Lens 3

Tool 9.

Role play

In the prototyping stage, ideas become reality and the function of the tool is to validate the ideas generated. Despite being presented as one of the last phases of the process of creating and developing a product, this can occur throughout the entire creation project in parallel with the empathy, definition and ideation phase.

The exercise of literally putting oneself in the role of the user and facing the problem together with the proposed solution is an excellent way of reflecting on gender roles, which will help to have a look that seeks to achieve equal opportunities and opportunities. deal between men and women.


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Tool 9.

Role play

Tool benefits

When you have a proposed solution to the chosen problem, it is imperative to prototype this proposal. This stage helps companies identify improvements in a proposed solution before launching it on the market. It is here that the ideas raised in the storyboard or other ideation tools become reality.

The tool chosen to prototype the product idea obeys the mission of this toolkit to develop products with a focus on gender equality. A tool of this type, more belonging to the performing arts, allows the last vestiges of gender stereotypes that may be taking shape in the solutions to be made visible.

This tool proposes a series of guides to create an inclusive innovation culture in your company, which fosters the empowerment of women, around the concept of diversity of thought and psychological safety, framed from the agile perspective.

There are multiple ways of prototyping ideas, for example, if it is a tangible product, the ideal would be to make a model or simulate the product in low resolution so that possible improvements can be identified internally. And if we are talking about a service, an excellent way is to have the user interaction map, also called the person’s understanding route, where the stages through which the user passes, the actions carried out in the user, will be identified. each one and with what emotions and thoughts it faces.

It is important to know that the prototype you choose to make will evolve throughout the process. It is the end for which it is created.

Many times it is perceived as a conquest of this prototyping phase to have the user interaction map or the physical product mockup, however, when creating, developing and designing with a gender perspective, these prototypes will not be enough to continue building empathy towards the user.

Design with a gender approach demands a greater level of empathy and knowledge about the differentiated situation of women and men, which must continue to be built in each phase.

For this, it will be necessary to carry out a representation of the solution, a role play or role playing, since failure to do so may lose opportunities for improvement, insights and findings that will only come to light after a tool like this and not just imagining the interactions or imagining the use of the products

Prototyping, ideation, and testing tools require constant feedback from other people. In particular, if you seek to work with a gender perspective, it will be advisable to convene the innovation and development committee. If you do not have one, you can build a team with equal participation of men and women, with the greatest variety of skills, preferably multidisciplinary, and that people are trained to identify stereotypes and advocate for gender equality throughout the process.


To learn more about the creation of the innovation and development committee and the use of information disaggregated by sex, visit tool 1. Creation and development of products with a gender perspective, located in this same lens. And to better understand the user experience, tool 3. Person’s path of understanding is recommended.

What do you need to put this tool into practice?

  • Have the product idea and all the information that helps to carry out the interpretations with the greatest possible fidelity. It is highly recommended to use information that has the results of men and women separately, so as not to lose sight of the wishes, interests and expectations of both groups or the interest group.
  • Define the roles. Assign each person on the team the role they will have in representing the solution. The roles to take into account can be:

The user.
The person with whom you interact as part of the solution (only in the case where the product includes the attention or participation of someone else).
The person in charge of recording and recording. A single person or more can perform this role. It will depend on the size of the team.

  • Recreate the scenarios in the most accurate way with components that seem real. As in the other tools, it is important to pay attention to the chosen scenarios and that these do not increase the inequality gap between women and men.
  • Actresses and actors must interact with the product or service.
  • You have to be very careful with the staging. Is it possible that stereotypes are being used about the way women or men behave? Are hero or alpha male personalities being used to represent a man? Is a woman’s voice being used to represent an electronic resource for assistance?
  • On this last point there are many myths that a woman’s voice is innately easier to understand. This is based on other myths that a higher voice register is easier to hear, or that they are easier to hear despite a noisy environment and many more.

To learn more about gender stereotypes regarding voice assistants, visit the following link with an article entitled "No, women's voices are not easier to understand than men's":

Being aware of this will help to iterate on the solution without adding biases that end up adding unnecessary components that reproduce gender stereotypes to the product or service. For example, representing a woman with body gestures exaggerating attributes of delicacy, contributes to continue forming the idea that women have to be perceived as delicate people, and for this reason, some products fall into common places when using pastel or pink colors for tangible products, or stereotypical motivations such as “always have a perfect makeup” when designing a service.

      • The team should be asked to express their ailments and joys in the most real way possible at each moment of interaction.
      • It is important to take turns to interpret the roles, you can define a garment that characterizes the user to be used by each member in their turn to interpret it. This will provide complementary ideas to the participants of the tool.
      • Have a device to record the session, it can be a cell phone or a camera.
      • The proposed duration is 120 minutes.

What to do during the session?


Do not lose sight of the objective and channel all efforts to achieve it. Pay close attention to what you have to look at.


Learning from experience should be the most important result of this tool. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers to feel their joys and sorrows.


Give a little more. Go one step further to find new opportunities, solution ideas and uses.

How to analyze the information?

      • Evaluate

    Examine if the solution is meeting some of the objectives of the design of products and services with a gender perspective:

    The product must not reproduce gender stereotypes.
    The product satisfies a need of women and girls that was previously not being met with any product or service on the market.
    The product contributes to the advancement of gender equality.

        • Choose

      Determine what improvements and opportunities can be reflected in the final model or final understanding map. It is important to determine the learnings and ideas that came out of this tool.

          • Iterate

        Repeat the process with the improvements made. Prototyping the new version is important before moving on to the last phase of testing with the end customers.

        It should not be assumed that the product or service is perfect after an improvement, the more times that improved role play is repeated, the closer the product will be to meeting the needs of the user and emotionally connecting with them.


        Tool 10. Usability test, available in this same lens, presents another test proposal in the prototyping stage

        You can also see this tool as a brainstorming projected using the body, it can be called bodystorming.

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        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.