A script/scenario with instructions
Paper & pen for note taking
Video recording (if possible)
Props and scenarios
What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?
Roleplay is a prototyping tool that can help quickly elicit and collect user experience of a service prototype. It provides authentic information and helps one to understand user requirements and expectations as it encourages participants to act and react naturally in prototyping situations. Roleplay can be re-played for creating new service prototypes to gather more data on a different user experience and functional service features, and be re-used as many times as needed by simply changing aspects in the scenarios, which enables one to create multiple service prototypes. This is especially useful as in a consuming situation services are consumed while produced. Moreover, roleplay does not require additional costs and is a fun thing to do.
Steps how to use this tool in practice
The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.
Prepare the roleplay script for the service prototype. Depending on the ideas for a possible solution to the issue at hand you can have different scenarios, each one changing elements that will result in different user experience with the service.
Provide the roleplay script to the participants and ask them to either play it as themselves or take specific roles based on instructions. Encourage them to immerse themselves in the script and play it out in as much detail as possible.
Let the participants roleplay the service prototype. Do not interfere in the process, but observe their actions and reactions and take notes.
After the roleplay, ask the participants to reflect on the service and interaction with and during it.
You can make changes to the service prototype and re-play the changed version or other scenarios of the service to see whether changing any details will affect the service experience of the participants.
Tips and hints for using this tool
If possible, record the roleplay on video. This way, you will be able to re-watch and see details or nuances you may have missed.
If you have the time, try re-playing the same scenario with different participants to understand how different users would act in the same situation.