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How to observe

I finally got a chance to go back and read these papers. I thought they were both really interesting! They are essentially exploring novel ways to tep into the creativity of other people. In one case, the cultural probes were used just to understand people completely different from them. I appreciate their humility and open-mindedness when approaching a new group of people. If only everyone was as concerned about respecting cultural differences...

For the Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Charactors paper, I was impressed with the range of ideas and creativity that happened. I'm interested in exploring more new ways to get specific information for a product or experience. Is there an appropriate level of constraints and freedom that people should have to optimize the creative ability of people for specific agendas? What effect does the social environment have on people's ability to be creative and how can one foster an open, comfortable environment for this sort of collaborative design. I loved the snoop dogg rings, btw. :)

How to observe is not as clear as how to program a computer. To really understand something you must be part of it, interacting in the actual situation you wish to know more about. But to be part of it means you change the situation. Your presense makes it a two-way exchange (which can be a good thing as Gaver points out in his paper). I think we must always be open to reinventing the HCI process, especially during early observation and analysis where every situation is unique.

  • Steven (Oct 19, 04)


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