Published on March 1, 2019 by

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To understand how existing or new services work


Roleplaying is a design activity that helps stakeholders understand (visualise) certain situations, parts of the service or the entire service


One Hour


Scenario text


In Small Groups

Image courtesy of Service Design Tools, click here to visit site


In role playing, different stakeholders can be involved such us doctors, nurses and patients, to simulate the environment, activities and roles involved, for example, role playing an operating theatre scenario (see above). Each member of the team is allocated a specific role, behaving in the situation according to role assumed. In this way the team can better imagine the specific situation, trigger empathy for actual users and discover which are the relevant issues to solve or improve.


  • Role Play, Service Design Tools, access at
  • Buchenau, M., Fulton, J. S. (2000) Experience Prototyping, in DIS’00 Proceedings, Brooklyn New York
  • Kristian T. Simsarian, (2003) Take it to the Next Stage: the Roles of Role Playing in the Design Process, in CHI ’03 Proceedings extended abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA
  • Svanaes, D., Seland, G. (2004) Putting the Users Center Stage: Role Playing and Low-fi Prototyping Enable End Users to Design Mobile Systems, in SIGCHI Proceedings, Vienna, Austria, pp.479-486
  • Arvola, M., Artman, H. (2006) Interaction Walkthroughs and Improvised Role Play, in DeSForM Proceedings, Eindhoven


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