Exercise: Cultural probe


What is the design goal of the cultural probe?
The goal for the cultural probe was to answer these questions:

  • What sources of influence are present in participants’ day-to-day lives?
  • What are participants’ food aspirations and how do they compare to their food realities?
  • What emotional reactions do certain foods illicit in participants?

What is the probe made of (artifacts & tasks)?
The probe are made off Activities to do at home coloured in white, and to-go which were coloured in yellow. The kit was made from toto bags, a camera, Moleskin notebooks and Cardboard Aesthetic.
The activities were as following:

  1. Meal Documentation  (to go)
    The user was to take pictures of the food they ate outside of the house and the environment they were eating in.
  2. Assumption Journal (to go)
    There was a notebook which the user was supposed to have on them for atleast 1 day. Then they where instructed to observe when another person was eating and write down what they were eating. Then the user was supposed to pick 3 stickers that represent their assumptions about the person they were observing based on the food they were eating.
  3. Colour Palette (at home)
    With the provided placemat and colouring pencils the user was instructed to recreate the colour palette of what they ate every time they ate a meal at home.
  4. Mood Placemat (at home)
    Each time the user ate a meal at home they were to eat it on a new sheet of the placemat and circle how they feel about the food, and about themselves after they ate.
  5. /6 Envelopes (follow directions on the envelopes)
    The user was given envelopes which had different directions on them.
    For example:
    Open this after grocery shopping.
    – List the food items you bought.Open this on the last day before handing in your kit.
    – List the items still left untouched from your grocery shopping.

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

They felt it was inspiring because of the way the cultural probes redefined what research and bonding with the participants is all about.