2.1 | Defining our research questions

How we defined our research questions.

The cultural probes

In order to define the problem, we needed to synthesize the data we achieved through the cultural probes and the expert interview. We began with the cultural probes by laying all of the tasks from all five probes in five respective piles and go through all of the answers one pile at the time while systematizing them in a simple form:

Results from the Circle Around the Word task:
– Stupid, Confused, Annoyed
– Confused
– Stupid, Confused, Annoyed
– Boring
– Confused, Satisfied, Smart

Results from the Pick a Face task:
– Bad / sad
– Bad / sad
– Happy
– Happy
– Okay happy

Results from the Expectations while using Communication Platforms task:
– «That» everyone » is on the platform and that it works well. Will also use the one that people are most available on.»
– «That it works properly.»
– «That I get replies quickly and that the platform works well and quickly.»
– «The fact that the platform is fast, can send files, seldom downtime, easy to use, no restrictions on what to share.»
– “Possibility of a group chat, that they are easy to use, that no problems occur while using them. Also, the ability to send more than just text, such as pictures and files. »

Results from the Weekly Basis Communication Platforms task:
– Facebook, Snapchat, SMS, Discord, Instagram, Twitter.
– Discord, Messenger, Snapchat.
– Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Email.
– Facebook, Steam, Discord, Instagram, Snapchat, Canvas, Email, YouTube.
– Facebook / Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, Vipps chat, in game chat functions like League of Legends Client chat, Email, SMS, YouTube.

Results from the Statements task:
1. «I always know where and when I have lectures thanks to Canvas.»
– Agree
– Neutral
– Strongly disagree
– Agree
– Neutral

2. «It’s easy to organize for group work in Canvas.»
– Neutral
– Strongly disagree
– Disagree
– Neutral
– Strongly disagree

3. «It is easy to respond to messages from teachers / lecturers.»
– Neutral
– Agree
– Disagree
– Disagree
– Disagree

4. «I can find my grades and feedback from my professors in Canvas quickly.»
– Agree
– Strongly agree
– Neutral
– Neutral
– Neutral

Results from the Complete the Sentence task:
«What I wish it was possible to do in Canvas is…»
– “I want a neatly organized Canvas where all subjects have the same structure and name and are in the same language. Better and more explanatory titles would have been nice, too. »
– «Don’t use more than one scroll bar.»
– “Instant chat with teachers.”
– “Organize the website the way you want”
– “Chat functions with those you are working with on group projects + Opportunity for co-writing (better).”


When we had gone through all of the probes, we were able to see a few patterns emerging, so our next step was to categorize the probe answers by organizing them in clusters.

The results from the cultural probes, organized in clusters.

Canvas/LMS was the main cluster in the centre from which we derived the results into three sub-clusters; Communication, Emotions, and Wishes/Improvement suggestions.

From Communication, we divided the probe answers further. Many answers brought up features we usually find on social media platforms, such as chat, so obviously we had to have a SoMe sub-cluster, as well as an Expectation sub-cluster. From the probe answers, we noticed that the expectations the people were having to LMS was often connected to the ability to communicate, like file sharing and chatting. Other expectations were connected to the more technological aspect of LMS, such as user-friendliness and stability. Chat functions were also echoed in the Wishes/Improvement suggestions sub-cluster, but this cluster also brought up another exciting suggestion: The possibility to organize the LMS yourself.
For the Emotions cluster, we noticed that a majority of the probe answers were those of negativity when dealing with their current LMS (Canvas).

The expert interview

Trying to synthesize data from the expert interview was a more challenging task, but even here we saw a clear pattern emerging as we analysed the interview.

The expert interview organized in clusters.

We noticed that we could easily divide mr. Bisseberg’s main statements into two major sub-clusters: What is good with Canvas, and what is bad.

The good features are mostly technological, like constant bugfixes and updates, and little downtime, just to mention a few. Should the service be down for some reason, then Canvas can provide good support.
The bad features are often based on the user experience, such as a less than optimal user-friendly design, limitations in regards of co-operating and custom design the LMS for your own needs. «The «one size fits all» doesn’t fit all» statement sums up this aspect rather accurately.  It made us wonder, though: Would it be possible to hold on to everything that makes Canvas a good technical user experience, but simultaneously change and improve upon what makes it bad?

3.2 | Storyboard

About our storyboards.

Just like the scenarios, we went along with having just two storyboards: One for the student’s point of view, and the other for the teacher’s.

The student’s storyboard

The teacher’s storyboard

We tried to just include the most essential scenes from the scenarios in the images in order to make them appear more storyboard-esque, and not like an ordinary comic.

We used the digital services of storyboardthat to make our storyboards.

3.2 | Personas

The three ideas we generated in last post further narrowed down our main target groups. We thought the first and the third idea was similar enough to be combined into one «big» idea (or the two sides to the same coin, if you like), so we based the personas, the scenarios and the storyboards mainly around those.  A two-in-one solution, so to speak.

While we conducted our expert interview with mr. Bisseberg, the conversation never strayed from the fact that our main target group was students, but it also made us aware that these students also included users all the way down to elementary school pupils! Another group that was also brought up, was the presence of teachers, professors, and educators. On the account of this information, it felt natural to base our personas on these three users.

Without further ado, let us introduce..



and last, but not least


The personas are an important tool to visualize our main target users and the situations/scenarios in which they will most likely use our product.

Persona template by Alexander Georges.

3.1 | Generate Ideas

While we were synthesizing the data we collected from the cultural probes and the expert interview, we were also brainstorming ideas for our next phase: How to use the data we just retrieved to further develop our original idea. Strangely enough, the main pros and cons resulted in almost the same answer, namely that our project was so specific to begin with, there really weren’t that many ways to do it differently! Of course we had a few nutty ideas (like a LMS + hoverboard combo), but those only generated laughs and were not taken seriously enough to be a part of the contender. However, we did manage to come up with three ideas that did make the cut:

Idea One:

Advancing the Canvas application further than what it is now. Making it more like an open-source platform where you can download plugins and addons to make Canvas a more advanced and specialized tool rather than just an informational platform. Letting the students themselves choose what addons they want to have and what plugins they want to disable. And let them customize the course sites and groups.

This will create a new way of using Canvas. Instead of the user having to cave in and adapt to how Canvas is currently set up we can let the user decide and form their own platform. Do economy students need the same tools as IT students? Probably not. Some will use a lot of the same tools but some course-specific addons would create a more directed tool. Also letting eager students creating their own addons or plugins they can choose to share their idea/plugin/addon in the Plugin library (monitored by some form of authority).


Idea Two:

During our expert interview, mr. Bisseberg informed us that 47% of the students interact with Canvas through the app. Now, that’s a large number! Through our student interview, we learned the Canvas app was more user-friendly than the web browser version, but still had room for improvements.


Idea Three:

Our third idea is similar to the first idea, except this idea revolves around the teacher: The open-source platform solution where you can download plugins and addons can benefit the teacher, giving them the opportunity to choose what kind of software, plugins and addons they want to use as digital tools when teaching or is relevant to their subject.

1.3 | Cultural Probes

About our probe.

The main goal of our probe is to invoke feelings whenever the user is using a LMS, in this case, Canvas. Having the user who in this case are students, mainly around HIOF that uses Canvas to a day to day basis, and make them do tasks that revolves around their current feelings, will hopefully give us some information about what we can do for the user, and what the user wants from a designer who would be to rewrite or rework the subject (in this case, the Canvas website/system). 

Our probe boxes

Our probe project is planned to be presented in a portable probe box. The box will contain five tasks, which are mainly emotional and will give us insight into the user’s feelings and experiences, to again generate inspiration to us for what we want to explore further in our LMS project.

Our tasks were simple and focused on what the participant thought of LMS and social media; how they used them and what were their preferred platforms.

One of the tasks in the probe box

These are some pictures of the creating of one of the tasks in the probe:

Here are a few pictures of the various boxes and some of the tasks:

We also included a pencil to write down the answers with, and a piece of candy, as a «thank you for participating in our little project!» 🙂


Cultural Probes Exercise.

We chose this article from the website leannefischler.co.uk.

-What is the design goal of the cultural probe?

The goal of the cultural probe was to make people question their consumerism and give feedback to the designer. A side goal of the project was to find out people’s relationships with their items and physical items.

-What is the probe made of (artifacts & tasks)?

A literal wooden box. You were to put the items that meant the most to you in the box to create conversations with other people. It’s important that it was a wooden box.

-What inspiration did the design team get from the probe results?

They got more inspired to make wooden boxes that one day could be a part of the world as the objects that were in them.