From idiosyncratic detail to design

Preparing my course about interaction design next week, I got back to the work by Bill Gaver about cultural probes:

"Tactics for using returns to inspire designs

1 Find an idiosyncratic detail: Look for seemingly insignificant statements or images.

2 Exaggerate it: Turn interest into obsession, preference to love, and dislike to terror.

3. Design for it: Imagine devices and systems to serve as props for the stories you tell. 4. Find an artefact or location. - Deny its original meaning. What else might it be? - Add an aerial, what is it? - Juxtapose it with another, what if they communicate?"

Why do I blog this? Although the quote above is about probes, this is exactly the sort of direction I try to show as an alternative to "standard" (or utilitarian) user-centered design. As a design exercise, it would be good to use this in a cadavre-exquis way (observation/design/observation/design...).