Cultural probes, or design probes are a window into the life of the user. Probes or information gathering packages are handed out to participants and they are asked to track themselves for a certain period.
1. Gather your team and decide on a specific target user you would like to understand better. Also decide what type of medium is necessary to uncover those insights.
2. Prepare the probe and if it includes different types of tools, divide preparation between team members. Also decide whether your probe is digital or physical, or a combination.
3. Hand out the probe to the targeted group of users. Make sure to give clear instructions on how to use it and when to hand it in.
4. Gather the probes and schedule a meeting with the team to go through them. Try and cluster insights in this meeting and prepare a summary.
5. Write a short report (document) summarizing the main insights and share this with the team.
When you need details about the user’s life and context.
Unobtrusive manner to collect information for the design process.
Good for long distance research with low budget. The open character of the data may cause interpretation issues.
Collection of data from the user’s life and context.
This method can’t stand alone and goes well with context mapping or follow up interviews.
GAVER, Bill; DUNNE, Tony; PACENTI, Elena. Design: cultural probes.interactions, 1999, 6.1: 21-29./ WRIGHT, Peter; MCCARTHY, John. Empathy and experience in HCI. In:Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2008. p. 637-646./