Reading Commentary #6: Cultural Probes

A very interesting read on how things are approached in order to receive accurate data.

I was impressed by what they’ve done, in terms of process.  By not building an intrusive package and in it materials that didn’t seem daunting to that particular receiver.

I really liked this comment: “Instead of designing solutions for user, then, we work to provide opportunities to discover new pleasures, new forms of sociability and new cultural forms.  We often act as provocateurs through our designs, trying to shift current perceptions of technology functionally, aesthetically, culturally and even politically.”

Up until now, I’ve been a commercial designer.  I’ve never really had any challenges such as this, where something is designed as an actual insertion into a society, whether it was received well or not.  Because in my previous work, the only thing that I was concerned about in either designing a package, identity or brochure, was that it had to protect, provide an experience, and visually communicate.

I was never really exposed into delving into a cultural setting where you get to discover new forms of socializing or interacting.

This is what I learned: 1) sometimes materials need to be designed to provoke inspirational responses.

Also love this point: we believe aesthetics to be an integral part of functionality, with pleasure a criterion for design equal to efficiency or usability.

There’s something about having the right aesthetics in order to gain the proper results and I think it depends on every field.  As a commercial designer, I’ve always had to promote an attractive hook to the demographic/target audience.  For architects, it’s something else different.  I can only assume that their designs would have to involve inspiring a sense of mood that an individual can transcend from sight to emotion.  Same thing perhaps for Product Designers, who I think have the hardest design jobs of all.  Their creations must have both form and function, and if it doesn’t function, then it’s poorly designed.

But all in all, I was happy to read this, because it’s something I can use when working on my future projects, especially when dealing with designs that would have an impact in society.

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