Role Play| Human Centered Design Activity

Human Centered Design | Prototyping and Testing


A quick and tangible way to test an idea or experience is to get into character and act it out.  A role play is a type of prototype that is not only pretty easy to build, but can also help you get an idea, experience, or product in front of the people you’re designing for quickly.  You’d be smart to test out that role play with your design team first.  You may learn a lot by trying on the roles of the people in your small skit before you even get out of the office.


  1. The main goal of prototyping is to make an idea just tangible enough to elicit a response, whether from you, your team, a partner, or whomever you’re designing for.
  2. Decide which of your ideas you want to role play and assign the necessary roles to your team members.
  3. Take about 30 minutes to determine the necessary roles, who will play them, and what it is that you’re looking to test - is it a type of interaction, whether a person will respond to a type of product, the effectiveness of a sales pitch?
  4. Costumes and props can be highly effective tools in bringing you role play to life.  Don’t spend ages on them, but consider making your prototype that much more realistic.  You’d be surprised how far just a few details can go toward making a role play feel real.
  5. Consider film and editing.  This will allow for several different scenes.  Remember this is a prototype - a rough cut.