tool description

Some actors, the sample users or the designers themselves perform a hypotetical service experience. The implied condition is thinking that the service really exists and then building a potential journey through some of its functionalities. A possible evolution of this tool consists in the performance of the same scene several times, changing the character profiles on each scene in order to understand how different users would act in the same situation.

(2000) Marion Buchenau, Jane Fulton Suri, Experience Prototyping, paper presented at Symposium on Designing Interactive Systems, New York
(2003) Kristian T. Simsarian, Take it to the Next Stage: the Roles of Role Playing in the Design Process, CHI '03 extended abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 05-10, 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
(2004) Dag Svanaes, Gry Seland, Putting the Users Center Stage: Role Playing and Low-fi Prototyping Enable End Users to Design Mobile Systems, Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, p.479-486, April 24-29, 2004, Vienna, Austria.
(2006) Mattias Arvola, Henrik Artman, Interaction Walkthroughs and Improvised Role Play, paper presented at DeSForM 2006, Eindhoven



While designing a medical service, some designer of IDEO role-played situations involving doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists and patients in order to simulate the interdependent tasks demanding of the operating rooms staff.
Each member of the team assumed a specific role and behaved in the situation according to role assumed. In this way the team could better imagine the specific situation, trigger empathy for actual users and discover which were the relevant issues to solve or improve.


Giulio Iacucci, Kari Kuutti and Mervi Ranta

The aim of the GO project was the implementation of a wireless network in the Helsinki University of Technology in order to investigate the service architecture for the Nomadic Internet User of the Future. Role games were used for allowing users, experts and designing in envision and act out new product concepts taking into account three fundamental aspects: the interaction between different groups, the mobility of participants during the interaction and the context of each participant in terms of artifacts, tools and environment. The players used the given setting and roles to imagine what kind of services could support their mobility and communication.