Five starting points

1. Case Studies of Research Methods

I read five research methods case studies given by my tutor.

  1. Marginal or Alternative Practice
  2. Unpleasant Design
  3. Observational Comedy
  4. A Corner Convenience
  5. Electronic Countermeasures

They are available in the PDF online here:

I chose No.2 and No.3 to research further and see how they can relate to my culture and daily life.

2. Essential Inconveniences

I looked into traditional Chinese culture and customs and found out that many inconveniences created are there for a reason. A good example would be the receipt from a Chinese pawnshop at an early age.  The writing looked like Chinese characters but they are unrecognisable. A special writing technique was used by the shop owner and only the people working in the shop will understand what it says. The method was used as an encrypting technique, doing so can protect the customers’ privacy and prevent the item’s information being modified by other people. It also added extra security as if a customer lost the receipt, whoever picks it up would not be able to identify the item, therefore cannot take it away from the pawnshop. receipt

3. Digitalised Objects that lost their original functions

I found a few examples of digitalised objects that lose their original functions but still managed to get popular.

Digital Red Packet

Screenshot of

Virtual Lighter

Screenshot of

4. Superstitions and Myths

I looked at popular superstitions and found the ladder being quite a special one, as it is quite commonly used as a metaphor in different cultures, but there are not many products made using its form, unlike the waving cats, for example.

5. Video Games

During the time of my research, I visited the Videogames exhibition at V&A Museum. It inspired me and made me noticed that video game is an art form and can be used to express feelings and viewpoints.

Screenshot of the V&A website

I especially like the game made to show the harm of the mobile making industry. It reveals the cruel reality in a humour way.

A Mixture of Materials

When I look at my research, I think of the rules of designs and cultures. In general, designs are used to make things easier, but what about inconvenience designs? The benches with angles and the display windowsill with piles work more like guards that pushing people away. Rules in video games and superstitions seem more welcomed, although superstitions are quite often used by governments to control their people.



Initial Concept

Horus image from Wikipedia
Horus image from Wikipedia

I decided to make a silly game that digitalises a common object and change its function. I wanted to use it to question the superstition that walking under a ladder will bring bad luck. By analysing the rules of different superstitions, this could become a game series.

For this game, the chosen object is a Ladder. As  people believe that “it’s bad luck to walk under a leaning ladder” (Live Science, 2011) and one of the solutions of walking under a ladder is “walk backwards, out from the ladder, the same way you came in” (, 2015), the rules of the game are: walking under all ladders and no walking backwards.

I also found that “The Ladder was a symbol of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris.” (Ladder Talisman, no date) so I did a quick search about Horus. This will be my reference for creating the game character.


Ancient Pages (2015) The ‘Walking Under Ladder’ Superstition Can Be Traced To Ancient Egypt, Available at: (Accessed: 21/01/2019)

Ladder Talisman (no date) ‘Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Ladder Talisman’, Available at: (Accessed: 21/01/2019)

Live Science (2011) The Surprising Origins of 9 Common Superstitions, Available at: (Accessed: 22/01/2019)

Tech Crunch (no date) What Is The Deal With This Stupid Lighter iPhone App?, Available at: (Accessed: 21/01/2019)

Wikipedia (no date) Horus, Available at: (Accessed: 22/01/2019)

ZDNet (2018) WeChat red packet senders total 768m over Chinese New Year, Available at: (Accessed: 22/01/2019)