Walk in Their Shoes

Understanding the Student Experience with User Experience Design (UX) Methods

Ryer Banta

Information Literacy & Technology Librarian

The Student Ready College

User-Centered Design


What can we do to improve a new student’s first day of class at Centralia College?



Activity Results

Link to Mind Map

Session Goals

Explain benefit of UX methods for becoming student-ready

Apply these methods to a part of the Centralia College experience connected to your work

Session Outline

UX Background

Three easy-to-implement methods relevant to Centralia College

Try one method in an activity

The Aims of

User-Centered Design Research Methods

structure conversations that can help us better understand and empathize with people, and as a result build more meaningful products.

Bruce Hanington & Bella Martin in

Universal Methods of Design

Users are not always logical, at least not on the surface. To be a great designer you need to look a little deeper into how people think and act.

Paul Boag, User Experience Designer

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak

Hans Hofmann, Artist

  • Methods to put yourself in user’s shoes

  • Understand and empathize

  • Facilitating conversations

  • Helps prioritize and uncover hidden motivations, thoughts and emotions

User-Centered Design Methods

Love Letter & Break Up Letter

Love Letter & Break Up Letter

  • technique to elicit strong reactions and underlying thoughts and emotions
  • users write a letter of their choosing to the brand, the experience or the concept

Love Letter & Break Up Letter 

  • Good for large concepts or experiences, like the whole school, a building, a web system, or a complex process.
  • Could be online and/or physical cards that users can opt-in to filling out.

At Centralia College

Directed Storytelling

Directed Storytelling

  • Insights into the real-life experiences with simple and thoughtful questions that guide a conversation
  • Probe to get more information on environment and emotions connected with the experience
  • Take notes and find themes across all participants

Directed Storytelling

At Centralia College

  • discreet tasks, like getting a parking pass or finding a professor's number
  • complex processes, like registering for the first time

KJ Technique

+ Affinity Mapping

KJ Technique 

  • a silent, consensus-building method for coming to a shared understanding
  • thoughts written on Post-Its, then shared 
  • technique for identifying emerging themes from disparate sources (the Post-Its)

Affinity Mapping

KJ Technique + Affinity Mapping

At Centralia College

  • this morning's example
  • internal teamwork and visioning


Love Letter &

Break-up Letter

1. Choose a specific concept or experience.

2. Prompt to write a letter.

3. Share letters.

4. Discuss.



KJ Technique

1. Start with a simple, core question.

2. Write ideas.

3. Put ideas on wall.

4. Organize ideas.

5. Discuss.





Directed Storytelling

1. Ask to hear about a specific experience.

2. Tell the story.

3. Take notes.

4. Probe for more detail when needed.

5. Discuss.





Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions

By Bruce Hanington & Bella Martin

Learn More

Walk in their shoes: Understanding the Student Experience with UX Methods

By Ryer Banta

Walk in their shoes: Understanding the Student Experience with UX Methods

A presentation for Centralia College's Fall 2016 All-Staff Day.

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