As part of our research, I designed cultural probes as a method for collecting bread-related stories from participants. Cultural Probes are small kits of designed artefacts that prompt people to complete a number of tasks. Thus, participants are engaged in creative activities that go beyond the formalising nature of interviews or questionnaires and elicit more nuanced or tacit responses. For the aims of our study, the designed artefacts included a photo-diary, postcards and association cards. Additional material was included to help participants complete the tasks, such as a camera, stickers, coloured pencils and an instructions booklet.
Great care was taken so that the kit was designed in an aesthetically pleasing way in order to inspire and engage participants. I designed a mascot and applied a consistent visual language (colours, layout, fonts, sketches) to all probe materials, which were also populated with hand drawn sketches that complemented the textual descriptions and enhanced the playfulness of the kit. The vocabulary used was simple, intended for a general audience.
The tasks aimed to collect information about participants’ day to day bread habits, their values and motivations. Our method, in combination with follow-up interviews at people’s homes, revealed four narratives around bread: the healthy bread, the fresh bread, the ethical bread, and the exceptional bread. These themes encapsulate deeper bread consumption, which we argue are currently neglected in digital food design and research.
The Bread Stories study was written up an presented in OzCHI 2018.
In collaboration with Nadia Pantidi, Martin Flintham, Sharon Baurley and Tom Rodden.