The design process can also be referred to as design methodology. It basically refers to a number of steps that a design can be broken down to from the initial idea or client request to the final printed end piece or manufactured prototype.

There are several trends to create a streamlined step-by-step approach, but it is not chiseled in stone. You can look at my preferred method and modify it for your needs.

I have based mine on my practice, research and education and it is working well for me. A great source of inspiration was the Double Diamond or the 4Ds developed by the British Design Council. The 4Ds stand for discover, define, develop and deliver.

The design process below is particularly suitable to communication design, but works for other design disciplines as well.

Here are the 7 steps:

  1. Project Analysis or Project Considerations
  2. Research
  3. Design Strategy
  4. Concept Development with Evaluation
  5. Concept Refinement with Evaluation
  6. Prototyping or Modelmaking
  7. Delivery and Completion
Design Process broken down into 7 steps by Federico Viola
The Design Process – in 7 steps – by educator Federico Viola
  1. Project Analysis or Project Considerations

The first step is to define the problem or the request for a design. Either you are approached by a client or alternatively you may get your hands on a brief through a competition or by your teacher.

  • Your first step has to be to analyse what the client needs and define a written brief. So, you need to write a short description that lists, what is required, what materials are needed, who it is for and by when it is needed. So, list the problem and what you need to design as well as dead lines or due dates.
  • Next you need to create a project plan or action plan. This is a list of each task, with a task description, allocation (who will do the task), due date and a tick box. The allocation column is not necessary if you work on your own and complete all the tasks on by yourself.
  • You should also include a section on potential problems in this project. This could be a mind map and it should allow you to see any complications early. An example could be the stability of a desk based yearly calendar, or the wear and tear of an exterior.
  1. Research

 The research stage is your attempt to learn about the design that you are about to create. You want to research these 3 stages as a minimum: competitors, target audience (or target market) and design and technology.

Competitor Research

After establishing what product (or service) you are designing for your client, find 3 or more competitors that offer the same or a similar product or service. It is good to look at a market leader as well as competitors at a similar level to your client. This can start of as a brain storm of all competitors that come to your mind or a search of similar businesses online. You may want to find competitors via an online business directory, e.g.: or by using Google. If you are not aware of many online business directories try a Google search for ‘business directory’.

You can document your brainstorm in form of a mind map and your research in form of a page including:

  • short description of the competitor
  • images of their products
  • logo of the competitor or product
  • other aspects of their visual identity (e.g.:colours, fonts, etc.)
Photo of a family by alexander41 found on
Who is your target audience? – Source: morgueFile – photographer: alexander41

Target Audience Research

When you are setting out to understand and define a target audience you are looking to recognise why this group or individual person is seeking out your client’s product or services. By understanding a target audience you understand their needs, desires and interests in a particular product. This is central in designing a product or service. We are trying to understand a target audience by looking at data of that group. These are typical criteria to collect data by:

  • demographic (measurable data: age, income, gender, culture, language)
  • psychographic (personality-related data: life style choices, hobbies, interests, political agenda, cultural traits)
  • customer needs
  • customer desires
  • frequency of use
  • geographic location

Below you will be introduced to different tools you can use to collect data:

  • mind mapping – a good starting point, mind map the various aspects of the target audience
  • target audience list – filling in a list of criteria related to the target audience
  • moodboard or visual board – this is fun: put everything related on a sheet of paper or into a digital presentation
  • character profile – this needs to be representative of a typical person in the target audience, preferably a common personality or a leader, see examples below

Finding information about a target audience might mean to actually listen in on your target audience. You can create specific discussion groups with participants of the correct demographic (age, gender, etc.) and psychographic (interests, political persuasion, etc.) profile. You can search online for chat forums or in the comments to related blogs and Facebook is a powerful resource as well.

Example of a character profile
Example of a character profile – developed for class.
Character Profile - The Librarian
Character Profile – The Librarian – FViola

Design and Technology Research

Design research is the fun part of our research and is where we want to look at inspiration for our design. This can be

  • existing products of the type we are about to design as well as
  • layouts
  • typefaces (fonts) >
  • colours suitable to the target audience, product and client business
  • textures
  • shapes

The technology aspect relates to manufacturing, finishing or prototyping methods used for the product you are designing. It is central to understand the process and materials applied in the making of the product. If you are working on a plastic component to be inserted into a dashboard of a car or yacht you may need to research the plastic manufacturing process (e.g.: injection molding). While if you are designing a pamphlet, you will need to research printing and folding techniques. So ensure to research:

  • manufacturing and other technology
  • materials
  • other aspects

I like to use Pinterest in my research and highly recommend it as it is a fun site.

Screenshot of Pinterest site showing a Pinterest board of poster designs
Pinterest Screenshot
  1. Design Strategy

A design strategy is a written statement that will help you establish what you are setting out to design. It is your chance to reflect on your analysis and research and now clearly state what your intended design strategy will be. Make sure to relate your strategy to your design ideas and link it to your research and brief.

Example: ‘I will set out to design a poster for the MUFF (Melbourne Underground Film Festival). I will use vector graphics to show a group of festival goers waiting in a lobby. They will all look eclectic and wear some retro-style clothes. The font needs to work with the MUFF logo. The poster will have a retro appeal, but look contemporary. I want to avoid designing a poster that looks dated. The layout will have a clear visual hierarchy and good use of white space. The colour scheme needs to be decided.’

You see that the design strategy is a method to plan your design, but needs to link your ideas to the brief and research. Your design strategy may be a work in progress and you may not conclude every aspect. It is a bit a cooking recipe for a design. Incorporate problems or difficulties with this project as you may have found in your Project Analysis.

  1. Concept Development

Now you can get creative by developing concepts or ideas. The preferred method is the sketching of thumbnails on paper. Use pencils or fine liners to sketch out your concepts. You need to create a large number of ideas. Do not limit yourself to only your first few ideas, but use brainstorming, mind mapping and other creative thinking tools to come up with creative and unorthodox concepts. I would develop a minimum of 30 thumbnail sketches.

Poster concept sketches developed for an event poster.
Poster concept sketches by S.Lau
  1. Concept Refinement with Evaluation

Select 3 of the most suitable and promising concepts. You may select them yourself or get the feedback of a colleague or the client. Refine the concepts by exploring variations for layout, fonts, scale, colours and shades, as well as image choices and finishes. Always include a colour scheme (options of colours) and font choices.

  • Depending on the product you may create 3 mockups to give a feel for the product.
  • Present your 3 refined concepts to your design team and client for evaluation and feedback. Choose the preferred concept.
  • You may create a style guide that clearly defines the different aspects of this design (font choices for headers, base text, colour choices, and more)

The evaluation takes your design strategy into account and looks at how well each design has achieved the desired aspects.

  1. Prototype or Modelmaking

Create a to-scale prototype in the correct finish and finalise your design.

  1. Completion

Finalise all the paperwork and files. Support your client and other third party companies with the correct information, files and support.

  • Ensure the manufacturer or printer is completing the job (e.g.: by signing off a test print)
  • Save all files into correct folders. Store the files.
  • Finalise all invoicing and payments.
  • Supply your client with all the correct files and instructions.
  • Write a completion report

Other Useful Resources

Quicksprout’s How To Define Your Target Audience

The 7 Steps of a Professional Design Process by DesignCrowd

Inspirationfeed’s 7 Design Process Steps Designers Should Follow

Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile
Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile

Link to all Weeks     Week 1     Week 2     Week 3     Week 4      Week 5     Week 6


  1. Game Mechanics
  2. Brainstorm Game Mechanics
  3. Assessment 2
  4. Feedback

Game Mechanics

Jenga, photo courtesy of:
Jenga, photo courtesy of:

Game mechanics are at the core of a game and decisive for game play. Good engaging game mechanics will make a game fun to play  or challenging and as well rewarding.

Game mechanics can be found in board games (Chess, Backgammon, Jenga) and for board games we often refer to core mechanics. Examples are:

  • Role Playing (Charades)
  • Capture & Eliminate (Chess)
  • Pattern Recognition (Chess, Rush Hour)
  • Memory (Memory)
  • Dice Rolling (Monopoly)
  • Find the extensive list below at:

Action / Movement Programming

Action Point Allowance System

Area Control / Area Influence

Area Enclosure

Area Movement


Auction / Bidding

Betting / Wagering

Campaign / Battle Card Driven

Card Drafting

Chit-Pull System

Co-operative Play

Commodity Speculation

Crayon Rail System

Deck / Pool Building

Dice Rolling

Grid Movement

Hand Management


Line Drawing


Modular Board



Pattern Building

Pattern Recognition

Pick-up and Deliver

Player Elimination

Point to Point Movement

Press Your Luck


Role Playing

Roll / Spin and Move

Route / Network Building

Secret Unit Deployment

Set Collection


Simultaneous Action Selection


Stock Holding


Take That

Tile Placement

Time Track



Variable Phase Order

Variable Player Powers


Worker Placement


Video games use game mechanics as well, but besides the core mechanics they are more related to aspect of digital technology.

Find an extensive list of game mechanics at Wikipedia.

We can and should list game mechanics to be able to select what game mechanics we like, but at the end of the day we need to be able to apply game mechanics to a game. This need to happen in the context of the game’s overall purpose. We will read this post: Game Mechanics and Gamification by Andrzej Marczewski on Gamasutra together to get a better idea about how to apply game mechanics.

Brainstorm Game Mechanics

We will do a brainstorm in class for potential game mechanics for the ABC learning game for children (assessment).

Look at this list of Motivators and Supporters (as found on Gamasutra’s post Game Mechanics and Gamification – link is above):

Motivators Possible Supporters
Autonomy Customisation Choice Freedom
Mastery Levels Challenges
Purpose Giving / Altruism Narrative Greater Meaning
Status Leaderboards Achievements
Social Connections Suggest similar users Cooperative “play”
Rewards Points Badges Achievements
Peer Pressure Peer review / feedback / grading systems Boasting / Bragging system Competitive “play”
Avoidance Lose Points Lose Status Game Over
Scarcity Exclusive / Unique Rewards Reward Schedules
Fun! Real Games Quiz’s Competitions
Screenshot of Writing Wizard, courtesy of
Screenshot of Writing Wizard, courtesy of
Screenshot of Endless Alphabet 2, courtesy of
Screenshot of Endless Alphabet 2, courtesy of

Use 3 motivators from the list above and brainstorm game mechanics for the e-game for your assignment (prep-children recognising letters of the alphabet).

List the factors:

  • Desired Behaviour (eg blow away sand to reveal a letter – find the same letter in a list of letters and click on it)
  • Motivation (Mastery: Learning the letters of the alphabet; Status: receiving a badge, star, completing a level)
  • Supporters (for mastery: being able to read; for status: having your score displayed, completing a series – eg a series of green frogs)

Assessment 2

Assessment 2 – E-Game


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Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile
Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile

Link to all Weeks     Week 1     Week 2     Week 3     Week 4      Week 5     Week 6


  1. Learning Needs
  2. Learning Styles
  3. Assessment 1
  4. Feedback

Learning Needs

Learning needs are the requirements that the learner needs to learn to pass a subject or to move to the next step.

So, a learning needs analysis is conducted to recognise the gap between the existing skills, knowledge and abilities and those that are needed for the level of education. Once this gap is determined, decisions can be taken as to the type of training required (if this is the preferred action) and the form of delivery.

By conducting a learning needs analysis, you can identify what features are needed in your e-learning game.

Write down the learning needs of your target audience? Start this point of with the desired outcome: what does the learner need to learn?

This is a good point to brainstorm. What is it that you need to expose your learner to?

Read more about Learning Needs at

Learning Styles

Every learner has a preferred style of learning. The majority of learners prefer a mix of learning styles.

Look up the link Learning Styles Online and discover which learning style is your preferred one.

Assessment 1

E-Learning Conceptual Layout of Screen:
E-Learning Conceptual Layout of Screen:

Assessment 1 – Research


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Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile
Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile

Link to all Weeks     Week 1     Week 2     Week 3     Week 4      Week 5     Week 6


  1. Game Genres
  2. Find 5 Educational Games (Task)
  3. Game Mechanics
  4. Homework
  5. Feedback

Game Genres

We will start off by comparing last week’s works by you. What definitions did everybody find?

Game genres are different from film genres. While film genres are related to a style of a film or an era a plot is set in, game genres relate more to the way a game is played. This is the actions a gamer needs to perform to succeed in a game. These actions are also called Game Mechanics. Game genres can also be classified by a viewpoint (eg First Person Shooter = FPS and Third Person Shooter = TPS or 3PS) or the style.

Examples are:


Fast paced, player needs to be accurate and quick (eg shooting)


Competitive games that revolve around vehicles of all sorts racing against each other. Can be single player or multiplayer.

Example: Need for Speed


Anything about sports, either action of playing the sport with a character or simulation of making a team succeed. Most current sport games are hybrids of Action/RPG or Action/Simulation.

Examples: Fifa, Pro Evolution Soccer, Tiger Woods Golf, Football Manager.


A genre that requires planning and thinking to succeed. There is real-time and turn-based strategy. Real-time that the game runs to a clock and that every players actions take place straight away. Turn-based strategy is more of a stop and go experience, players decide on their turns and then the game advances per turn.

Examples: League of Legends, Total War Series, Risk


This genre is about solving problems, there may be puzzles, exploring, memorisation and twists along the way. Levels play a part, often there are areas that need to be explored. Most adventure games are hybrids with other games.

Examples: Tombraider, Myth




FPS – First Person Shooter

3PS/TPS – Third Person Shooter


Party, Dance , Rhythm



Edugames or Educational Games

Find 5 Educational Games

Research Educational Games!

Use the internet to find 5 games (including Ubisoft’s Rocksmith) that are current.

  • Describe the platform,
  • the technology,
  • game mechanics and
  • target audience as well as
  • learning material/topic.

Upload in form of a comment to this post with a link to game images and and info online!

Game Mechanics

Game mechanics are a topic that has created a fair bit of controversy over the years. People vary in their definition of what should be a game mecahnic. Below is a definition that we will use for this class:

A simple division between mechanics and rules breaks down into two things:

Mechanics are the actions you can perform

Rules determine the outcome and

gameplay is derived by balancing these two things.

So, to take a Tetris example:

The mechanics of Tetris are:

Turn a block

Drop a block fast

Destroy blocks by creating a line

The rules of Tetris are

  • Gravity, which accelerates in a stepped fashion according to score
  • Score, which increases in a stepped fashion according to created lines
  • Pile reformation, which determines the effects of a destroyed line on the blocks above.
  • The lose condition of whether the pieces reach the top
  • The next piece determinant, which selects what new piece will show after the previous one has landed.

Source: Feb 2012


Please look at the sites/posts below on edugames or educational games or serious games during the week.

Try at least 3 games and be prepared to speak about them in class!

BBC Educational Games   ZaidLearn   75 Free EduGames to Spice Up Your Course


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Please work through the tasks below:

Please perform the tasks below. UEENEEE038B Participate in development and follow a personal competency development plan

Plan to achieve team outcomes –

Today I would like you to focus on how you can   identify, establish and document

  • the purpose of a team,
  • each team members roles,
  • their responsibilities,
  • the goals of the team,
  • plans and
  • objectives.

The overall purpose of this is the creation of a cohesive (unified and connected) team. Every team member should know what their role is and what he or she is working on.

Research the tools below that will help achieve team outcomes!

What is   an action plan and how does it differ from a to-do-list? (Online Resource:
Are action plans suitable for small or large projects? (Online Resource:
List the 3 steps in an action plan? (Online Resource:
What does SCHEMES stand for? (Online Resource:
Create an action plan for yourself and 2-3 other team   members! Pick a task that you need to do in real life, that involves some   planning and that requires you to work with others (eg family members). An example could be the renovation of a shed.

Make sure that you apply the 3 step approach and that   it clearly identifies the roles of each team member. Sub-divide the approach into the 3 steps and describe each in detail. (Duration 10 – 25mins)

Please e-mail me and keep a copy as proof of completion and upload the file to Moodle/ My Kangan.



Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile
Based on photo by xandert found on morgueFile

Link to all Weeks     Week 1     Week 2     Week 3     Week 4      Week 5     Week 6


  1. Introduction
  2. Scope of Class
  3. Games
  4. Your Favourite Games
  5. Game Genres
  6. Feedback


This class has a focus on Game Design and E-Learning. You will design on educational games or a cross-over version with some educational value.

Your design will not incorporate a finished and working video game! You will complete the planning and look at important components of the game and e-learning resource.

Units of Competency

These two units of competency will be covered in this unit:

Scope of Class

Over the coming weeks we will learn some game related terminology, look at games and analyse games and look at how to create a learning resource.

We will learn how to scope and research a target audience, how to establish learner needs and finally how to design an educational game.

There will be an emphasis on graphics.


Games are a way for children to learn the tasks of adulthood. What easier way is there but to teach your child what to do in their life as a grown-up, than in a game? Games are fun and create strong memories. Game include repetition, which is a strong aspect of memorising the learnt material by practising it.

Video games have long become a large and fast growing industry and games surround most of us on a daily basis. This has only been magnified with the growth of social media (eg Facebook).

What are the most popular platforms for video games?

Mindmap to be added.

Your Favourite Games

What are your favourite games?

List 3 games that you like to play:

  • Describe the platform
  • Describe the game mechanics (rules to complete game)
  • Describe the GUI (graphic user interface)
  • Why do you think you play that game?
  • What is fun about the game?
  • Is it educational? What do you learn?
  • What is the game genre that it falls into?

E-mail me your answers or leave them in form of a comment.

Student responses to be added.

Game Genres

Research game genres. List a minimum of 8 major genres, add descriptions and 3 examples of well-known games from each genre.

E-mail me your answers or leave them in form of a comment.

Student responses to be added.


Please leave your feedback in form of a comment. Your feedback and suggestions will help me to make this blog more user friendly. Thanks!

Source: morgueFile, Photo by matei
Source: morgueFile, Photo by matei


Welcome to your online class in Develop Strategies to Address Environmental & Sustainability Issues in the Energy Sector.

I know that is a catchy title and has quite a ring to it… and this is your class in Italian:

Sviluppare strategie per affrontare le questioni ambientali e di sostenibilità nel settore dell’energia. You see, it sounds like an opera by Giuseppe Verdi now! … and for the record: YES! I used Google Translate…

This class has a 1hour contact scheduled, so you will be able to discuss issues with me in person. Please e-mail me if you have any questions.

This is the unit of competency text: UEENEEK132A_Develop Strategies & Sustainability in Energy Sector

Our focus for this unit will be to create an understanding of sustainability and how it relates to ICT. You will need to perform the various tasks, that you will find in every part. The parts basically relate to the weeks and will be updated weekly.

The unit will cover 2 main assessments, and smaller weekly tasks to underpin key information needed to complete and comprehend this unit. The will be a discussion forum and you will need to check in there from Week 3 onwards.

Assessment Day 1 Task

Please download task 1, place your responses in the blue boxes, do not forget to type your name and student ID (it happens often) and upload to MyKangan where it says ‘Submit task 1 here!’:

Assessment Task Class 01



Hi guys and welcome to your first class!

He loves OHS! - Photo by Karpati Gabor on morgueFile
He loves OHS! – Photo by Karpati Gabor on morgueFile

We will cover these units online and will have 1 hour of contact every Monday.

Please open the attached units as we will read through them together. I would appreciate if you try not to snore if you fall asleep.

UEENEEE137A Document and Apply Measures to Control OHS Risks Associated With Electrotechnology Work

UEENEEK142A Apply Environmentally and Sustainable Procedures in the Energy sector

UEENEEE038B Participate in Development and Follow a Personal Competency Development Plan

UEENEEE101A Apply Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, Codes and Practices in the Workplace

After reading this interesting material please complete the attached document below and email it to me before the end of class.

Class 1 Assessment Task

Link to all Classes     Class 1     Class 2     Class 3    Class 4     Class 5     Class 6     Class 7

Photo by Seemann on

Photo by Seemann on

Today we will look at:

  • Create a PDF form (upload the example on MyKangan)
  • Assessment – Portfolio of in-class work

PDF Form

Upload the file below and create form fields using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Make all blue text fields, the name and date active.

Next fill all the data in and save and upload the file to MyKangan.

Due Date: 20/9

Sample Task

Assessment – Portfolio

STEP 1: In Photoshop or Illustrator create a PDF portfolio page like the sample. Dim: 1024 px x 1645px x 150 ppi (resolution). (These dimensions are more a guideline and you can vary it if you have a different idea for your layout)


  • 6 images from previous classes and your own work
  • add descriptions of the images: what tools and techniques did you use?
  • place a banner of your own work on top
  • a title (Portfolio of Work)
  • your name
  • save the file as a Photoshop PDF or Illustrator PDF

STEP 2: Create text fields in Adobe Acrobat Pro and add descriptions to your work. The descriptions need to state what tools and functions you used.

STEP 3: Save the final PDF and upload to MyKangan.

See example of Portfolio:

Photoshop Portfolio

Photo by matthewbridges on

Photo by matthewbridges on