- Step 1: Immerse in context
- Step 2: Record findings
- Step 3: Reflect and Debrief
- Try it now
- Additional Resources
Step 1: Immerse in context
- Determine whose experience you are looking to gain empathy for
- Have an idea of the "moment in time" that's most important. Determine what tasks happen in that moment.
- Get in context. Go to the actual environment they are in. Wear the gear they wear. Use the tools they use.
- We may be tempted to choose a "sponsor" as a customer, but often it's the end user who you'd like to benefit (which will encourage sponsors).
- Getting in context can sometimes be challenging. Don't give up! Be creative by leveraging your personal network and other resources.
- Sometimes, you must simulate aspects of experiences. It's better to do this than not to do it at all. Recreate the minor touchpoints.
Step 2: Record findings
- Engage in the experience fully
- As you go through the tasks and experience be utilizing all senses to collect data/observations.
- There's not one way to record data, but it is important to keep it objective. Capturing observations versus interpretations.
- We find it most practical to simply write notes by hand. Some additional means include photos, video, and audio recording.
- Save analysis for later! Be fully present.
- Observations are factual data, capturing in this fashion allows more effective and objective sharing of data later with others.
Step 3: Reflect and Debrief
- Immediately after, reserve time to reflect on the experience - adding to your notes.
- With your data collection, begin to "highlight" some of the most important things like:
- Surprises - what really stood out to you.
- Themes/Patterns - what kept coming up, or was clear across data
- What was missing? - what did you expect, but didn't observe
- Empathy - what would be most important to the user - what was the strongest pain point or feeling '
- Debriefing with others who also immersed or observed is a great way to share knowledge, have a better understanding, and gain momentum for the initiative.
- You could use the prompts from the Ethnographic Research Debrief here too! 👇
Try it now
The cool thing about immersing yourself in your customers experience - it can really be done at any scale!
Try this on by replicating a moment, task, or experience. Get a lap under your belt by following these three steps over minutes, instead of hours .
*Find a partner to do this with!
- LearningLive Session on "Empathy" by Advance Concepts™ (56min)
- What is design thinking?
- Ethnographic Research
- Debrief Prompts - from the WorkbookEthnographic Research
- Innovating for People Handbook - See "Walk-A-Mile Immersion"
- Look into Empathy Suits!