The Packet and the Victim

Yet another week, yet another User Experience post. The subject is, once again, of our own choice, which makes it a fitting time to delve a bit more into the Cultural Probe I mentioned last week now that it has “gone live”.

So, what did the probe end out being? A small white locked box, colored pencils, a stack of papers and a little written note with the tasks that had to be carried out every day. To tell the truth, the idea originally did not involve anything but the list of things – but it lacked the feeling and personality that could so easily be brought to the project. Thus I settled on getting a box.

I did a few alterations from the original plan during the last few moments of creation. The box itself is proved to be quite the lucky find and made it possible to add a nice little detail that I originally did not plan for: It could be locked. I would keep the key, making the muse unable to read the notes again and thus not being affected by what was previously written or drawn. The text itself was also slightly altered and simplified from the original list, as shown below. The picture above misses a belated “maybe”, which the attentive reader would notice by looking at the translation, which I added just in time.

  1. Jolt down little drawings/figures – specific theme perhaps? (3-5) → Draw a little (maybe) cozy squiggle/drawing
  2. Note down out-of-ordinary happenings that made an impression (1-3) → Note happenings or moments which are worth remembering
  3. Same as above, just with taken pictures (1-3) → Same as above, pictures
  4. Describe a feat they want to accomplish (1 or more) → Describe something you want to achieve (big or small)
  5. Feeling of the day → Feeling of the day

As it can be seen, only the last remained completely the same. I simplified the list by removing any kinds of restrictions, which specifically meant the numbers and a potential theme for the drawings. I knew that while this could come in handy, it was best not to direct the thoughts towards something specific. It would simply destroy the idea of having the input being completely unbiased, which was something I would hate to happen.

I am very curious how everything will turn out. It is not every day that you get a chance to read about those little events like the feelings you get when you just made it home in time before the rain started pouring down or a guy with a funny hat walked past you – those little things you take notice of, but some people might not. That is also why I thought pictures would be a nice addition there – not only because they say more than a thousand words. Drawings also gives a nice creative and free element, which is not really present at the same magnitude in the other points. The most interesting thing however, is how it will be done.

Now, for as to what the deeper purpose of these exact points will remain a secret until the actual creative crunching part of the project begins in little under two weeks time. If my muse knew those details it could potentially disrupt it and affect the choices being made. Like mentioned before, this is something I do not wish to happen either. All there is left to do for the next two weeks is waiting.

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