Having read about Cultural Probes as a means of providing insight and inspiration for a design project I have decided to put together 5 kits and ask 5 different people to use them.

IMG_3238For the kit I have chosen:

  • A single use camera
  • Postcards
  • Graph Paper
  • Journal
  • Pen and Pencil

I will package all of this in some form of case and label each item with some simple instructions help the subjects use the kit effectively. The aim of this exercise is gain some insight into the maintenance practice and rituals of people who take good care of their possessions.

Whilst the single use camera feels like an outdated technology, it is an appropriate choice for this exercise as it is relatively inexpensive and is instantly accessible for the user. I want the participants to feel at ease completing the exercise, in their own environment and without interruption from a nosey researcher.

The use of the post cards, which are currently blank but I may print on them, also sets the user at ease as the post card was traditionally used for a quick and casual message. I’m hoping that, as in the experience of Gaver et al. , this will lead to the participant noting observations without thinking to much about what the write. The aim is to gain information in an informal manner.

I will ask them to use the Graph Paper to draw a plan/map of their environment and to identify where any tools or equipment is stored, where they conduct the maintenance and where the product that they are maintaining is kept.

The journal will be used as a diary to note activity over time and to record anything that may trigger the maintenance activity.

I am quite excited to be producing these items, but some technical issues have slowed down the process. I will post again in the near future to show progress with this aspect of the project.


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