Catherine Legros, A student and design intern at the time of writing, has boiled probing down to 4 steps, which I think are quite accurate, and easy to follow and explain.
1: Conceptualizing ideas, and finding the right activities. We can put all the possible questions or concerns we have in a comprehensive list, and see how efficiently we can make overlapping probe tasks. We don’t want to have a single unique medium for each question/task we have, as that would lead to a large kit that may not feel grounded.
2: Design and instructions. How do we organize our tasks and mediums? We by now have all of our tasks, and likely most/all of our mediums, but we need to present it in a meaningful way. For example, a to-go bag with tasks and a placemat for at-home activities. Maybe some timer to keep the user engaged. That is, some way to say ‘this today, that tomorrow, this on the last day…’ The punchline – What do we want our audience to see?
3: Execution. Making the kits. Using materials that have a friendly connotation, and final kits that have been put together in some cohesive way. This will change based on your target audience and mediums/tasks.
4: Results. We know that this is a qualitative analysis, but there are some non-obvious helpful points. The results should be analyzed as a team, as for something as abstract as this, a single set of eyes may fixate on some point, or miss another. Be ready to have your ideas change. That’s okay, and probably expected.