When you’re trying to learn about a person’s perspective on an experience, a visual exercise like drawing is a more engaging way for people to articulate what the experience feels like, and for you to build empathy.

The Draw your Experience research activity is a way to gather more rich information from your users and stakeholders than a standard survey or interview. It’s essentially a conversation between you and a person who is involved in the experience you are trying to make better. Doing this activity will set you up to identify patterns in your research through an empathy map or journey map.

How To

  1. Think about a person’s experience you want to learn more about.
  2. Grab two sheets of paper and a colorful marker or two.
  3. Write a prompt at the top of each sheet: (a) Draw your experience with _____ that was _____ [positive valence: helpful, great, effective, inspiring]. (b) Draw your experience with _____ that was _____ [negative valence: tiring, bad, discouraging, unhelpful].
  4. Follow the prep and facilitation guide to determine who to do the activity with and how to structure the conversation.
  5. Spend 20 minutes walking through the exercise with someone. If you can, give the person participating in the activity the sheets in advance so they can draw on their own. It should take 5-10 minutes to complete the drawings. Take notes, including verbatim quotes, during the activity.
  6. After you complete the activity with one participant, immediately record debrief notes. Repeat!
  7. Once you’ve done the activity with your stakeholders, synthesize what you learned using an empathy map or journey map.

Prep & Facilitation Guide

Activity Debrief Worksheet