In my class with John Cain “Readings in Experience Modelling”, every week he assigns us readings that challenge what we believe about design. One of our readings for this week was a paper “Cultural Probes and the Value of Uncertainty”.
“The Probes simultaneously make the strange familiar and the familiar strange, creating a kind of intimate distance that can be a fruitful standpoint for new design ideas. They produce a dialectic between the volunteers and ourselves: On the one hand, the returns are inescapably the products of people different from us, constantly confronting us with other physical, conceptual, and emotional realities. On the other hand, the returns are layered with influence, ambiguity and indirection, demanding that we see the volunteers through ourselves to make any sense. This tension creates exactly the situation we believe is valuable for design, providing new perspectives that can constrain and open design ideas, while explicitly maintaining room for our own interests, understandings, and preferences.”
This paper made me think about the value we are losing as we try to get verifiable and justifiable research results. By working in teams and requiring an agreement on a lowest common denominator of interpretation of research results, are we losing the value of personal interpretation in design?