Cultural Probe Kit Design

​Problem

When we are working with specific groups, and our research is related to personal life, culture, and habits, we need a particular method to understand users' needs better.

In the project called “An investigation of factors that affect the usability of ATMs and their interactions with older adults using hedonomics approach,” I was looking for a method to help me uncover real-life of older adults, their interactions with ATMs, their problem, weaknesses, and cultural aspects of working with technologies.

The initial research method started with traditional ways such as fill out questionnaires and conducting follow-up interviews which failed to gain enough empathy, insight, and data about the hidden problem of interacting with ATMs. 
The situation presented a very complex set of design challenges; to develop a design dialogue with participants and gather information about their needs, I used three ways: conducted behavioral observations and interactions of seniors with ATMs, used Cultural Probe kit, and conducted follow-up interviews with 9 older adults. 

Cultural Probe Materials:

The Probe kit is a plastic folder contains:

  • A booklet

  • A Disposable Camera

  • Storyboard Cards

  • Muddy Cards

  • Letter Card

  • A bottle with five colored paper

  • A small notebook

  • A  reminder card

  • Shopping Bag gift(environmentally friendly)

  • and an Envelope And a pen.

  • Designing each activity and presenting of it, was so important, to encourage them to do the tasks.​​​

The Outcome

The outcome of designing and using cultural probes kit helped to better understand older adults' hidden needs.

Some parts of the kit Design

Inside the booklet

In the personal information gathering section, participants were asked to declare their physical problems by using red labels instead of answering written questions. In this way,  they had shown more interest in taking part in it based on their feedback; it was like a game for them as they mentioned. (During the interviews  I understood that they reluctant to talk about their physical weaknesses but this game facilitate or discussion around that and they feel relax to share them with me)​

A Disposable Camera with a list

the camera was provided with a list of the topics which the participants were asked to photograph. (One of the most exciting parts of my Probes.) Participants were asked to stick one of two possible labels to electronic devices indicating whether they feel comfortable working with the device or not. This kind of activity was much easier and enjoyable than previously available methods in designing cultural probes which asked them to write the number of the picture at the back of the camera.

 


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A page in booklet that asked for show physical pain or problems

The process of probing

The translation of designed cultural probes kit from Persian to English

The original cultural probes kit in Persian 

Taken photo by participants in relation to what they asked to take from electronic devices 

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All probes materials were put together in a wall (156in*90in) for the next part of analyzing raw data and gathered information
After each interview, materials put on a wall together and an affinity diagram was helpful in organizing the data.
A lot of insight was gained by going through the materials. However, this insight gathering was a challenge which is required  different 
levels of interpretations

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Defined Personas for the project

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Poster presentation at the 47th Canadian Associations of Gerontologists Conference, Vancouver 2018

© 2020 by Azadeh Mokhberi