Bhavini Patel

Bhavini Patel

Bhavini Patel is a second generation South Asian American, born in Texas but raised in Oklahoma so she will always be an Okie from Muskogee. She lived among the Catalans in Ibiza while working on her art portfolio, studied graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art and studio art at University of Massachusetts Boston. Bhavini lived in Los Angeles for nearly a decade, where she led award-winning teams and managed interactive media initiatives including large-scale advertising campaigns, website and mobile application developments. She worked on brands such as Volkswagen, Hyundai, Lexus, Reebok, Sony Playstation, Tecmo, Square Enix, Apple, Disney, Jelly Belly, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, just to name a few. She now works primarily as a freelance senior consultant and returns to Austin to reconnect with family and pursue her dream to learn interaction design and social enterprise at Austin Center for Design. During a recent trip to India, I had the opportunity to see and experience for myself the diverse communities’ innumerable connections. Specifically, I observed people genuinely depending on each other for basic day-to-day living. The power of just how connected people are, even with minimal technology, was truly eye-opening. It solidified my desire to be in an environment that recognizes, in a humane way, the power of community and human connection. I became curious about ways to use technology to create a balance within communities, and I am convinced that the environment at AC4D is the perfect landscape for further discoveries.


Recent Blog Posts


Coupling between thinking and actuation

As part of the creative problem solving process – designers research to understand a problem space, apply their own subjective point of view or intuition and create provocations to make sense of incomplete information.

Sensemaking is not about truth and getting it right.  Instead, it is about continued refracting of an emerging story so that it becomes more comprehensive, incorporates more of the observed data, and is more resilient in the face of criticism. – Karl Weick

However provocation without activity or movement is useless. The apparently crazy idea is not an end point, but only the first stage. It is what happens next that really makes all the difference. – Edward de Bono

In Discovering Design Ability, Nigel Cross states, some of the relevant information [in a design problem] can be found only by generating and testing solutions; some information, or ‘missing ingredient’ has to be provided by the designers himself this extra ingredient is often an ‘ordering principle’. These ‘ordering principles’ give people access to new information on the whole and can take on various activities, such as the diagram below for example:

In Theory of Interaction Design, we read 10 articles and discussed the relationship between creativity, knowledge, and strategy. The diagram is an overview of each author’s summary along with my own position.

And what is your perception of it? Can we design for an individual’s perception? Stavros Mahlke, in Visual Aesthetics and the User Experience, thinks we can and should by integrating ‘non-instrumental qualities’ like aesthetic and symbolic aspects and emotional user reactions with traditional user experience interaction design.

It is in our intent, activity and perception where solutions can be created and make sense.



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Build Scaffolds. Inspire Articulations. Make New Knowledge. And Repeat.

Access to information technology can make our lives easier, of course, but how people are affected and the sharing of their experience is where we can find meaning.

The diagram below maps 8 author positions around the roles and implications of technology and the meaning of experience and context. Click on the diagram for a full view:

 In What We Talk About When We Talk About Context Paul Dourish describes the interaction of information or object and activity as an alternate concept of context. Context as an interactional problem is the relationship of dynamic objects and activities.

But object interaction is more than the transmission of information, as Bohnear describes in Affect: From Information to Interactionit can be a form of social action, which achieves social ends collectively, in ways in which collective meaning shapes individual experience. 

So if you build scaffolds (supportive frameworks) people will articulate their own experiences that can be interpreted for new knowledge for others.

Posted in Classes, Interaction Design, Reflection, Theory | Leave a comment

Before and After: Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Thermostat Final Re-design + Design Process Overview



Last week we presented our final re-design of a programable thermostat for Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving. Our problem for 8-weeks was to re-design the existing Honeywell Prestige 2.0 thermostat system. Final Iteration 6 here as well as an overview of the design process and reflections below:

Understanding Complexities

As part of our design research, we engage in a problem space to help us understand the complexities of a system.  So I manually went through each screen of the Honeywell thermostat to create Concept Model 1.  Going through this process helped me zoom in and out of details to conceptualize an Ideal System.

Ideal System

My ideal system informed users about their energy consumption, air quality, incorporated color as part of temperature control and featured the list below.

Features List (should include at minimum)

  • Adjust temperature to warmer / cooler
  • Switch between heating & cooling
  • Turn the system on and off
  • Turn the fan on and off
  • Set / edit a 7 day schedule
  • Interrupt the schedule to adjust the temperature


1. 1950s Honeywell Thermostat by Henry Dreyfuss.  The design was simple but that’s why it was beautiful to me.

2. Nest. Their integration of motion sensors inspired me to completely move away from manually programming a thermostat for while you are away.

3. Less but better… Dieter Rams.  My main framework for balancing design solutions and user feedback for each iteration.

Iterative and User-Centered Design Process Diagram Overview

Lessons and Final Thoughts 

When we started this project over 8-weeks ago, I thought the design process was to refine our initial wireframes by designing with and for people AND doing this over and over till we came up with a “good” design.  Which was part of it, but this process also allowed me to explore alternatives for design solutions.  In hindsight, this process has taught me a lot about myself and how to handle design problems moving forward, especially as we move into problem spaces not as well defined as a thermostat.

For any questions/feedback please leave me a comment or you can reach me at

Iteration 6

Iteration 5

Iteration 4

Iteration 3

Iteration 2

Iteration 1

All Best,


Posted in Interaction Design, Methods, Motivation, Reflection | Leave a comment

Design Interface Iteration 5 – An Iterative Process

In Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving we use an effective, iterative and user-centered process for wire-framing.  Our project for the past 6 weeks has been to wireframe and iterate on our thermostat design for a total of 6 times.  Project details for Iteration 5 below:

Function and Features List (should include at minimum)

  • Adjust temperature to warmer / cooler
  • Switch between heating & cooling
  • Turn the system on and off
  • Turn the fan on and off
  • Set / edit a 7 day schedule
  • Interrupt the schedule to adjust the temperature

Once we iterate on our design – we then conduct usability testing using the think-aloud method to understand and solve any usability issues that may come up during testing.

Think Aloud Testing User Comments for Iteration 5

  • Where is the schedule?
  • How does the home/away feature work?
  • Thought the white line was just a printing error
  • The cool to heat gradient line is a bit confusing – I don’t know what it means when adjusting temperature
  • Where are the numbers letting me know where I am or where I could adjust the temperature to?
  • I feel dumb!

So I went back to the white board with Professor Matt Franks to work through some ideas around Schedule and Home/Away features.

Sketches from our white-boarding session

After working through user issues on the white board – I redesigned the wireframes to include the updates below:

  • Current temperature number and text changes when user adjusts temperature
  • Temperature controller now shows what the current temperature is set to
  • The cool to warm gradient has been update
  • Home and Away flow update
  • On and Off button update
  • Wi-Fi flow update

Updated screens below:

Home/Away Flow

On/Off Flow

Wi-Fi On/Off Flow

In reflection, I didn’t realize just how challenging ‘simple and easy to use’ was to design for. To view a full set of annotated wireframes for Iteration 5 please click here. Previous Iterations and Concept Models for reference below:

Iteration 4

Iteration 3

Iteration 2

Iteration 1

Concept Models 1 & 2

For any questions/feedback please leave me a comment or you can reach me at


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