Return of the Probe

I have neglected posting User Experience posts a bit too much lately, and as such the pace will pick up significantly over the next period of time. I know that I mentioned last time that the next post (being this one) would get further into Digital Prototyping, but I have decided to push that a bit. Some things are better off written first, otherwise it is going to be a mess. As such, I will return to the lovely Cultural Probe, and finish off my thoughts about it.

It should come as no surprise that the probe was returned quite a while ago, after being with my muse for 2 weeks. It was a great experience finally opening it and seeing all the glorious notes that had been stuffed inside over the course of those two weeks. That the box itself looks like a little happy face from the inside just makes it all the better.

Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, the exact point of the various tasks was a secret I would keep until now. Most of them are quite straightforward, as they simply revolved around gathering data that I would probably not have been able to get simply from asking, as she would probably have been thinking about the whole point of it all while being directly asked. The reason I am empathizing on the “probably’s”, is because it would be impossible for me to know for sure. I simply have to assume that I am right.

One of the tasks was unique from the others, by having a much deeper afterthought behind it. This required the muse to jolt down little scribbles. My thought with this was – besides the above mentioned inspiration – to potentially get graphics that I could use in the game. That way, the game could get an even deeper level of personality, if everything turned out right. The final result of that turned out quite well, despite a few bumps along the road, as I figured out that no drawings has been made in the end. As this was rather fatal to the final product, I managed to issue the challenge of going nuts with drawings for following two days – which turned out to yield some great pieces, of which many turned out to be inspirational pieces for the game.

As a final note regarding the Cultural Probe, it was great to see the effect of acting on the very open tasks rather than specific questions, to get as much unbiased (yet, chaotic) data as possible. The openness seemed to have been a good force, and it also seemed to have been a good idea to remove the requirement of having a certain amount of each of the tasks per day. Furthermore, having heard about probes that were never returned, did not yield any data at all, or simply had a too biased direction, made me even more happy about the results I got.

Currently, the paper-version of the prototype is already done as well, and will – as such – be the focus of the next post. Stay tuned for “Münster Monster“!


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