Each one of us, the designers, in order to create a new design, from a logo, to a website or to an industrial design; the first and major thing that we have to do as is to make a research on the subject that we are interested on. The way that each designer is going to do the research depends on what the subject will be about.
Cultural Probes is one type of research. Such a kind of research is useful when you want to gather information for things that may takes lot of period of time to collect and you may interested for the user’s feelings or what are they doing in their own environment; just to get know about them and their culture. Basically, you want the users to report whatever they are doing, for the subject that you want to collect information about; it is like they are keeping a diary. Moreover, such a type of research is taking in action when is difficult for you to go there because of the distance and you may event can’t afford the money to visit the places for such a long time.
A cultural probe is a useful tool for a designer because it helps you to understand the local culture and to familiarize yourselves with the users, so that your outcome would not be unrelated to the subject. It allows you to view your group in new ways and new opportunities that will help you in order to create a good design .
An example of a Culture Probe was the one that was assigned to the three investigators Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne and Elena Pacenti. The aim of the project was to help 8 partners from four countries to explore technologies in order to increase the presence of the elderly in their local communities, so through the probe the investigators wanted to found out their habits.
Furthermore, they decided to wrote an article about it were they refereed to a phrase “Inspiration, not Information”. By referring to this they wanted to state that were after “inspirational data” just to inspire their imagination and not collect accurate results. Their indent was to get a more impressionistic report from the users.
1. How the package looks like
Probes were helpful in making them to watch out the detailed texture of the sites which let them with design proposals outcomes that were reflecting what they learned from the materials. The evidence that their proposals were successful was when that elders recognized who they were in the proposals. The result was ,the elders, to recommend other ideas and by having a continuous conversation helped the investigators to the understanding of the probes as method.
According to the aforementioned, the important thing for the investigators was that they had designed materials specifically for the specific project, people and their environment, as a result to help them familiarize themselves with the communities and create appropriate designs as artist-designers.
2. steps that you must follow to do in cultural probe.