, Headspace; The App of all App’s, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://fit-journey.com/health/headspace-the-app-of-all-apps>

Thrive Magazine 2016, Get More Headspace, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://thrive-magazine.co.uk/get-more-headspace/>

Interview and Probe about the association between environment and obesity & healthy living

Blog Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

Written by Hyunjoung You


I have conducted the interview about obesity & healthy living to my specific issue to my interviewee in the class. There are five findings from this primary research.


1.  Interesting issue about obesity & healthy living

The interviewee was more interested in right diet than other issues that are related to obesity and healthy living. She thought that people do not have enough knowledge what diet is good for their health and preventing from being obese. Therefore, she believed the early education is important so people can use to have proper diets.

Through her answer, I realized people were aware of the importance of right diet. However, there are no opportunities that people learn which diet is better properly. I thought children education would be helpful to solve future problem is being obesity to children.


2. Major contributors of obesity & healthy living

Modern culture & busy life

The interviewee said it is one of major contributors to obesity & healthy living. Many people do not have time to do exercise, and cook at home. Today people prefer eating outside or buying takeaway food due to convenience. Also, some people pursue their convenience too much; even though the distance is short, some people choose driving car rather than taking walk.

Advertisement industry

The interviewee talked about food advertisement as well. She could see lots of soft drink like Coca Cola or junk food ads, but it is hard to find the advertisements for alcohol, soft drink or food by healthy companies.


She pointed out the lack of education about right diet in childhood. Children education is important to prevent from being obesity. She believed that eating habit could make people being healthier or not.

Three contributors that the interviewee came up with obesity & healthy living were all appropriate. Besides, I found three of them are related to my issue. It seems like busy life tend to make people living sedentary lifestyle. In addition, the environment they live in has more unhealthy food shops than healthier food shops. Therefore, it might bring about a limited choice of diets to people.


3. Active urban design prevents obesity or not

My interviewee was not sure if active urban design could prevent obesity. However, she was certain that it could help public health in general; more green spaces and better recreational areas can encourage people to exercise more. She also gave me the example that is dedicated urban bicycle lanes are really helpful for people who are thinking about cycling especially in Australia, as it can be dangerous to cycle on roads. Additional parks and green spaces are also good for promoting the community to do physical activities.

My interview has a broad understanding of the association between our environment and public health. This shows how our environment impacts on our health.


4. The possible opposition to active urban design

The interviewee thought there would probably be opposing views of creating active urban design since everyone would always have different opinions. However, she did not think that the disagreement was based on whether or not they wanted to have health promoting urban design. The disagreement might be going to be about what kinds of urban design in specific that is needed in the area. She said there would be concerns, for example, do we want to build a cool playground for kids or build a public gym? She was sure this was the type of opposing opinion happened all the time.

I realized that I overlooked the thing that my interviewee pointed out. It was nice time to think about other issues about this solution.


5. The ideas for preventing obesity

She mentioned about children education again, but she thought urban design and children education could be connected. For example, growing plants or fruit by children in specific areas to help them have right diets.

I thought it was good idea combining both ideas together. Hence, children can be familiar to eating vegetables and healthy food, and some parts of urban design create by public.



After the interview, due to my issue that I have looked at so far is about the association between environment and obesity & healthy living. Therefore, I wondered the environment around her in particular to food industry. I asked she usually cook at home or not, and then, she said that she normally ate food outside. Therefore, I asked her to capture the map of her place to see what kinds of food industry are located in.

map from r.png
The map around building 6 and interviewee’s house (http://maps.uts.edu.au/map.cfm)


This image was from my interviewee, and she put the red lines on the place where she normally went to eat. She also mentioned there are some missing shops like KFC, sushi shop, and lots of takeaway food shops between building 6 and central station such as Thai, Chinese, and sandwich shop, and so on. She lives in UTS accommodation that is why she usually has food around there. She added there are not much healthy food shops compares to sugary or junk food shops; therefore, she does not have many choices to choose healthier foods.

Through this probe, even though I looked at the food environment of small area, I could find that many people are already exposed to those kinds of food industry. The way to prevent it is only a change of our environment for people. We need to choose healthier choices easily in our environment, and it can be happened by our acts. It might be one of our responsibilities; everyone should be aware of it, and act now.

After primary research, I could see what is difference between primary research and secondary research. When I used secondary research to write previous blog posts, secondary research includes existing research, and involves analysis or literature reviews. However, primary research, especially conducting interview and probe by one person was personal. Thus, I could get diverse perspectives of the issue by different people; they have different opinions and ideas, so it is really helpful to come up with the thoughts that I could not have.

post five: harsh perceptions & realities of homelessness

by zena dakkak


Understanding perceptions and stereotyping is key in understanding how and why society thinks of homeless people in the way they do. For my interview I really wanted to dig deep and uncover the thoughts of people between the ages of 18-25. I interviewed a university student to further discover these issues and explore the issue of homelessness and how her views could impact my findings.


I began my interview with some basic questions to understand what kind of perspective April has on the homeless community. Ultimately when asked how she feels when she sees a homeless person she expressed her sympathy for them.

“I feel pity, and feel sorry for them. I share empathy for them, as they are very unfortunate”

To further investigate her perception of homeless people I continued to ask what she thinks the causes of homelessness is. Unsurprisingly, the answers that were provided were as I expected as I had the same views before I started my investigation into homelessness. Based on her assumed knowledge and what she’s heard, she stated that she feels the main causes of homelessness are mainly drugs and alcohol, family and financial issues. But as we progressed with our conversation I discovered she’d rather spend her money on herself because she’s uncertain of where they’d spend the money if she donated it to them. She expressed that instead of change they will continue to waste their money on unnecessary items rather than changing their lifestyle. But the uncertainty is that maybe they don’t know where to begin, or are too embarrassed to approach centres.

The conversation develops into the harsh realities the issue of homelessness and how the people of the public view it. As a university student that passes Central tunnel all the time, there are constantly homeless people asking for spare change or for food. Often ignored, they are perceived as invisible. When asked what her response is if she were to be approached and asked for help by a homeless person, she states that she carries on like it’s a causal day, oblivious to her surroundings and continues to walk.

“Usual casual day walks past, ignore than and decline”

Because of this repeated action the thought of her ignoring a homeless person quickly leaves her mind and does not linger resulting with her getting used to the action and moving on with her day.

As we discuss the issue of homeless in the short amount of time that we had, she conveys her thoughts on how society and the public are selfish and only like to think of themselves when it comes to complex and social issues like homelessness. The issue of homelessness isn’t often spoken about because society chooses to ignore and dehumanise them causing them to think that they are lesser than themselves. She communicates that they don’t concern us or impact our daily lives so as a result we neglect them and ignore their requests for help.

Design Probe

To further gather insight into the extent of the issue of homelessness around the city, I asked my interviewee to keep a tally of all the homeless people she sees on the way home. The results are as follows.

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
8 7 5 10 6 7 6

The amount of people shown vary from day to day but show a significant insight into just how many people live on the street. This is a small indication to show just how big this issue is and that extra awareness needs to established in order to abolish these typical stereotypes.


Given the short time we had to conduct the interview, I was able to gather some insight into the issue of homelessness among the age group discussed earlier. Of course with more interviews I think I would have a better understanding into the perceptions of my audience.

As expected, my interview confirmed my thoughts of the stereotypes already established within society. After investigating into the mind of my interviewee it was clear that most of the communities do not know the struggles homeless people go through to survive. They take one look at them and quicken their pace to avoid any contact with them. Hopefully with extra research and findings, I hope to create a better understanding of homelessness and social exclusion for communities.


Five Summary points

  • Evidence that there is a lack of understanding when it comes to homelessness
  • Instead of assisting the homeless and have a better understanding of their situation, the public is more likely to pass by and use the money for themselves
  • Society is viewed as selfish. They only like to think of themselves when it comes to materialistic objects. Whereas the homeless view them as a survival tool
  • Homelessness is a complex and underrated issue that needs awareness to educate the public about this problem within the community
  • Stereotypes were confirmed while progressing with the interview

POST 5: Interview and design probe task

by Jessica Avelina Horo

In this blogpost, I will talk about the tasks I developed about what is happening to refugees/asylum seekers in Australia and some parts of the world.

As a international student,

I have no idea how the political situation or what’s happening here.

So I aim to get as much information from different resources and understand the different perspective of the issue. From my research through news and scholarly resources, which are more unbiased and trustworthy, I developed my knowledge of this issue. It was not easy to grasps how the real situation is as I am afraid the media could make biased report and probably the government is not transparent enough about this issue. This week, I interview someone from my class, aged between 18-24 and make a list of probe questions. This task helped me to know what people knows about refugees and asylum seeker in Australia. It was an informal interview with a semi structured questions.

The interview

  1. Are you fully aware of the whole refugee/ asylum seekers’ situation in Australia? What do you know about it?
  2. How do you know about the issue? Do you read it somewhere and what do you think of how the media reporting the issue right now?
  3. What’s your position, do you agree with the “Stop the Boat” policy or you want to let them stay in Australia? Why?
  4. What are the advantages that you know from refugees that could benefit Australia in your opinion?
  5. What are the disadvantages that you know from refugees that affect Australia in your opinion?

While doing the interview, I found that it was really interesting to know what other people know and what their opinions are in this issue. She told me that refugees are not the type of information that she really interested in and that’s why she never really do a proper research of how the current situation is. However, as an Australian, she did have general awareness of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, moreover after the election. She gets most of her information in social medias and never really read the news about the issue and agree that this issue is quite a sensitive and dark in terms of how she reads it in social medias. Also, she doesn’t really know what’s happening in the detention centre too. She also told me that she is quite concerned of how refugees could contribute to Australia as they come with no language skills and of course it will be hard for them to find jobs. She also stands neutral, without taking any sides because she feels that she doesn’t really know about the issue.

As the interview went on, I started to think how this interview has gave me a new understanding. I may go quite biased when I tried to read the news, for example I read how the condition in the detention centre is not suitable at all for living and how sad it is for the refugees to be forced to leave their home-country and belongings because of political reasons. However, the interviewee reminded me that government probably have their own judgement and political reasons by doing so. They are quite concerned of how this large amount of refugees entering Australia without any visa or plan. Still, the detention centre and keeping them away is not the solution. I just hope that this situation will get better as government is trying to find solution to and people just come together to raise awareness about refugees and asylum seekers in Australia without any biased information.

Design probe task

Ask your friend or someone you know, what do they think at first when they heard the word ‘refugees’ or ‘asylum seekers’? What are their position on this issue too?

From this task, I gained an understanding of how people think and perceive asylum seekers based on their opinion and from what they read online. One of her friend even said that he strongly rejects refugees to come over to Australia without visa, as each country have their own rule and policy. The rules also need to be applied to everyone without looking at their condition or cause. Though, he never really do a research specifically about this issue in news and trustworthy sites.

Take away points from the interview and design probe task

  1. The interviewee, have a general awareness of the refugees and asylum seekers’ issue in Australia but she never really have a proper research so that she missed some important information.
  2. The interviewee gives a different perspective of how to see the issue.
  3. The interview and the design probe task helped me to see the issue in someone’s eyes and be more objective, rather than doing the research and making opinion alone.
  4. The design probe task is too sudden so that the questions are quite general. If I have more time, I would like to dig deeper question related to this issue. 
  5. Medias is a powerful communication tool. It could affect how people have an opinion about an issue.

Post 5: An Individual’s Perspective

Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography
Christine Ye


After reading online articles and academic papers by individuals heavily involved in or immersed in the issue of housing affordability, it was interesting to gain insight into someone else’s perspective, and especially someone who wasn’t born and raised in Australia. The questions I asked aimed to gauge her level of understanding on the topic along with her assumptions, observations, experiences and personal thoughts.

One surprising opinion I gained from the interviewee was that she thought it was actually quite easy to gain access to a bank loan in order to purchase your own home; this is something that isn’t common through reading articles, which generally pitch the housing situation to be quite dire and difficult to get into for the millennial generation. However one article which I read and analysed in blog post 1 seems to reflect the same idea, that it isn’t that hard to get your foot into the door of the housing market. Without even realising, the interviewee and her friends have a joint-ownership on their property in terms of pooling together funds, which makes owning a house much more affordable.

The transcript of the interview can be read below:

What are your impressions of the housing situation in Australia?
I’ve heard the term before but I don’t know much about it. What I hear is that there are too many people coming into Australia, and that we don’t have enough houses for them so the price of houses go up. Whenever there is a sale, things are sold out quickly.

What is your current housing situation?
Currently I live in an apartment in the city. It’s a three bedroom apartment that I’m renting from a friend, and I also share it with three other friends. We split rent.

Do you feel a strong need to become a home owner in the next five years?
I think in the end, within the next five years, I’ll have to find a house. I think it’s better to live in one, somewhere not too far from the city, but a nicer environment that is not so busy. I feel it’s more stable to buy a house rather than an apartment, and rather than paying rent each month.

Are there any expectations you have of your first house?
I’m still an international student and don’t know much about the situation in each suburb…but I’d want a location that is close to a supermarket, restaurants and shopping centres. Maybe like Parramatta. Definitely not Chatswood though because I heard it’s so much more expensive. Blacktown could be good too because most of my friends live there.

Do many of your friends own a house?
My friends tell me that it’s actually quite easy to purchase a house here, as long as you have a job and you just borrow a bit of money from the bank. But he told me that the debt won’t be payed off for thirty years, that aside, I understand it is quite easy but that’s maybe from an international perspective.

What suburbs do they buy into and why?
Most of my friends live in Glenfield, it’s quite far from the city but it’s cheap there. They all live together to pool funds. One of my friends are planning to buy a newly built house in Blacktown…I heard it’s not too safe of an area but they opened some really awesome luxury houses within a big park that used to be a golf course. However I think you need a car to buy that car, and that the cheaper price difference is due to the distance from the city. Most of my friends in Glenfield live quite far from the station so they end up having to buy a car. The bus station is far too so they don’t have much of a solution.

In terms of what you understand, are there any solutions that come to mind when it comes to housing affordability?
I don’t really know the main problems in housing affordability, but I think it’s maybe the government that doesn’t manage the housing so well. They should come up with a policy to limit the international buyers who don’t even live in the property, or maybe they can build more houses. The government makes it easy to invest.


The probe I constructed for my interviewee required her to ask different people she knew in the 18-25 age range a set of questions on their age, occupation, where they currently live, where they’d want to live and why, and how close these suburbs were to Sydney CBD. The aim of my probe was to gauge a general opinion on why they’d want to live in a particular area. The results are shown below:


A few general things I noted from the probe were that all participants would like to live within the 20km radius of Sydney CBD, but none of them wanted to live in the actual heart of the city for preference of a little more personal space. While nobody mentioned anything to do with how much the average property in the area would cost and if that was an issue, they prefer locations which are convenient in terms of travelling time and suburbs close to shopping districts which generally mean a higher average house price.

Just like with the interview, the probe itself provided insight into a group of people’s preferences which allowed me to make some general assumptions of the cohort. However in terms of where my interests lie, I feel like I should have included questions which evoke a more emotional response, possibly asking participants to rate their satisfaction of the suburb on a scale which can later be expressed in a more engaging visual way. As a probe, it was a quick and easy task for the interviewee to do, however the questions lacked depth and I didn’t gain any extremely surprising responses.

Five Point Summary

  1. Majority of people interviewed in the probe wanted to live within a 20km radius of the city.
  2. Convenience in terms of transport times and vicinity to essential services such as supermarkets was a big factor in choosing where people wanted to live.
  3. Even though my interviewee wasn’t highly knowledgeable on the topic of housing affordability, she showed awareness of how to make it easier when it comes to lessening the financial burden of owning a house.
  4. In relation to my academic sources, possibly the above point does raise a deeply imbedded attitude issue in Generation Y.
  5. When it comes to probes in the future, think up more provoking questions that will allow me to gauge a deeper understanding of how people feel.

blog 5- My Interview Related Mental Health; What Does My Interviewee Say?

By Marcella K. Handoko Kwee

Studio Interview Session

Psychotherapy session interview
Professional experienced therapist conducting interview with patient (The Stockton Therapy Network n.d.)

During studio session, I conducted an interview related mental health (as part of the class activity) with one of my classmates. I provided him 6 interview questions based self-experience and self-opinion, which have not been discussed in any sources I have found in my research. I aim to conduct another interview with one of my friends with different gender, personality, experiences, perspective and opinions. I would expect different views between research findings and one interviewee to another. Below is the list of questions of interview conducted:

  • Question 1:
    Position yourself in a situation where your close friend suffers from mental illness. This person repeatedly has said something like “I cant handle this anymore. Nothing can help me.” Would that change your perspective/feeling towards your best friend? Would you feel scared of your friend and leave him/her because you think this person will do no good to you or would you help him/her to get out of the problems? What would you say to your friend? What is your idea?
  • Question 2:
    According to your opinion, what is considered a serious mental illness?
  • Question 3:
    Based on your experiences, do you have the ability to spot mental issue on other people? Could you spot whether someone has mental issue? If the answer is yes, what makes you think that way? Would you quietly helping this people although this person is not aware of it?
  • Question 4:
    When you ask someone ‘how are you? how have you been?’ Let just say this person answers ‘I am good or I am doing fine etc’, would you believe it? Would you really think this person is doing fine?
  • Question 5:
    Have u ever been in a situation when you feel so upset and you thought you suffered from mental illness?
  • Question 6:
    When you feel underpressure from school assignments. Do you think that would affect your mental health? What could you do about it?

Spending time with loved ones affected with mental illness, getting familiar with the problems is a powerful tool “for changing attitudes, influencing fear, social distance, and hence stigma”, instead of simply suggesting them to seek help of others.

I would like to point out some findings that I thought would be great to point out in the summary. To answer the first question, first interviewee said that he would follow western culture where a person who has little to no knowledge on the matter, especially something that relates to personal psychological problems should not be giving suggestions to anyone, which might worsen the issue. He would calm his friend down and simply suggest him to seek mental health professionals because the professionals should be able to handle this issue better than him. However, he did not make clear statements whether psychological problems of his friend might affect his feelings/attitudes toward his friend. According to OAM (2013, in A life without stigma), spending time with loved ones affected with mental illness, getting familiar with the problems is a powerful tool “for changing attitudes, influencing fear, social distance, and hence stigma”, instead of simply suggesting them to seek help of others. I would agree with this statement because unstable people with mental issue can only feel emotionally supported and warmness in families and dearly friends, which cannot be found in professional helps. A recent study found “knowing someone who is open about having a mental health problem has a clear and positive impact on attitude and behaviour.” (Time to Change, 2013 in OAM 2013)

Some people can hide their problems very well.

In answering question 3 and 4, he stated that he does not have the ability to spot ‘what is going on’ in other people. So he would not know if the person who he has been seeing to is suffering from mental illness. He said “some people can hide their problems very well.” Furthermore, he told me that he has watched a quite good show associated with mental health on youtube. The show is called ‘A Life and Depression by Matthew J. Dempsey’. However, I have no chances to watch it just yet. Although he could not spot whether someone is having a though day, he would still not believe if they say ‘I am doing good’ or ‘I am having a good day’. According to my interviewee, it is inappropriate to show vulnerability unhappiness to people particularly in western cultures. Everyone has their own problems, why would you help him/her if you cannot even solve your own problems. Furthermore, he pointed out that it would have been different if we were in asian cultures. “When you talk to a person, they would give better suggestions eventhough they arent professionals” and yet, all depends on the topic of discussion. I somehow agree with his statements. Based on my research, people with mental health issue tend to cover up their feelings and mental conditions due to the fear of being considered ‘crazy’. So that would not be possible to spot other’s mental conditions unless they reach us and try to speak up.

Lastly, he has no doubt that school assignments are the reasons he feels anxious for quite sometime. This sounds interesting to me. I thought I was the only one who feel extremely anxious and crying due to school works. Additionally, he pointed out that he would seek professionals in case the anxiety comes back.

To conclude, I am not quite satisfied with the interview findings this time. I should have kept the conversation going by replying my interviewee’s answers. I will try different approaches next time. I personally do not think a conducted interview alone is strong enough to help me understand other’s views toward mental issue on regular basis. I would like to know more about other’s opinions on stigma of mental health, whether they agree or disagree with medias’ perspectives toward people with mental issue etc.

Peer’s Home Task

A few days later, I contacted my interviewee once again regarding his statements in the interview question number 4. I asked him what makes him think that western culture, particularly in Australia is different from Asian cultures in expressing personal feelings to other people that it is inappropriate to show vulnerability unhappiness to people when they are being asked ‘how are you?’, ‘how do you feel?’ and similar questions.

The findings according to the research he conducted:

  • The fear of ‘face loss’ in Asian cultures, particularly in the East regions. In East Asia, people like to show the good side of attitudes and behaviours to others, care so much about others’ opinions, avoid judgements and live very low-profile. They are scared of being different and somehow tend to be introverted. “They’d rather die with a billion than survive on their own.”
  • Second factor is mental health stigma does exist in Asia as well. The idealised image of being mentally-ill is being crazy. They are not aware that mental health problems come in various ways to various degrees. My interviewee told me that he has watched a YouTube video about a psychologist who shares about the severity states of mental health issue in between Asian American and White American when the time they seek professional helps. It is very shocking to know the truth that Asian American is way more severe than White American. The culture is individual should not be concerned over minor problems. It is very unlucky of them to try to seek professional helps when the issue they have cannot be handled anymore due to their lack of mental health knowledge over culture as well as their pride of getting positive names.
  • The interesting findings on how Asians treat physical issue and mental issue. In physical case, people in Asia will gladly advice others either to receive specific medications or to see doctors. According to his statement, “the whole motivation of this peer help is the result of the collective survivalism of Asian culture. To survive together. To help each other. This collective survivalism is also the root of the fear of ‘face loss’.” However, overcoming the fear of judgements by being more open about their mental states to others is very risky. They will receive different treatments in regular basis or get specific labels from people they know.

I also asked him about his dicoveries on mental health stigma and opinions toward media in this case. His statements are:

  • Media should have been more aware of such negative presentations of people with mental issue. It will not reduce any acts of criminality in the world neither will help solving any actual problems. Violence can come from anyone. Furthermore, people with mental issue is still human and even if they have committed to such criminality, there might have been reasons for their ‘dangerous’ behaviours. Media should have been teaching good. Media should have been used as one of public’s learning platforms: to share knowledge, especially of mental health issue, what takes place, how it works so that public becomes more aware of mental health and thus provide more helps and supports instead of portraying them negatively.
  • Lastly, he added “The media is a massive existence. It is a platform. Actually, there are a lot of platforms. And these platforms are controlled by people. We, as visual communicators and designers, have a certain amount of power to actually change people’s minds. So I suggest, like a famous designer once said, ‘Don’t do good design. Do good.’ I think designers have the responsibility to make the world a better place. Regarding this issue, designers and creatives can create posters, info-graphics and videos about mental health, educating the people on social media.”

Post Five: Are junk emails trustworthy?

To appeal to a target group of 18-28 year olds, a set of five questions were devised in order to determine how much knowledge a member of this said target audience has on the topic of data surveillance and online privacy. These questions, acting more as conversation starters than direct questions, provided a much more personal insight into the data world in relation to the secondary research carried out previously.

Interview Questions:

  1. Have you ever received a scam email? Describe its contents.
  2. How did you know this was a scam or a legitimate email? What features gave this away?
  3. Do you think people should have the same level of privacy for their belongings and assets online as they do with belongings and assets in real life? 
  4. Who should be at fault if someone falls for a scam email or similar? The person who clicks the links, or the person who creates the links?
  5. Do you go to any lengths to ensure your privacy/safety online? (e.g using separate emails, not using location services, covering webcams/microphone).

The interview questions were asked to a peer not currently researching data surveillance and online privacy and therefore the answers were somewhat cautious and guarded as they could only relate to personal experience or what they had seen recently in current affairs rather than in-depth secondary research on the topic. This garnered a much more ‘real life’ response to the questions and issues presented which is extremely useful to understand and consider when investigating the topic of data surveillance and online privacy as a whole.

Interview Responses:

  1. Haven’t received any to my direct inbox, only to my junk mail inbox. They usually say “you’ve won money” etc.
  2. I didn’t recognise the sender of the email and I hadn’t entered my details into anything that related to the email. It’s all about reliability.
  3. Facebook and Google are all about tailored advertising which is creepy and an invasion of privacy – people should be asked if something is going to be seen elsewhere on the internet. However, the same people are usually those who illegally download so I guess it works both ways.
  4. If it is something recognisably fake or something that looks explicitly like a scam then it’s your fault as you should be more aware. But if the scam looks real then it isn’t so much your fault but there should be more privacy awareness around the issue – just depends on the situation.
  5. I have an AdBlocker on my laptop which prevents a lot of things like tailored advertising etc. Always have social media accounts on private. I try not to use geotagging on images on Instagram or Facebook. I don’t visit untrustworthy sites.

From these responses, I decided to investigate the scam email issue further by attempting to discover if people actually trusted any junk emails they were sent. I conducted a probe kit to be filled out over a week and garnered the response shown below.

probe 1
Instructions provided for the scam email probe kit
Response from the scam email probe kit after one week

After receiving the probe kit back, I realised my instructions could have been more detailed and should have included a section to write why the particular email was deemed trustworthy or not. This would have provided a better insight into the aesthetic features of emails that some are so quickly to write off as scams. Despite this minor failure, I was able to understand that people do have the ability to determine whether or not they trust an email or not and this opens up a whole new argument of why some users are so well-informed in this area and why some users are not informed at all; an area which I will be researching further.

Five Point Summary:

  1. People definitely have the ability to determine the trustworthiness of an email.
  2. The emails the user marked as trustworthy were from well-known senders which obviously influenced this tick of approval.
  3. Junk/scam emails are definitely more common to receive in the junk email folder than ‘trustworthy’ emails (as suspected). I’m interested to know if there is an algorithm that determines this.
  4. Junk emails aren’t always scam emails – the probe kit should have asked the user to actually determine if the email was a scam email (fraudulent etc) not just a junk or spam email.
  5. The probe kit should have specified to include a reason behind why they listed an email as trustworthy or not – this would have then been great to test on other groups to see if the reasons were similar.

Header Image
Email sourced from a personal account

By Chloe Schumacher

Approaches to Design for Change, Design-Led Ethnography


Audience Age 18-25 | Persona, University Student

Have you heard of climate change?

Yes, a lot of controversial viewpoints, from false and factual opinions.

When you hear that term what comes to mind; i.e. phrases, ideas, key words, opinions, stories?

According to this knowledge of it, is a legitimate believer, however also influenced by the information available to me and unsure if this information is completely trustworthy of not. There is a sense of skepticism involved.

Can you recall the last time climatic issues became apparent to you?

Much of what is known about climate change comes from the media; news, articles, Facebook sharing and posting, as well as other forms of social media sharing (twitter, online news platforms and so on).

Do you remember an experience, hearing a friend talk about it, on tv, or a personal encounter regarding it? How did you feel?

Its hard to pinpoint an exact occasion or moment. The best thing that could be referenced is when I went to the Great Barrier Reef when I was younger, approximately ten years ago. The landscape and diversity of the coral reef is a strong tourist attraction and understandably so, because of its apparent beauty, coral colours, marine species. Hearing the recent developments and the issues concerning the UN and Australian government cover ups, it would be interested to go back a see personally the developments.

How do you engage with these environmental issues? What could be more available to you to help you engage more? 

Essentially I am intrigued and concerned at the same time. Intrigued for the future and future generations, to see these climatic changes overtime. Then, whilst I m concerned that this should be an issue and that this is a legitimate issue it is a large issues. It is hard to understand what I could do as a single person in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes, I feel it’s not prominent and not regularly accessible to me as an issue to understand. At the same time much of this may be due to accessibility. If there were more accessibility to programs, interactive, actively contributing and seeing the changes in what contributors are actually doing. To do and see the results would allow audiences to feel more rewarded and impactful. I have had friends that collected rubbish up in the Whitsundays and who say that this practice, although is small reps the rewards of the practice. Something like this might help audiences see there is ongoing work to be done.


• Sometimes climate change is masked but the media circus surrounding the issue. The core of climate change, over-populations, emissions, global warming and all key dangerous contributions are overridden by the suspect of the issue.

• People understand the conspiracy more than the issues, but want to be more involved in a sense.

• With better understanding an interactivity with the issue will allow audiences to be more involved and engaged in the issue.

• Climate change is a problem resulted from many broader and larger issues in human activity, it is difficult to pin point. Sometimes the varying ideas may cause confusion. How as a designer can I make this issue more crystal clear?

• Audiences aren’t emotionally invested.

Audience Age 12-16 | Persona, High School Student

Have you heard of climate change?


When you hear that term what comes to mind; i.e. phrases, ideas, key words, opinions, stories?

The seasons, green house gases, the sun, burning of fossil fuels and that the world is getting hotter this is global warming.

Can you recall the last time climatic issues became apparent to you?

When hearing about it, it would have been last week. I learnt about it during science. Outside of learning about it I don’t hear much else, not really through media or anything like that. It is an issue, because we are burning and using resources which is affecting the atmosphere.

Do you remember an experience, hearing a friend talk about it, on tv, or a personal encounter regarding it? How did you feel?

I am concerned about the next generations, concerned about what the world will be like as we grow. It was interesting to experience the hot days in winter and the changing warm weather, it is quite bizarre. Whilst we are using up natural resources, its disappointing. But all in all, I’m not sure how I feel about it, I do care, but the impacts and my understanding of climate change make me unsure. It is a large issue, but I’m not sure what I can do.

How do you engage with these environmental issues? What could be more available to you to help you engage more? 

Essentially, to learn about the issue more I would ask and talk to teachers or talk to peers. More active programs for the youth to maintain waste and pollution. More media coverage and documentaries to educate people. More teaching requirements during school that could allow the youth for greater understanding. Whilst I learn about it in science, I’d like to see it incorporated in other subjects like geography, history, english, learning about sustainability in woodworks or impacts of agriculture in food technology. Or, more social media campaigns with greater and diverse sharing experiences because I haven’t really encountered any.


• There was a vague overtone to the interview, the interviewee was generally not sure or uninterested in the interview.

• However there is a clear understanding of what exactly climate change is and some of the obvious impacts that the interviewee had learnt during school.

• During this interview climate change was and is apparent, the idea of scepticism was never mentioned as compared to persona one.

• The interviewee wanted more awareness more readily available and reaching the youth at a more mass scale.

• Climate change is masked, but global warming is more well known.


Probe Instructions

A variety of two age groups are represented in this probe. Both groups are students, the first between 18-25 and the second 12-16. Each audience was proposed with a question or phrase to consider. Thoughtfully suggesting where their answer may lie on the scale of two responses. By drawing points along the scale, the audience represented how they felt or reacted in accordance to the issue of climate change. 


• The university student had more affirmative and definitive answers with clear insights into their views, a clearer understanding of climate change.

• It is interesting to note the sense of urgency from both perspectives. The young adult suggesting rapid increases and sense of grand scale within their answers. Although, the child suggesting affects of human activity contributing to climate change as an issue of the future.

• Both audiences have a positive, proactive understanding of climate change and issues surrounding this such as depleting natural resources, extinction of species, erosion, deforestation, marine biodiversity and so on.

• Political and scientific understandings were rather contrasting, with the adults finding it completely restricting, whilst younger audiences find it active. A sense of bias could be noted here.

• Overall, both audiences had similar answers. Further probing could look into older generations and the elderly, contrasting opinions and understandings of these two spectrums.

POST 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

by Jansie Vo

Adults commonly tell young people that the teenage years are the “best years of your life.” The rosy remembrance highlights happy groups of high school students energetically involved at a dance or sporting event, and a bright-eyed couple holding hands or sipping sodas at a local restaurant. This is only part of the picture. Life for many young people is a painful tug of war filled with mixed messages and conflicting demands from parents, teachers, coaches, employers, friends and oneself. Growing up—negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others—is a tough business. It creates stress, and it can create.

To gain further insights from primary research, the interview, conducted on 16 August 2016, with two young interviewees who are university students doing mental health issue provided information into important factors influencing mental illness, targetting to the prevalence of adolescent stress and depression. The result of interview shows that some of the stressful events related to young people experience, describes how young people deal with stress. The interviewee, she drops some serious knowledge about depression from her personal experience from friends and surrounding. From her understanding, when someone is depressed, she gives them advice. However, she understands they don’t want to listen, just try to be supportive, try to provide love. If they say they want to be left alone, leave them alone, and tell an adult that there is serious darkness going on, because it can be very dangerous to be depressed, they can become suicidal. What helps them throughout their depression is the love and support of us, be by their side throughout the whole process, to help them keep moving forward.

The hardest part in depression is in a dark state where they have no hope, no thoughts of moving forward, only staying in the past and present and dwelling on all of bad decisions and negative thoughts. The biggest way of coming out of depression is inner resolve. She thinks when the feeling super down or having tantrums or not able to participate in any activities, the need is to control themself, encourage to think positively, and move towards the light.

(My mental health day, 2014)
(Daily Naskaban, 2015)

The probe I asked my interviewee is to collect the information on social media in mental health and from this task, I found out most young people become stressed for many reasons. The most common of these are:

  • Break up with boy/girl friend
  • Increased arguments with parents
  • Trouble with brother or sister
  • Increased arguments between parents
  • Change in parents’ financial status
  • Serious illness or injury of family member
  • Trouble with classmates
  • Trouble with parents

These events are centered in the two most important domains of a teenager’s life: home and school. They relate to issues of conflict and loss. Loss can reflect the real or perceived loss of something concrete such as a friend or money, and it can mean the loss of such as self-worth, respect, friendship or love. In addition there are several barriers to integrate healthy lifestyles into the daily life identified is consisted of lack of energy and motivation, abuse drug use, and lack of time and personal views and attitudes towards health promotion as important elements influencing in mental health.

Five points of insight:

  • Personal experience is a significant element to gain insights in mental illness
  • Try to be supportive, try to provide love
  • Listen more and be with them throughout the whole process
  • Social media is more impact on physical activity and mental health benefits in daily life
  • The biggest way of coming out of depression is inner resolve


Hanson, M.2015, Social media can contribute to mental health issues, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/social-media-can-contribute-to-mental-health-issues/article_a602b910-6b0e-11e5-9f5f-c7eb6c57f02a.html&gt;

My mental health day, 2014, Maintain Your Mental health as a Social Media User, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.mymentalhealthday.org/tag/social-media-depression/&gt;


Fast food and fast judgement; an interview

annie_food-676x450Fast food and fast judgement by Epoch Times, 2015

Post five

By Marie Good

Recently I was able to conduct an interview with a class peer of mine who provided me with some interesting insights into the way she views Australia’s health an obesity status. My interviewee is from China and due to this, her knowledge of Australia’s status was based primarily on her relation and experience with an Asian lifestyle. At the end of the interview I was interested in her personal position in regards to her food intake, due to her knowledge and access to a culturally different society than myself.

We firstly discussed her view on Australia’s health and obesity status in general which she considered was quite healthy because of it’s access to organic produce and ability to produce and market it’s own, home-grown food. However, she thought there might be a problem in regards to our junk food saturated market. On pushing this further it was revealed the real reason she developed these views is because of the amount of red meat and fatty, cholesterol contributing processed foods Australia consumes compared Asia. She also touched on the increasing amount of alternate, labelled lifestyles popping up vigorously of modern times such as veganism and vegetarian, continuing to state, ‘for me, I am from Asia and people there like to eat more vegetables, grains and not so much red meat. As a result I think this is reflected in their weight.’

Her answer was very interesting and led me into asking what this statement meant for her stereotype of an unhealthy person, which she responded to as someone who is fat. I consider this quite an interesting take on society’s perception of what it means to be unhealthy. For example, when it comes to matters of the metabolism, which is the major consideration factor for the influence of fat distribution in our human biology, many people think slim people with a lower body mass index (BMI) are at less risk of developing health complications. This is a debatable topic in regards to body types, genetics and our body’s individuality in the matter.

We moved onto the area of what need to be changed in order to alter the way Australia is heading with fast food markets on the rise. My interviewee answered that current fast food companies need to consider making the change to using healthier ingredients. I suggested the idea of healthy fast food chains as an option to which she did not see much success in, commenting that, ‘such a fast change would not be successful, this is why we should try implementing small changes to the system and hope for the best.’

Throughout our discussion it was evident my interviewee’s knowledge of the obesity and healthy living topic was based on her own personal experiences. It made me view each individual as having almost an umbrella of knowledge, mostly only extending towards what they have personally accepted within their life circumstances.

I followed the interview by assigning a research probe activity to my interviewee with the following tasks:

  1. Keep a food diary for a day and record what you eat.
  2. Draw or write a list of healthy and unhealthy foods and write why you think this way.

The results from this probe task displayed a fairly low calorie yet heavily processed diet, with much noodles and low GI foods, however medium amounts of protein and fats to promote feelings on content and fullness. The list generated for both healthy and unhealthy foods mainly showed my interviewees knowledge of ‘healthy’ as being associated with vitamins and energy production whereas unhealthy was associated with traditional Chinese thoughts, particularly on cold drinks being bad for women, fast food, high amounts of oils and a lack of fresh quality. One area of insight from this probe task was seeing ‘cake’ and rice listed under healthy due to its ability to create energy. This clashes with ideas I hold towards cake and rice, as nutritionally, this energy is sourced from insulin release associated with large amounts of high GI carbohydrates (such as sugar, predominantly). It’s further pondered my thinking into why individuals view healthy lifestyles the way they do, the reasons behind it and the associations they make.

Five key points from both of these exercises to summarise my findings are:

  • Australia has a high junk food saturated market with too much heavy meat and not enough vegetables, unlike those of Asian countries
  • Most people perceive being unhealthy as someone who is overweight
  • In order to change the decline of Australia’s health and obesity status, fast food companies should undertake slow change to become more healthy and responsible towards their part in the problem.
  • Individuals have almost an umbrella of knowledge, mostly only extending towards what they have personally accepted or experienced within their life circumstances
  • Many people go by what others have told them are healthy and unhealthy foods but don’t go further into why this may be the case or how they have been classified in that way


Reference list

Epoch Times, 2015, The Western Diet Is So Unhealthy, It’s Affecting Our Eyes, Epoch Times, date viewed 27 August 2016, <http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1365599-the-western-diet-is-so-unhealthy-its-affecting-our-eyes/ >.

 Lam, Y., Y. 2016, pers. comm., 16 August.

I believe in Feminist values… but I’d never call myself one…


Lara Meacock


The biggest thing I learnt from primary investigation into gender equality is that feminism has grown this massive stigma – people don’t know what it’s about, don’t want to be called one, yet they believe in it’s core values and believe in a gender equal future.

This image encapsulates the key ideas I could pull out of my interviewee’s responses:

(Meacock, L. 2016)


Note: My interviewee is a female between the ages of 18-25


Feminism – what it really means.

One of the key issues raised is that feminism is misunderstood and, “there is a big stigma about it.” There is a belief that feminists are “really aggressive women,” who are “anti-male,” and that feminism is “a negative thing.” Whilst this is the general view of the stigma around feminism, my interviewee also pointed out that she isn’t “entirely sure what it stands for,” and that “equality between men and women is definitely a good thing.” (Meacock, L. 2016) This taught me a lot about the target market I’ll be working towards in that there is more of a challenge getting people to understand what feminism means and educating people of what it stands for to cleanse this stigma as well as getting people on board with the values.


Feminism effects women… duh??

The second issue I observed as an obstacle is that feminism is seen generally as a woman’s issue. “It does effect women more.” (Meacock, L. 2016) It is agreed that throughout history women have received the short straw in terms of rights and social standards, “for a long time it’s felt as though men are more dominant than females in every day situations as well as if it’s about violence,… within relationships or in the workforce.” My interviewee pointed out that it’s “not as if [men] are better… it’s [men’s] self belief. They will imply that through their actions.” She also pointed out “that it’s of a women’s role to stay home and look after the kids, which is bullshit,” and that the hardest part of overcoming this is that it is so “ingrained in social beliefs.” (Meacock, L. 2016) For true change to be realized it must be made obvious that gender equality effects everyone and has benefits for people of all genders.


But it’s a joke… so it’s not sexist?

Throughout the interview the Australian Government campaign ‘Violence against women – stop it at the start,’ ads were brought up on. You can watch it here.  One of the comments stated in the ad is “C’mon mate, don’t throw like a girl.” (Department of Social Services, Australian Government 2016) My interviewee commented that statement’s like these are “about women being less strong or less important or not at the same level as men. It’s interesting because a lot of people wouldn’t see that as a discriminatory comment, but it actually is.” (Meacock, L. 2016) I think that it’s really important to highlight that whilst these small comments seem ineffective and light-hearted, it is the culture that grows from these comments; which make more serious issues (e.g. violence against women) seem reasonable or acceptable to persecutors.


I was really interested to see how my interviewee (who gains most of her information on gender equality through Facebook) observes sexism within every day life. The design probe I gave her was: 

“Record any sexist comments you hear and who said them. Draw a smiley face to record the expression of the person who received the comment.” (Meacock, L. 2016)


Here was her response:

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 3.22.20 PM 

(Meacock, L. 2016)

My interviewee definitely engaged with the probe and captured some interesting comments which may be generally looked over as ‘a joke’ and observed sexism to many degrees. It was a shame that she didn’t include the smiley faces as I would have really liked to see how these comments were received. I thought the capturing of the environment it was said in was an interesting context for the comments. For my next probe I will think about transferring it to digital to make it easier for the person partaking – for example emoji’s instead of hand drawn smiley faces.


My 5 key findings:

  1. Feminism is misunderstood.
  2. Feminism has a bad stigma.
  3. Feminism is seen as a women’s issue.
  4. Sexism is seen as a joke and not taken seriously.
  5. Design probes that are digital (i.e. on mobile) are probably easier to interact with.



Department of Social Services, Australian Government 2016, Respect – Television Commercial, videorecording, Youtube, viewed 16 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjBfU-bfGII&gt;.

Meacock, L. 2016, Design Probe Response.

Meacock, L. 2016, Interview on Gender Equality, Gender Equality, University of Technology Sydney.

Meacock, L. 2016, Interview on Gender Equality.


How Do Others View Climate Change?

The issue of climate change is no doubt one of much debate and coverage in today’s media, and is one that is a source of constant worry and realisation for me personally. Perhaps it is because of my own interest in this issue that I am overly aware of news articles and commentaries surrounding it, so much so that it seems I have dangerously fallen into a bubble where I assume other people are on the same wavelength as I am. In order to gain an understanding of how others view this social issue, and to foreshadow a design response to climate change that will come in the future, I conducted an interview and probe with a fellow classmate.

The Interview

This interview consisted of several broad questions about things the interviewee may have noticed in the news and their general response to climate change. When asked if they undertake any activities in an effort to contribute to the slowing down of climate change, their answer was that individually, they don’t feel like they can make much of a difference. Morally, of course, they do feel some obligation to help out, but they feel that there are so many barriers to being environmentally friendly. In particular, the message that really stuck with me was the response that the interviewee’s way of living is really dependent on their household. The products used, what they eat, where they shop and how they live are determined by their family, and thus, the interviewee—not being the main authority of the household—does not feel like they have much control or say in the matter.

The Probe

This statement was really quite eye–opening, as I never considered how much a person’s current situation could affect the environmental practices they adopt. In response to this realisation, I designed a probe to give to my interviewee, in order to gain a better understanding of where they stood in their household. I asked the interviewee to record everything they bought over six days to gain insight into this. The results are given below:


Details of items the interviewee bought over six days



A visual breakdown of areas money was spent


What’s evident from this probe is that the interviewee was indeed stating that they do not contribute to household decisions in any way; their expenses over the past six days was for their immediate personal use. In terms of making environmental decisions, they did choose to buy recycled paper, but opportunities like these are quite limited. This perhaps echoes the situations of many young adults as well, although more probes will need to be given to a wider range of people to support this.


While this probe did reveal the way a young adult lives and how much control they had over making environmental decisions, it did not really give much rich insight into their response to climate change, or even relate back to the issue that much. The probe task set was too focused on the idea that the interviewee felt like they had no authority to make decisions in their household, instead of finding ways of revealing differing perspectives of climate change, human impacts on biodiversity and how that can be utilised to make a design solution. Indeed, my probe related in no way to my research into the ways wildlife are being affected by humans. A probe designed with a more environmentally and wildlife focused task would perhaps have revealed deeper information.

Interview( post 5)


Name: Cherry

What do you think about refugees and asylum seekers?

I am not real know much more refugees and asylum seekers information, for me, they are very strangeness, in my mind, I think refugees are poor people may from Africa or do not have able to take care themselves, these groups people may be are refugees or asylum.

Do you think they are mostly come from where?

They are mostly come from Africa, because some country in Africa  often suffer war, many people are lost home, family and job. They want get help from others country, that they would come to other land.

Did you actually see them on you life?

Properly see some refugees, before I was went to Greece, there are a lot of refugees in the street, they are do not have work, and live in very bad accommodation.

How did you know there are refugees?

I was seen some news about refugees, in the news, refugees are live together, and they home is very simple and crude.

Have you do something help refugees?

No, I have not, because I do not know what is the best way to help them.

Did you know refugees suffered what thing?

They are suffered war, lost home and family, students can not attendance at school, women was outrage.

Do you may help refugees in you life?

Sure, if they really need my help, I am happy to help them, if I have able to.

What design do you think can be help refugees life?

Maybe a job research platform, lots of refugees and asylum seekers are come from other land, they do not have works now, so maybe help they to find jobs is really good.

What is the necessary things for refugees?

Health serves, housing and education.

Mission task: How many times you see refugees news in five days?

After 5 days, She told me she has seen refugees news every day, when she get the mission before, she never pay attention on the problem. However, when she start to focus on the issue, she find every she has seeing lots of refugees news, these are comes from news paper, tv, radio and social media.


Some people are do not really know what is refugees and asylum seekers.

People want to help refugees and asylum seekers.

From the necessary to help refugees and asylum seekers is very important.

Government should from radically to help refugees, let them have able to take care themselves.

Society need calls on people to help refugees.

Post 5: First hand research

By Olivia Tseu-Tjoa

In previous weeks, I have been solely looking at secondary sources for research; from news articles, scholarly articles and online images. With the demographic outlined to be aged between 18-24, the interview and design probe was a chance for me to gauge our target audience’s awareness of asylum seekers and refugees on a first hand basis.

The interview

I wanted to have an informal and semi structured interview with a peer. My few planned questions were:

  • What is your opinion on how Australia treats refugees?
  • What are your views on how politicians and the government talks about refugees?
  • Can you list 5 words that you associate with refugees?
  • Where have you learnt about refugees? From what platforms e.g social media?

It was important to actively listen and engage with the interviewee, rather than just read off a list of questions. She did have a general awareness of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, but not the specifics. For example, she acknowledged that women and children faced particular abuse. She admitted that she wasn’t aware of how Australian politicians talked about asylum seekers. I had asked her if she could list at least five words associated with the topic but she was slightly confused and was unable to. When asked about where she hears about news relating to asylum seekers, she listed the Daily Telegraph. She mentioned that she hadn’t come across news relating to refugees on social media. I enquired about whether she was aware of any countries asylum seekers originate from and she could only mention Syria. Later on, I brought up recent events, such as the release of the Nauru Files but she had not heard about it and was unsure about what it was.

When asked whether she could list any public figures associated with the topic, interestingly, she mentioned Pauline Hanson and Sonia Kruger. I believe that this association stems from the recent controversy of their comments and calls for bans on Muslim immigration in Australia (although not directly about asylum seekers). The interviewee’s link between Islamophobia and refugees is an interesting point.

As the interview went on, I found it difficult to prolong it and come up with open-ended questions on the spot. I often came up with close ended ‘yes/no’ questions which didn’t really facilitate the conversation. At times, the answers were somewhat limited so I found it challenging to draw out more information. However, it should be noted that the interviewee’s perhaps limited awareness of the issue is perfectly understandable. It provides insight on how peers my age may have a broad understanding and empathy for asylum seekers, but do not feel motivated or interested to pursue the topic any further. In addition, they might not necessarily be engaged with the politics surrounding asylum seekers.

The design probe

My initial design probe task was:

‘Record any headlines you come across that relate to refugees and record where they came from.’ 

I was unsatisfied with this as I felt it was not specific and wouldn’t really learn much from this.

So, my modified design probe which I gave to the participant was:

‘Record any adjectives whenever you come across in news/online relating to refugees. Also record what was their source/where it came from.’

This task was designed to gain an understanding of the language relating to asylum seekers we come across in our everyday lives. I felt that the wording of this modified task question would yield results that are possibly more interesting.

The participant’s record of adjectives related to asylum seekers and refugees from news sources (Tseu-Tjoa 2016)

In the findings presented, it is evident that the participant encountered extremely ‘negative’ terms. They had divided the adjectives into three categories:

  1. Asylum seekers & refugees
  2. Australia’s stance
  3. Detention centres

While these words are negatively coded and are taken out of context, they appear to be a critique of Australia’s policies, rather than a negative framing of refugees. Phrases such as ‘horrific reality’, ‘high state of mental anguish’ and ‘sickening’ reveal the emotive language often used in the dialogue surrounding the issue. The participant looked at news sources like the Guardian, the Conversation, News Limited Australia, ABC News and 7 News. When I inquired how she came across these sources, the participant stated that for the majority of these findings, she had actively searched for the topic of refugees and asylum seekers on news sites. However, she also came across articles on Facebook when friends ‘Liked’ articles related to the issue.

Another design probe?

If I were to create another design probe, I would give the participant the task of documenting images they came across whenever they encountered topic of refugees in their everyday life. For the purposes of this task, the participant had actively sought out the issue through online articles and news outlets. What would the results be like if they had not actively searched it out? Also, I would have the participant look beyond online articles or the media and observe whether the issue of asylum seekers was featured in public areas or spaces. It could possibly reveal a more personal insight into their habits and encounters with the social issue at hand.

Take away points from the interview & design probe

  1. The participant had a general awareness of Australia’s treatment of refugees but not the specific details about topics such as the politics involved.
  2. Peers are exposed to news outlets that prominently critique and condemn the Australian government’s policies and treatment of refugees.
  3. The rhetoric and adjectives used in the current media landscape are highly emotive and impassioned.
  4. Functions on Facebook, such as ‘Liking’ articles expose people to news articles related to asylum seekers in their social media.
  5. Questions and design tasks need to be more specific to gain a more personal insight into their habits or experiences related to refugees.

Post 5: A thoughtful interview: Fast food branding VS Healthy food branding

Written by Meiying Lin

Based on the research from the past four weeks, I found fast food company’s success on branding and advertising. Then I started to think, there should be various healthy food companies as well, however, their branding looks not very successful. I have never seen a healthy food advertisement on Facebook or Instagram, and I don’t even have a brand/shop that sold instant healthy food in my mind. To prove my thought, I conducted a primary research about branding in fast food and healthy food companies with a Korean girl, Julie, who is on young generations in the age group of 18 to 25 and struggling with her weight. To began, I asked Julie five simple questions to study her thought and understanding about fast food and healthy food brands.

Interview transcript
In your opinions, do you think food choice affect obesity?

Julie: Obesity can be caused by eating habits such as unhealthy choices. For example deep fried foods and instant foods, and large food portions. The calories that you eat must be burnt off by doing a reasonable amount of  physical exercise but if you don’t, then you will start gaining weight and if it happens repeatedly, one day you will be overweight/obese.

Can you name 5 fast food brands, and 5 healthy food brands immediately?

Julie: Fast food Brands: McDonald, KFC, Hungry Jacks, Oporto, Domino; Healthy food Brands: Sumo Salad…Maybe Subway? Because Subway has a lot of veggies inside? Not sure of what other healthy food brands because I don’t eat healthily and I don’t eat salad.

Can you list 3 possible reasons why people love fast food and 3 possible reasons why people don’t love fast food?

Julie: The reason why people love fast food is because it’s fast and convenient to buy, it’s delicious, fatty food are always nice, and it’s also cheap. The reason why people don’t like fast food is because it’s unhealthy, The cooking kitchen and process is perceived as unhygienic, and it’s fatty.

Can you list 3 possible reasons why people love healthy food and 3 possible reasons why people don’t love healthy food?

Julie: People love healthy food because it’s healthy, has fewer calories, makes you feel light and maybe they just like the taste of greens. People don’t love healthy food because they might not like the taste of the greens and they are in love with the unhealthy food already and don’t feel necessary to eat healthily.

Where do you draw the line between a healthy food brand and a fast food brand?

Julie: Fast food brands are things that are deep fried, pre-made and served quickly. Although fast food stores also sell salads, they are distinguished as fast foods because their main menus are full of deep fried things are pre-made and ready to go when the order is placed.


At the end of the interview, I asked Julie to Google some images of fast food brands and healthy food brands. The aim of this probe is to study fast food and healthy food’s branding on social media. The two screenshots below are what Julie got.

Fast Food Brands Image Research, Screenshot by Julie Yang (2016)
Healthy Food Brands Image Research, Screenshot by Julie Yang (2016)

“The fast foods give me specific brands, whereas, there isn’t really an answer to healthy food brands. I think it is fair to say that there is no answer to healthy food, healthy food can be a standard of how people think. For example, I consider subway a healthy food brand, whereas other people can consider it a fast food. It depends on what you think is healthy.”


Base on the whole primary research process, it is obvious to see fast food companies have done a  good work on their branding and advertising. Google ‘fast food’ can always give the audience specific brands, on the other hand, healthy food companies are over insistence with a label instead of their branding, they loved to emphasize words such as green, organic and low fat on their products and wish these words can influence consumer’s decision making. Nevertheless, even young generations aware healthy food are good for body health, they don’t prefer healthy food for their primary food choice. For example, Julie chose to eat less instead of having the salad for diet.

  1. Young generations aware fast food are unhealthy and can cause obesity, but they love fast food because of its conveniences, affordable cost, and nicely taste.
  2. Young generations aware healthy food are green, organic and good for body health, but they do not prefer healthy food for food choice.
  3. Fast food brands are more like a common sense / acknowledging to young generations, everyone knows McDonald, KFC, and Hungry Jacks.
  4. Healthy food brands don’t stand out on young generations, the boundary between fast food and healthy food brands is unclear. They consider healthy food brands are somewhere sell salad and veggies.
  5. Fast food branding is more successful than healthy food branding on social media.

Taskolej, 2014, Healthy Food vs Fast Food, video, viewed 17 August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evyZh_48ndw>.

Opinions about mental health from a personal perspective

Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography


To further explore and understand more about mental health issues, there was an opportunity for me to commence a semi-structured interview with another student in class. My partner, who explores a different topic for this subject, answered all my questions truthfully, allowing myself to gain further understandings of how someone could start developing stigmatization towards this issue.

Question 1- “What does the term mental health mean to you?”

My partner stated that mental health is something you are born with naturally, coming from genetics, or occurs when a traumatic, tragic event happens in one’s life.


Question 2- “How much knowledge do you have about mental health?”

Answering this question truthfully, she said she had very minimal knowledge. This was because she has never had physical associations with a person who has mental health. Despite being aware of this issue and knowing that she was able to obtain information through the media, she chose not to because she felt that the information in the media tend to always be biased and not trust worthy.

Hearing her response, I became aware that some people choose not to read or listen to issues that could contain personal bias and false information. It is true that when it comes to media, people gain scepticism as to whether the published information are true or whether the stories had been tweaked in some way in order to gain more public attention. This problem could result in to developing stigmatization towards mental health issues as one may regard mental health issues as untrue and fabricated.


Question 3- “Do you have any connections with people who have mental health issues?”

Although my partner answered that she had no physical associations with a person with mental health issues, she had heard stories about her uncle’s son who is currently suffering from mental health.

According to my partner, her uncle’s divorce was the cause for her cousin to develop mental health illness. Although my partner often meets her uncle, he is reluctant and avoids talking about his own son. He has avoided both his son and his divorced wife because he is re-married and holds a new family.

Asking my partner if she has ever seen her cousin, she said she has met him once before her uncle’s divorce and once after their divorce. When she first met her cousin, she said he had a healthy body and seemed like a normal person. However, after the divorce, her cousin didn’t look presentable as he started growing his hair out long and became quite obese. From seeing his appearance, my partner was afraid to talk to him and thus, resulted into avoiding him.

Listening to my partner’s personal story, I understood that sadly appearance is crucially a significant factor to develop stigmatization because people do judge a book by its cover both consciously and subconsciously.


Question 4- “How did you gain knowledge about mental health?”

Although she holds some scepticism towards the media, she realised that she mainly gains knowledge about mental health issues from linked posts on Facebook. This is because videos and articles that are linked on Facebook tend to have easier information to consume and not as tedious to read compared to those published by official news agencies.
She also gained information through education. My partner was educated in both Vietnam and Australia. In Vietnam, the society avoids the topic of mental health because they consider them to be the people in the bottom of their society. Thus, there is strong stigma in Vietnam and people show very little respect. Although many counsellors and communities do exist, money is a major problem making these facilities less accessible.

In her Australian school, she was taught about mental health issues in class. There was a special classroom for people with mental health and although she had never talked to those students, she was still aware of their types of issues and their behaviours.

This clarified that many Asian countries have a higher potential of forming stigmatization because of cost and their cultural ways. In contrast, Australia is putting more effort into helping out those with mental health illness with a higher education system. It is essential for Asian countries to become further aware of this issue and strengthen their education for their concern in such issues.


Question 5- “How do you see people with mental health?”

Although she makes an effort into valuing each and every individual equally, my partner cannot deny the fact that appearance does matter. Depending on the sickness, some look more abnormal than others. Thus, she tends to find those who have are less presentable frightening and unapproachable.

Our conversation then lead to the topic about a video clip we had both watched. This video is of a hairdresser offering free haircuts to the homeless on the streets in New York. Starting the conversation with “I’d like to do something nice for you today”, Mark Bustos transformed a homeless into a happy, confident individual. This inspirational move touched the society’s heart, allowing the public to gain more respect towards the homeless.

Below is the video of Mark Bustos giving free hair cuts for the homeless.

My partner and I agreed that it would be a great opportunity for people with mental health illness as well, for them to change their appearance some how to gain more respect and understandings from the society.

Overall, this interview was a very interesting experience as I gained more insights into the level of stigmatisation, and was able to hear a very truthful and personal idea about mental health illness. In order to improve the preparation for a next interview, I will reallocate the orders of the questions so it will be easier for my partner to continue elaborating on her responses from the previous question.

My five-point summary of what I have learnt in this interview is as follows:

  • Preparing questions in better order will create a more enhanced flow
  • Social media sites will never always hold legitimate information
  • Interviews are a good way of gaining truthful information from a personal perspective
  • Stigma is inevitable as it exists everywhere and that the most important thing is to discovering a solution
  • Appearance will strongly change a person’s attitude


China’s Smog: An Interview and Probe

Post 5 by Lucy Allen

For someone living with Type 1 Diabetes it’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone knows and understands the disease and if not, that they should. This somewhat arrogant view was challenged when undertaking an interview and probing activity as part of design-led ethnography.

I devised four probing questions that I hoped would open up discussion and allow my interviewee to really articulate their assumptions, knowledge and understanding of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. My hope for these questions was that I could develop a better understanding of how people view those living with Type 1 Diabetes and the assumptions they make. 

My probing questions:

  1. What comes to mind when I say Diabetes?
  2. Do you have any experience with Diabetes? Say with family, friends, peers?
  3. What type of body do you associate with Diabetes?
  4. If you were diagnosed with Diabetes today how do you think your life would change?

I wasn’t however prepared for if my partner had no previous experience or knowledge of Type 1. Quite naively it hadn’t even crossed my mind that this was a possibly, perhaps because to me it is so normal and day-to-day. Once realising my questions were too tricky for someone that knows nothing about the disease I began trying to adapt my questions to make them a little broader whilst also explaining a bit about Type 1 to my partner. I realised after my partner very apologetically couldn’t answer my questions that my interview would have to take a different path. 

With some help from my tutor I was able to delve into my partners own experience with health and wellbeing, particularly in relation to his birth country, China. I asked him questions about Chinese culture and the health of people over there and he informed me of the smog in China and how this has a enormous impact on the health and wellbeing of the Chinese. The most interesting thing I learnt throughout the process was that the smog in China is so thick that at the end of a day when people take their masks off, the filters have black sludge on them. I found it hard to imagine when my partner told me this, we are so used to clean fresh air here in Australia and it really made me appreciate this.

It was a really eye-opening experience to carry out an interview that was so different to the one I’d played out in my head. It was a fantastic experience for me learning to think on my feet and ask probing questions. What eventuated was me not so much learning about the area I was focused on but being engaged and enlightened in a much more personal and interesting topic to my partner that in turn informed and engaged me.

Some interesting points I took away from my interview are

  • There is a bigger focus in China on Cancer as a leading health issue apposed to Diabetes
  • Air Quality is seen as a big threat to the health of the Chinese
  • The ‘smog’ effects lungs, teeth, skin and general ability to exercise and be outside
  • Government has attempted to fix to smog but it as seen as a helpless situation, very few people have hope it will ever change
  • There is a focus on physical health apposed to invisible e.g. Amputated limbs vs. mental health disease

When deciding on a probing activity for my partner to undertake it was tempting at first to focus on increasing his knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes. In the end however I appreciated that my interview had taken use down a different path and that this was now an opportunity for me to learn more about China and their healh and wellbeing. I started out with quite complex and time-consuming probing tasks however was advised to keep these simple so as not to make the task feel like a chore.

Smog in Beijing (Huffington Post, 2015)

My probing exercise:

  1. Undertake 3 x 10minute research sessions on the health of China. Record any interesting points and health terms
  2. Write out how the life of Chinese people would be different if the smog disappeared

The outcomes I received from this activity were really fantastic. It was amazing how when somebody can relate to an issue or is passionate about it how it inspires them to throw themselves into a task. Being able to access Chinese news and website my partner was then able to translate many of the statistics and research for me, invaluable information. It was also really great to see health terms highlighted clearly, this really informed the associative word task we undertook the following week.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 11.53.50 PM
An great extract from my partners research. Translated Chinese health statistics with highlighted health terms

When reading my partners response to what would change if the smog in China didn’t exist I suddenly realised how interlinked the smog and health are. As my partner pointed out that alongside the health risks, the smog has additional physical and emotional effect on people. It stops the Chinese from spending time outside and exercising as well as blocking the sun meaning most days and grey and dull. Being informed of this issue that is so foreign to us was really incredible and I feel lucky to have learnt so much from my partner and his access to relevant information. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 10.23.41 AM
Chinese News Source my partner used as part of my probe activity

Looking back on the interview process some part of me wishes I had been better prepared with broader probing questions however at the same time I am so happy with how the process evolved and the path it took. I have learnt so much and been engaged in a totally new realm of health that I wouldn’t have been otherwise. In saying that I would have liked to do some more unique and creative probing exercises. Due to the nature of the topic the interview led us to it was hard to come up with fun and original tasks to give to my partner. In this particular circumstance I do think that the probing exercises turned out well and really benefited both my partner and I.

Reference List

English, A.J, 2015, “Inside Story – China’s Pollution Dilemma”, Youtube, viewed 23rd of August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYzedoKTx3Q&gt;

Hunt, K., Lu, S., “Smog in China Closes Schools and Constructions Site, Cuts Traffic in Beijing”, CNN, viewed 22nd of August 2016, <http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/07/asia/china-beijing-pollution-red-alert/&gt;

NTDonChina, 2013, Top Health Expert Says China’s Smog “Scarier than SARS”, Youtube, viewed 24th of August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsCfzAncWLk&gt;