Let’s all talk about role-play! No, not that kind.
Mind out of the gutter people!
I’m talking about the role-playing which allows you to explore realistic situations and improve your design thinking by interacting with others in a controlled environment.
By playing out a scenario, which includes your product, or role-playing a conversation, such as a job interview (we’ve all certainly done that once or twice!), you are able to see where any flaws in your design may lie or areas which users may find difficult understand.
Applying design thinking improves the experience for the end user. We may know what we mean but that doesn’t mean it is always clear to others!
The act of role-playing provides you with an alternative way to analyse and understand the perspective of your users, while furthermore developing your skills of empathy and active listening. As a starting point in understanding users possible interactions with your product, role-playing is ideal.
In order to learn further about the interaction between real life users in everyday situations, the idea of gamification could be applied.
Gamification applies gaming elements to other activities, providing an insight into user interactions.
Think about all those loyalty cards sitting in your purse which we all love gaining rewards from.
Many of our purchases become routine habits and these allow companies to gather data on what product is successful or what product may not be. They then use these insights to better target their users. Take the Tesco club card, for example, they use the card to track your purchase habits, ie. buying a lot of cheese? then how about some crackers to go with that. When they send you those vouchers, you’ll get a voucher for some crackers, in turn, enticing you back to their store.
Gamification can provide you with longevity in terms of learning about your users. You are able to maximise engagement by capturing the interest of users and inspiring them to continue through targeted rewards.
While many may roll their eyes when having to partake in role-playing scenarios, it is a great way to talk about your product in a new context and develop ideas which may possibly lead onto ideas regarding gamification.
And always keep in mind that through role-playing you are not only developing your product but your practice of empathic design and your playful empathetic attitude, something which we will discuss in a later post so stay tuned!
TLDR: Role playing is important and improves design thinking.