This week I am reading a article named ‘Cultural Probe’, which introduce a really interesting method to get informations, or some inspirations.
As the article mentioned, that cultural probe is design to explore new ideas. People offering some equipments or stuffs to their target audience and wait for them to return the random data over a period. Cultural probe is such a successful process, which becomes a popular and functional tool for designers to collect information. And I think there are several reasons, which makes it becoming a significant methods to collect information. Firstly, doing a cultural probe is much more fun than doing a survey or a questionnaire. People are tiring of filling the forms or answer the questions in their daily life. The probe package provide a chance to let the audience control the progress and the depth themselves. Designers just offer each target a package of stuff and enough time, and the target audience could finished the investigation causally. Account of the freedom of research target, designers might gather much more unexpected information. Unlike these traditional survey systems, the target consumers have the ability to manipulate the content for the cultural probe. Designers may horizon their mind and get some inspirations from their target’s experience. The last thing is cultural probe could display the diversity within multi-districts. People live in different region have multi habits, and doing a cultural investigate in different areas target might illustrate that diversity directly to the designer. And it is a big work for them, if they are gathering information via a traditional process.
Talking about why the authors mean ‘inspiration, not information’, it probably as I figured on the above: due to the activities of various target, the collected feedbacks might broader the designers mind. These information could inspirit designers as well. That is the reason these authors mentioned they collect the inspiration rather than gather information though this probe in the article.
The effect of research method on this probe is significant. The designers think careful about their targets age group, interests and requires, to make up a fully functional package for their investigation. And they are not only gather the messages, also offer a great opportunity to let these elderly people reconnect to their community. That is a great unexpected successful of their research.