Week 9: Waiting Room Role Play + Personas

A Role Play is a type of prototyping or simulation technique that can help in quickly eliciting the user experience for a product or service from the target audience. A role-play, just like prototyping can be used as a way to gather data, tweak and re role-play to gather more data from the activity. The participants in this method of research essentially play certain roles in a skit or a conversation.

A role-play as such is not so easy to design but when trying to create a product or service, can prove to be a helpful method in figuring out user requirements, expectations, competencies, acceptance as well as instill a feeling of ownership within the users. The users can also feel more involved in the design process making this a user-centered approach.

Role-playing is regarded as a method to assist design ideation in research. As compared to other design ideation methods such as focus groups, dyads and triads, or brainstorming, role-play allows for much more spontaneous, natural and real insights. This may be because role-playing sessions create more number of scenarios than other ideation methods within an equal amount of time. Additionally, scenarios from role-playing provide richer insights with a lot more details giving the designers with many more recalibration possibilities.

Advantages of Role-play

1. Thought diversity and richer insights
One can get a large number of diverse ideas from different participants. Additionally, role-play is a far superior method to generate design ideas as it lets the participants act and react naturally as they work otherwise in a service interaction or a simulation exercise.

2. Quick idea generation
With more individuals involved in the activity, many ideas can be generated quickly.

3. Creative problem solving
Stimulates creative problem solving within the group. With a few variations, designers can also understand how the same users may react in different scenarios or different user experiences within the same scenario.

4. No fear of judgment
Participants usually participant in role-play without fear of any judgement as the activity of role-play is a fun activity.

Think Design’s recommendation
Heard of six thinking hats? It could be considered a role-play method. Essentially role-play requires designers to play particular roles to see concepts, ideas or propositions from different perspectives. Say, for example, a team of designers is discussing a potential concept. In order that the group elicits different perspectives on these concepts, one may play the role of a proponent, the other opponent and the third, a devil’s advocate. While doing this, the same concept can be seen in different lights.

Use role-play to evaluate a concept, design or an idea in order to look at it through a different lens. Role Play may not be all-encompassing and conclusive; however, this activity does help in early evaluations. Role-play is not a substitute for user testing or prototyping; however, it can complement these methods.

Location: Urgent care centre – City Doctors Palmerston North

Persona 1:
– Drunk 18 year old girl
– Unaware of situations
– Fell over in town and cut open her foot
– Walked to Urgent care from town

Persona 2:
– New mum
– Baby’s father is away for the weekend on a work job
– 3 week old baby wakes in the middle of the night screaming non stop, suddenly the mum cannot hear the babys breathing anymore
– Rushes to after hours in the car around the corner at 2am
– Feeling worried sick

Personas 3:
– University student, moved away from home
– GP is currently still in hometown
– Feels as if they are getting sick, lost voice
– Not in urgent condition

Personas 4:
– Elderly man
– Scared to touch screens because of Covid 19, is wearing a mask and worried about catching germs as he is considered high risk

Personas 5:
– Building contractor
– Slipped and got nail stuck in his arm, unsure if he has had his latest tetanus shot

Ella Taylor – Persona 1: Drunk

“If I was a drunk 18 year old I wouldn’t care about the system, if I saw the system and I was 10th on the list I would get angry and want to be number 1”

“Personally, I wouldn’t want to get out of my seat more than I have to, to go look at a kiosk, I’d rather just sit and vomit in a bowl”

Freedom Holloway – Persona 2: New Mum

“I wouldn’t really see the system because my situation was urgent”

“Instead of using an avatar or image, use a number so that its a definite number, rather than having to question what the avatar is.”

Emily Lauridsen – Persona 3: University student

“I know that my situation isn’t life threatening so I feel like I am happy to wait, would be ideal to have wifi though so I am able to distract myself in the meantime”

“On a Saturday night, after hours is buzzing so I rung up prior to coming in to ask how long the wait would be and they said an hour so I went in thankfully but if they said 3 hours I wouldn’t have gone at all and just waited until Monday”

Ella Taylor – Persona 4: Elderly man

“Rather than little screen and kiosk that is small, I have bad eyesight so a big screen is good so I can see my wait time”


  • Number to show where you are, but could include colour
  • Check out blood work number system


  • Addition of card for NFC isn’t necessarily clear for patients as they are used to QR codes and know how to use them whereas NFC tag readers have only just been added to Apple phones in the last few weeks so that could be something to look at in future phases.
  • Wouldn’t need how many beds are available in private, this can be shown to everyone
  • What to do in the meantime so the helper is doing all that they can do, how to be distracted
  • Digital/technology approach would be best but it has to be so clear that people will understand the system without asking the onsite nurse how long the wait time is.

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