Reading Ahead: Props For The Field
As we get into actual fieldwork this week, we’ll be using (as is typical for us) a mashup of techniques. In addition to interviewing people, we’ll be watching how and where they read books or Kindles. But we’ll also want to get into a discussion of future possibilities. Reading Ahead is not about evaluating existing designs but instead getting inspiration and information that can drive future designs. So we don’t have anything to test, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use testing-like (“What do you think of this?”) activities. In this case, we’ve built extremely simple representations that suggest book and digital reader.
Dan building a thing-to-hold for this week’s interviews
The idea (and we’ll learn what happens once we do a couple of interviews) is to have something neutral to put into people’s hands and let them gesture, sketch, or otherwise perform, so the activity of discussing the future isn’t just a verbal one. We’re going to ask people to draw on these props, and then we’ll have an artifact created by the participants themselves. Those artifacts can be compelling, and can also be a much more impactful symbol of what took place in that part of the interview.
We’ve never used this exact prop before, but in just about every project we’ll come up with a range of tools to use in the field. Our interviews are very open-ended so we could use either of the props to explore any emergent themes, depending on what we use them to talk about (From “How would you hold this?” to “Well, if it did come with your Happy Meal, draw what you’d expect to see on the main screen.”