To get a deeper understanding of how a prototype might work by stepping into the users shoes as a designer
Small groups 2-5 team members
WHAT is Role Playing?
Role-playing is a method for stepping into someone else's shoes, taking on a persona, and acting like that person in a particular scene that you've constructed with other characters. From there, you are able to focus in on the person-to-person interactions you're having as that character.
WHY use Role Playing?
This exercise has two main purposes:
- develop empathy for the character whose shoes you're in
- explore the effectiveness of an experiential prototype via experiencing your character's person-to-person interactions
Through role-playing, you put yourself in a particularly good position to experience your character's emotions as they relate to the scene you've constructed.
HOW to teach Role Playing
Easy! Give everyone a role and a situation, and act it out together! Pay close attention to your thoughts and emotions as you go. Prototyping a better way to buy groceries? Someone becomes the incompetent cashier, someone becomes the manager, someone becomes the buyer, and several people become the impatient folks behind the buyer in line. Create detailed personas - the more nuanced, the richer the interactions you'll have. Be sure to debrief afterward!
An existing idea from a design challengePre-work:
Students should be at a place in the design process where they have an idea that they are ready to prototype. Role playing s a great tool for experiential prototypes.Determine important players (5 min)
Ask the following questions:
Develop the character (5-10 min)
- Who will interact with this prototype directly?
- Who will be affected indirectly?
- Who will affect the success of this idea?
For each character who will be participating in the role play ask the following questions?
Run scenario (timing will vary based on prototype usually 10-20 min)
- What is important to them?
- How will the act in this situation?
- What will their interactions look like?
- Do they need anything (physical prop/information etc.) to play their role better?
Specifics of running the scenario will vary based on the idea being prototyped. During the role play some team members should be taking notes about what they are observing or feeling.Wrap up (5-10 min)
Groups should debrief by asking some of the following questions:
- What did you learn?
- What surprised you?
- What are your next steps?
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