Cultural Probes: Design & Findings – Low Jia Yi

Of the three practitioners I explored, I chose to further understand Baristas.

Cultural Probe

To do so, I conducted a cultural probe with 3 people: a barista, an ex-barista, as well as a novice.

The cultural probe consists of a booklet, as well as a drawer system.

Cover of Workbook & Instruction Booklet
Drawer System

The booklet consists of instructions to follow and questions to answer.

Page 1 of booklet

These three questions asked aim to find out the pain points faced from their perspectives.

Page 2 of booklet

I think being organized and methodical can aid the completion of most things. Questions 4 and 5 thus aims to test my hypothesis out.

Paper cut outs labelled with name of tools needed
Scenario for question 5


Question 1 – Difficulties Faced:

  • Too many steps
  • There’s no fixed ‘thing’ to follow eg. how hard to press the coffee grinds or how long to froth the milk
  • Latte art is so hard!

Question 2 – Ideas to simplify process:

  • Make everything automatic
  • Have everything be super precise so the measurements and duration can be fixed and stuff

Question 3 – Missing Steps:

  • Sometimes I press the button on the coffee grinder before remembering that I forgotten to take the portafilter
  • If it’s very busy, usually I will miss out either distributing the coffee grinds or tampering them
  • No latte art

Question 4 – Disorganized scenario:

  • Can be a bit confusing I guess
  • Quite normal, it is like when I make coffee now, so I don’t see anything wrong with it

Question 5 – Organized scenario:

  • I think it is slightly more efficient
  • Makes me not forget steps
  • Helps me remember what the next step is


With those findings in mind, I sketched out an initial idea for making coffee making more portable and more organized, such that barista-made coffee can be more accessible for everyone.

Sketch of idea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *