Post by Anuja Khandelwal, MA Graphic Design student. 

The AUB Human 2018 symposium was a dedicated space created to celebrate social, ethical and sustainable creative practice within the AUB community members who share one desire – ‘to bring positive change for global good’.

On 13th March 2018, I took part in a one-day workshop on ‘How to Design and Utilise Cultural Probes as a tool for Design Research’. A probe serves as a way of gathering data about people’s lives, values and thoughts by engaging them with a small package that contains artefacts.

Working in teams, we were assigned to design a cultural probe and get at least ten people on campus to complete them, all within a span of three hours.

Given absolute freedom of research question, my teammates and I resolved to investigate the following: who do people interact with under different emotional states; how do they contact those people; and why do they use a particular mode of communication to contact that particular set of people.

Thus, we named our probe ‘Who? How? Why?’ Users were presented with a set of five colour-coded, packaged leaflets representing five prime human emotional situations i.e. happy, sad, angry, love, confused.

They were then prompted to match two sets of people (friends and family) with their preferred means of communication (in person, audio call, video call, text message and social media).

As a part of the qualitative question, they were also asked about the factors leading to their choices.