Tuuli Mattelmäki (2006)
This dissertation examines the innovative user-centred design approach called probes. Probes are explorative, design oriented and based on self-documenting. They aim at revealing users’ personal perspectives to enrich design and support empathy. The design field is facing new challenges and the probes are linked to these changes: The focus of design has extended from plain products to experiences. Along with this change the view of the user has changed from performers and consumers to more holistically understood actors. Designing for experiences requires an ability to empathise. Empathic approaches are seen to support designerly way of working in concept design. The user-centred concept design is done in multidisciplinary teams in which new practices are needed to facilitate cooperation and creativity. The probes and their inspirational character have raised a wide interest and discussion in the design community. They have been applied both to experimental and business projects but a detailed consideration has not yet appeared. This dissertation introduces the probes approach, describes with illustrative examples what the probes are, how they have been applied in different projects, and concludes the reasons and practices of applying them. The book is addressed to academics, students and practitioners and it offers instructions for applying probes based on literature and well-tried practices.
The book at Aalto University shop: shop.aalto.fi/p/50-design-probes