At the Media Design Program at Art Center, we have developed design-based analytic methods for conducting and interpreting primary research that lead to design innovation.

These methods have proven to be sensitive to the interests and skills of designers. We use cultural probes because they provide a particular entry point for designers to do primary research through the lens of design, using the qualities unique to their discipline instead of relying on other disciplines like marketing or market research.

Bounding terms
The bounding terms that shape and focus our study:
Transition
Self-efficacy
Well being (choosing and defining)
Relationship with technology

Population
Working with Stanford School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital in Orange County (CHOC), we’ll recruit 30 teenagers.
– Genetic disorder: Hemophilia patients (15)
– Contracted disorder: Juvenile arthritis patients (15)

Phase I
We engage the teens by asking them to participate in a series of home exercises and in-home interviews. We’ll invite them to bring a friend to the interview so to help them feel more comfortable in the interview setting and make it more open.

Analysis to ideation
Our design research embraces both clarity and ambiguity as vehicles with which to drive unexpected outcomes and does not give priority to either. Our methods encourage visual, aural, 2- and 3-dimensional, and experiential interpretations. Both analog and digital media are used to visualize insights that communicate in narrative text as well as sensory languages such as visual, sound, touch, and smell. To this end, we have developed an open-ended process that leads to a creative leap. This type of design research is not intended to be an end unto itself, but rather inspire and shape a designed outcome whether a communication system or product interface or new invention.