The use of anthropologic and ethnographic techniques in the analytical phase is increasingly becoming part of the designers’ competences. Several studies proposed the use of video-techniques (Buur and Soendergaard 2000; Kumar and Whitney 2003; Kumar 2004) or techniques to capture pieces of people life, such as cultural probes.(Gaver 1999). The use of such techniques produces a mass of qualitative data which need to be interpreted and filtered, in order to define usable requirements for a design project. This filter can consist of software tools (Kumar and Whitney 2003), card games (Buur and Soendergaard 2000) or graphical representations of critical factors, such as time sequences and daily routines (see time_sequences.jpg). This kind of representations is an essential tool to mediate the cooperation between the actors in a network, translating qualitative and sociological studies into operational elements to work with.
time_sequences.jpg
Information from cultural probes can be filtered through time sequences describing the typical day of potential users. The picture refers to a project to provide meals to elderly people. On the upper part of the daily sequence the ordinary activities are listed. The lower part, instead, reports routine activities related to food consumption