Building Empathy – Generative Research Activity

As part of our third homework I had my roommates Adam and Max complete three tasks. The results mostly very similar, yet sometimes different. Here is what they answered:

Task: “Close to you”


can’t live without:

  • the internet – why – “gives me instant access to anything I want to know, without it I would be lost”
  • meat
  • phone
  • fridge
  • air-conditioning – why- “to live without ac in Texas would be a life of pain and sadness”
  • toothpaste

what I care about:

  • Mexican food – “I just like the spiciness, I grew up with it”
  • vine
  • shoes
  • laptop
  • cheese
  • rocket league video game, Xbox – why – “I just something fun to do, it’s challenging, satisfying”


can’t live without:

  • family – why- “because they have been with me and supported me whole life”
  • friends
  • hobby (fitness)
  • Asian food
  • computer – why – “that’s how get all of my information and how I learn”

what I care about:

  • fashion – “because I like good stile and its very appealing visually”
  • good weather
  • games- video games
  • travel – “so I can visit place I have never been before and have fun environment”

Task: “Digital Ecosystem”

 Inkedadam 2_LI

  • For the 2 or 3 you use most often, please explain for what, how, and/or why you use that source

online video
what – YouTube, Netflix
how – phone, laptop
why – it is entertaining

what – online forum
how – phone, laptop
why – entertainment, knowledge, curiosity



  • For the 2 or 3 you use most often, please explain for what, how, and/or why you use that source

reddit – what – online forum
how – phone, laptop
why – it has everything and its organized in sections

web research – what- just search engine
how – phone, laptop
why – it automatically gives you the info you need

Task: Typical Weekday



  • Are there any parts of your day during which you seem to access a bit more information categories?

“I am probably done with school or work, so I want to do stuff with low cognitive effort like watch videos, relax, read something”



  • Are there any parts of you day during which you seem to access a bit more information categories ?

“I would say evening. That is when I am free and I am not so tiered.”


My toughs on the research outputs: 

The results were overall similar. This can be explained by the similar background of the test participants. Both are 21-year-old, study engineering and come from Texas. Some of the mentioned similarities are: they both identified computer as something they could not live without, they both stated Reddit as their primary source of information and said that they access information more at the evening. Some of the differences I noticed are that one of the two guys seems more emotionally attached to his family and friends, while the other considers physical objects as something what he cannot live without. Furthermore, one participant receives more of his news from social media while the other relies more on conventional media. Finally, even though both say that they access more information on the evening, they differ on how much they access information until noon. I found it very interesting to notice that evening is a period where people access information the most. This information can be very important for companies which do advertising because the placement of ads on the evening will increase the likelihood that their ad will be noticed by the consumer.

I believe these tools give great insights in customer behaviour and provide additional information that should be considered when building a persona. A persona used for marketing purposes points out information about demographic, employment, character but fails to provide information like how and when does the research object access the information he needs, which becomes more and more important in today’s data driven world. Therefore, if company wants to empathize and learn more about their customer they should, in addition to a classical persona description, add these three questions sets “Close to you, digital ecosystem, typical weekday”. Although the survey was easy to conduct, I experienced some problems with the first question “what are the things you cannot live without?”. Both participants were coming up with necessities like oxygen, water, food. It required a few iterations and a lot of moderation to move the participants from obvious things they need to survive. I would therefore change the question to: “What do you really love?”


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