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

Secured API in Hybrid Cloud

Secured API in Hybrid Cloud

Recently we see many companies are moving their data from local data centers to public managed clouds. But with these changes, some questions come up -  Can I store my data on more than one public cloud provider?What if a company wants some of the data stored...

BU Software Engineering Foundations

BU Software Engineering Foundations

Reviews are in for Langdon White and Bandan Das’ first-ever virtual software engineering course at Boston University : Online classes work. This semester-long course which was first taught in the spring of 2020 became a bellwether for the potential of virtual...

Teaching UX/UI at Masaryk University during the lockdown

Teaching UX/UI at Masaryk University during the lockdown

In February 2020, four colleagues from Red Hat Brno decided to organize a full-semester course called Development of Intuitive User Interfaces at Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University. How did they cope with the coronavirus crisis?

UMass Students Work on Foreman/Katello for Capstone Project

UMass Students Work on Foreman/Katello for Capstone Project

Mentorship is a great opportunity for professionals to share their experiences and impart their knowledge to others. In Ian Ballou’s case, mentorship offered a great opportunity to pay forward the great experience he had as a mentee during his internship at Red Hat....

School Visits

School Visits

This program includes a monthly visit of about 30 high school students, (different schools and students every visit) to our office, giving them a preliminary explanation on Open source and the high tech industry in Israel.

Red Hat Open Source for Education (ROSE)

Red Hat Open Source for Education (ROSE)

The ROSE (Red Hat Open Source for Education) Project is a cross-community effort that brings students from Tira together with students from Raanana to the Red Hat offices in Israel to learn about the Linux operating system and Python programming.

Red Hat Research at DevConf CZ 2020

Red Hat Research at DevConf CZ 2020

On the weekend 24th - 26th January, the 12th round of the annual, free, Red Hat sponsored community conference DevConf CZ took place right after the first-ever Research Day Europe in Brno at the beautiful campus of the Brno University of Technology Faculty of...