Research, games, and fun: Discovering problems and exploring solutions with empathy workshops

Jul 21, 2020 | News

Red Hat’s User Experience Design (UXD) team researches, designs, and develops product experiences in the open. This means users play a big role in everything we do. To create products people actually want to use, we work with them, gather their feedback, and make sure their voices are heard.

Our UXD Research team is always looking to engage with users and collect this much-needed insight while also making the feedback experience enjoyable. So we run empathy workshops to do just that. 

What’s an empathy workshop? 

Empathy workshops are group activities designed to establish empathy and understanding through hands-on games and brainstorming. Through these interactions, you gain a better understanding of user problems, needs, and motivations. Not only are games and activities fun, but they eliminate some of the group effect issues, enabling each participant to share their personal opinions while connecting with others.  

You can then use the information and ideas you gather from these workshops as inspiration for follow-up design thinking sprints, which makes empathy workshops a useful supplement to your other user research efforts. 

What does an empathy workshop look like?

Empathy workshops come in all different forms, but they usually involve a group of participants and a moderator. Let’s consider one that uses the first three phases of the design thinking process: empathize, define, and ideate:

  1. Empathize to discover and explore problem areas. 
  2. Define to identify the focus and scope of problem-solving. 
  3. Ideate to brainstorm on problem-solving ideas. 

There are roughly 20 participants involved, broken into groups of 4. They complete a variety of activities that eventually lead to discovering new product problems and creating solutions together. This type of workshop is a great opportunity to connect and engage with product teams and users—while involving chocolates, creative thinking, and a touch of imagination.

Read more about conducting this type of empathy workshop and using the results as part of your own research in Sara Chizari’s full article on PatternFly.

Related Stories

Summer Leadership Academy for Diverse Students in STEM

Summer Leadership Academy for Diverse Students in STEM

Researchers, Educators, Business Leaders and Students (REBLS) is a MA statewide network that is funded by the National Science Foundation, and housed within the Institute of Diversity Sciences at UMass Amherst. Last year, when the pandemic was ravaging the economy...

The Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University seeks large, small, and speculative projects for funding and support

The Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University seeks large, small, and speculative projects for funding and support

The Red Hat Collaboratory at Boston University has opened a Request for Proposals in support of the launch of the expanded Collaboratory. The Collaboratory seeks to define and demonstrate an open model for large-scale reproducible systems research toward achieving a future of secure, reliable, scalable, self-operating, distributed, heterogeneous compute platforms that stretch from edge devices to cloud datacenters.

Red Hat took part in a virtual panel hosted by MIT for students interested in doing research for high tech companies

Red Hat took part in a virtual panel hosted by MIT for students interested in doing research for high tech companies

MIT hosted a virtual panel for graduate students interested in doing research for high tech companies on January 27, 2021 as part of the Institute’s Independent Activities Period. The “PhD Careers in Tech” event, which covered many different fields of graduate study in both sciences and engineering, as well as general entrepreneurship, included panelists from diverse industries who shared key insights, spoke about skills required for success, how to navigate the interview process and how to build career paths in industry.

Beyond – The 3rd round for the Open Source academy course

Beyond – The 3rd round for the Open Source academy course

During the summer semester of 2020, Red Hat’s Beyond platform offered a class on open source development in conjunction with Efi Arazi School of Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) of Herzliya, Israel’s only private university.

Glimpses into Future Tech: Red Hat Research Days 2020

Glimpses into Future Tech: Red Hat Research Days 2020

In this series of Research Days, Red Hat experts, including Red Hat’s Chief Technology Officer, Chris Wright, and researchers from Harvard, Yale, Boston University, and other leading universities discussed their ongoing research on technology to improve privacy and security, make experimentation and system execution more reproducible, and enhance the performance and reliability of cloud systems.