Cultural Probe

Overview | Team | Role & Responsibilities | Skills


For our Interaction Design Methods course at Indiana University, teams were tasked to design a cultural probe to send to a group of elderly citizens in San Francisco. The goal was to understand their beliefs, desires and preferences, in order to aid our design of a public interactive art installation to encourage their engagement with the city’s nightlife.

Cultural probe 1
Cultural probe contents. We provided a clay bird house that our audience could paint on as a warm-up to the rest of the probe's contents, and a packet of toy dinosaurs to encourage whimsical thinking about visiting museums.
Cultural probe 2
We provided a specimen thousand dollar bill and asked our audience to write down in the notebook (provided in the probe package) what activities would they engage in if they were in downtown San Francisco at night.
Cultural probe 3
Instruction contained within dollar bill
Cultural probe 4
We provided a postcard with questions to encourage our audience to respond and mail back to our design team. The questions were: "What place does music have in your life?" and "What is the most important thing in your life?"
Cultural probe 5
We provided a set of invitation cards to simulate our audience inviting their friends to an event downtown, and asked who they would invite, and what type of party and activities they would engage in.


Ravikumar Jayaraman
Evan Lipton

Role & Responsibilities

Facilitator – led the team through the design process
Photographer – documented the team’s design process through images


Usability testing
Paper write-up / editing