What: The Life Walkthrough is an empathy-enhancing tool: it helps you improve your understanding of the issues and empathise more with the way a user follows a particular path.
When: As a tool, Life Walkthrough is particularly useful in the development and evaluation of new services or product-service combinations. It is especially useful in the exploration stage of a project as a means to immerse a project team in the existing situation before its members get started.
Advantages: The Life Walkthrough can give you a better picture of the current situation and reveal weaknesses. It is especially useful for complex situations and a good tool to draft a customer journey map afterwards.
You are advised to start by creating personas and use these as input for the exercise to allow the immersion to take place as correctly and empathetically as possible.
You can create evaluation forms in advance for the assessment of a number of themes or situations (such as access, parking, etc.).
The Life Walkthrough
A Life Walkthrough is conducted in pairs, composed of members of the project team. A first researcher takes on the role of the persona assigned to him or her, while the second researcher observes, records and reports.
The pairs complete the outlined journey that the chosen persona would have followed under normal circumstances. The persona is there as a guide for the walkthrough; the intention is not to perform an actual role play of the persona.
The pairs then follow the walkthrough journey, with the possibility of taking notes, videos, pictures or recordings in the process.
Once the journey has been completed, all the data is aggregated for reporting. This data can be very varied, ranging from existing infrastructure to all kinds of touchpoints, etc. The reporting should emphasise what is currently good, and what is less satisfactory. It is possible to later incorporate all this data into the customer journey map.