Lens 3

Tool 3.

Person’s path of understanding

Empathy is a fundamental element in the development of a product. Users interact in different ways and in different contexts with products and services. The path of understanding the person is a tool that is based on real previous data and research methods, always with the aim of identifying and generating various non-stereotyped profiles of users and thus analyzing their steps and needs individually.


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Tool 3.
Person’s path of understanding

The different profiles of the target users are considered and a specific route is proposed for each one. This manages to visualize situations from new points of view and is very beneficial to understand different groups in more detail and take their needs into account. This tool focuses the dynamics on real data and allows work teams to make inclusive decisions about users, since the areas of opportunity are generated from the analysis of the environments of each type of real profile and not from opinions, assumptions or stereotypical figures.

Benefits of the tool

The path of understanding of the person allows to detect areas of opportunity and improvement directly related to the desires and needs of each user profile analyzed. It is possible to understand the person more thoroughly, develop greater empathy and see specific situations from the point of view of other people. It is possible to understand why the different profiles behave in certain ways. This is possible taking into account their contexts, identities and ideologies. It is applied when you want to have a better overview of habits, feelings and perspectives in order to add greater value to the product to be designed or redesigned.

What is needed to put this tool into practice?

  • This tool should be based on real data previously obtained from social networks, staff experiences, observation of users, interviews or another research method.
  • Can be used to synthesize information after conducting surveys, in-depth interviews, or other techniques.
  • Data on the behavior and context of target users need to be disaggregated by sex.
  • It is suggested to carry out the steps as a group or with the innovation and development committee in order to obtain more complete findings.
  • It is highly recommended that the people who make up the team are 50% women and 50% men, and that they have knowledge about gender equality, stereotypes and gender roles.
  • The use of this tool is approximately 45 minutes, but you can lengthen the dynamics as long as you want.

Steps for implementation

1. Profile creation

Step One
      • Select the profiles

    Based on data, select the profile or profiles that represent the target user of the product or service. The separation of profiles must be carried out when there is a specific characteristic that is of interest to the product or service and it is necessary to seek to stay within a margin of one and five profiles. Unless the nature of the company or the product indicates that, without stereotypes, the product or service is directed to a particular sex, it is important to represent both men and women in the classification of profiles.

    Step two
        • Segment profiles

      It is essential to understand that profiles are being segmented according to the representations of a group of people, but this is always with the aim of having greater empathy with each group and avoiding the stereotypes that may become associated with them. In the event that the product or service has been planned to be directed to a particular sex, it is necessary to ensure that this differentiation is essential and is not based on socially assigned roles and stereotypes about what is feminine and what is male. When segmenting the market, it is advisable to think about the functionality of the product and the need to be satisfied through its use, not about preconceived ideas about behaviors and attitudes that are culturally considered appropriate for women and men, and that may be reproducing gender stereotypes.

      Step three
          • Names

        Establish a name, age and a brief description for each of the selected profiles.

        Step Four
            • Select a real face for each profile

          Putting a face will make the team more empathetic and understand its users more deeply. Do not use caricatures or images of celebrities as these can cause the dynamics not to have the desired impact. Likewise, it is necessary to pay attention not to reproduce stereotypes about the appearance of people, but to reflect the diversity of women and men that make up the market.

          Step five
              • Biography

            Write a biography paragraph for each profile. Relevant data from previous research should be included here, but as a description.

            Step six
                • Reflect gender stereotypes in them

              After writing the profile bio, the team should reflect on whether they are not reproducing gender stereotypes in them. For this step, it must be questioned whether the diversity of women and men that exists within the represented group is made visible.

              Some triggering questions that the team can use for this analysis about the use of gender stereotypes in biographies are:
              What adjectives are women being described with? Are you using some commonly associated with the feminine, such as: sensitive, dedicated, affectionate?
              What adjectives are you describing men with? Are some commonly associated with the masculine being used, such as: strong, intrepid, providers?
              What activities do women and men of each profile carry out? Do they as well as they participate in all kinds of occupations and activities, whether productive or domestic and caregiving?

              2. The route map

              Step one
                  • Select Profiles

                Establish the range that the route will cover. Define a specific moment or situation in which the user interacts with the service or product, it is possible to create the route on the entire moment of interaction or on a particular section.

                Step two
                    • Define stages

                  Define in columns the stages within the route of use that has been selected previously. The stages that are commonly used are “Before”, “During” and “After” the use or interaction with the product or service. It is also possible to use more detailed stages or add sub-stages.

                  Step three
                      • Add categories

                    Add the categories. Each company can add or remove as many categories as they are useful, but the minimum advisable are the following:
                    Actions: narration of the detailed actions of the profile during the defined interaction.
                    Objectives: what the person wants to achieve at this stage.
                    Contact points: parts and branches of the product or service that are in contact with him and the user during the stage.
                    Emotions or satisfaction: understanding of how the profile feels at this point. It is advisable to capture emotions graphically.
                    Opportunities: potential discoveries and opportunities related to the information in each row and column.

                    In this step it is also essential that the team reflect on the gender approach, so that the actions, objectives, points of contact, emotions or satisfaction and opportunities are not described based on stereotyped ideas about the behaviors and attitudes that are considered appropriate. for women and men, but taking into account the real data obtained from social networks, staff experiences, observation of users, interviews, or other previous research methods.

                    Step four
                        • Examine the results obtained

                      Together with the team, examine the results obtained in the “opportunities” table for each profile and discuss whether these could be future areas for improvement applicable to the product.

                      Format suggestion for chart and table layout

                      Deetken Impact

                      Suite 500 – 210 West Broadway
                      Vancouver, BC V5Y 3W2

                      +1 (604) 731-4424 ext. 110


                      Pro Mujer

                      1129 Northern Blvd #404
                      Manhasset, NY 11030

                      +1 (646) 626-7000


                      This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.