Video Probes

November 12, 2010

Since my first post on Video Probes I have been developing the use of the design research method through a series of studies. The video probe is a specific time framed video response to a question. The first study was conducted with Dance Base (as previously posted). The participants were asked – “what are your perceptions of dance base?” The responses were then used to help inspire and inform the design of the connected Collection Boxes as well as gain a greater understanding of the people and place.

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

The second study was conducted with MSc Ethnography students at Dundee University as part of a deeper study into self-service (more about that later). The student groups approached the probes in very different and interesting ways. Some using it more as a field work tool, others to strengthen their initial insights, others were able to communicate their insights through the probes in a very clear thought provoking way.

The groups were split to focus their field observations on different influencing factors of self-service – Interactions, Transactions, Environment, Consumers.

Their Video Probes can be viewed below





We will now be using the insights from the Video Probes and other activities to inform a project that aims to gain a greater understanding of consumers in relation to self-serivce.


Engaging workshop

December 21, 2008

How do you engage with people in a creative way that are not from the creative industry, reluctant to participate or have little understanding of the design process?

The Dance Base Workshop

The Dance Base Workshop

As the investigative design relationship with Dance Base (DB) in Edinburgh develops into understanding such issues as loyalty, reward and charity I have begun to develop some workshops. These workshops are about trying to engage with the different stake holders within the organisation – all with different viewpoints, aspirations and opinions.

I asked some of the employees of DB to create a short 3 minute video of “their perceptions of Dance Base“. These turned out to be terrifically insightful and amazingly professional! I wanted to use these videos at the workshop to get the participants to think deeper about DB and the issues surrounding it. To help them open up and approach things differently I started the workshop with an Alexander Technique (AT) class. This Technique is often used by actors and musicians to help them with such things as posture, projection of voice, relaxation, awareness of self and composure. It is an interesting way to start a workshop as straight away the participants know something different is taking place. As part of the class they were all asked to lie on their back and watch the 3 minute videos. While they were doing this they were asked a series of probing questions to get them to think deeper about where they worked, the value of the place and how it should engage with people as a charity.

This was the first workshop and many lessons have been learned. Using the AT was certainly successful in facilitating the engagement with the participants. The discussion afterwards was very insightful for myself . The videos worked especially well, not only was it something tangible that the board of directors could see but it inspired more of the employees to participate in further activities.

When I am creating workshops I always try and  consider what I am wanting out of them, who are the people participating and design the workshop to be fun, stimulating and importantly productive.

Make Do

October 1, 2008

Earlier this year colleagues and I attended a Make Do workshop run by Angus Colvin. Angus aims to encourage creativity and communication in his workshops through the creation of 3D objects. 


Make Do

Make Do

The relaxed creative atmosphere of the workshop meant that it was universally enjoyed by all that attended. It really made us realise that we could never have expressed ourselves in such a fun, abstract or imaginative way if we were asked to sketch our ideas. Working with the plasticine allowed us not to be precious and just enjoy the experience. Check out more photos on flickr