Role-playing Living Lab Method in the Empathic User Experience Research Process


Despite the vast number of talented makers who create things appealing, the world needs a maker who cares about users’ lives and makes a design solution responsively and sustainably. To achieve the most effective solution that serves users’ needs adequately, makers need to have a mindset of responding to others with empathy — the process of bringing a quality of presence with non-judgmental listening and speaking. Through the communal coping strategy, makers empathize and hear the deeper meaning of the users’ expressions. As a result, users can share their feelings, make requests, and build connections and trust across differences. Therefore, it is unavoidable that makers invite the users and co-design ‘WITH’ them from the beginning of the process. To build an empathic user-maker relationship and provide the users with an appropriate solution, we use the Empathic User Experience Research Process. The significance is in the validity of the Role-playing Living Lab (RpLL) method being incorporated into the entire design thinking process. The RpLL method is a maker and user-driven co-creation approach to involve users and support makers in enhancing empathy-building through long-term engagement. The method mainly concentrates on the maker’s experience (of the users) through maker participation in user-generated content, which supports the users in creating a series of role-playing activities based on their lived experiences. The user furthermore facilitates the role-playing activities for the maker while the maker acts like a real user and has first-hand experience by putting themselves in the setting of the user’s situation and condition.


Eunmi Moon
Student, Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States

Angelica Sibrian
Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States


Presentation Type

Poster Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


User, User-Expert, Maker, Living Lab, Communal Coping Strategy, RpLL Method