1.3 Cultural Probes

Describing our cultural probe package

What is our design goal? Who are our users? 

Our design goal is to explore the needs, desires, and challenges parents and teachers face in their everyday life, which will help us learn about the people we are designing for. The users are teachers who teach in 1.-7- grade, and parents who have kids in these grades. 

How we thought the probes would help us achieve the goal? 

The probe(s) will help us to understand what kind of feelings and thoughts teachers and parents have in their everyday life, regarding communication between the two parties. This understanding will make us inspired to come up with ideas and design possibilities.  

What is the probe made of? 

The package consists of three probes: a diary that has a few tasks, colored pencils, and self-made stickers. 

The tasks are as following:  

  • To write some general info about themselves. 
  • A mood diary where they will use the colors to describe their feelings for how the communication went that day and write down what forms of communication were used. 
  • To fill in some text to a few statements. 
  • divided box with four icons of communication, and they will write what they feel about each of them. 
  • A box where they stick the forms of communication (self-made stickers) they prefer and explain why.


Pictures of the answers we got

What was most insightful or inspirational?

The most insightful information we gathered was that most of the participants were happy to communicate face to face and through e-mail, but some were happy with using phones for daily communication. The results also show that phones are mostly used when something has happened, which is something we could keep in mind of when we are proceeding to the define phase. 

One of the participants mentioned that text messages and phone calls made them anxious, because the interaction mostly meant something bad or negative had happened. This piece of information connects to data we found in the literature review. 

What surprised you the most?

Something that surprised us was that the two teachers had very different feelings about the different kinds of communication. One of them was very happy with communication through the phone and text messages, while the other said it was a very tiring and stressful way of communication. One teacher preferred to communicate through phone and face to face, and the other preferred e-mail.  

What probe results will help you with future designs?

These results will help us see what kind of devices we should focus on in the futurewhich most likely would be a smart phone.