Role Playing Mock-up Part 1 and 2

Kate prototyping my workshop activities

Last week, I tested the first version of my concept with Glenda and Rachel and presented a second version in class. This week I iterated on it again and tested with Kate. I’m planning to iterate this idea again and pilot with my target audience on Tuesday.

The idea:

A platform that provides tools and guidelines to help people organize group discussions and facilitate conversations between residents and small business owners with the goal of bringing awareness to the gentrification issue in their neighborhoods. This website would give the opportunity for residents and small business owners to brainstorm ideas together and exchange resources to help local businesses to thrive.

How it works:

A website would provide these tools:

  • Tips on how to start your own event at a local community specific to small business owners’ issues.
  • How to do outreach
  • How to organize an event
  • How to facilitate conversations
  • Icebreaker tips
  • Templates of print collaterals for your event.

Any small business owner, could follow the tips and download templates from this website and start an event to gather local owners and community together to share resources and issues and brainstorm ideas.

Role-playing Part 1

Paper prototype of invitation

A business owner would start by talking to other owners to get their help to create an event for their local community. They would then customize the print collateral templates for the event. Owners would invite their locals to go this event with the use of printed posters and invitations.


The business owners could select a location near them like a school or a park, or one of their local restaurants to host the event.


Glenda and Rachel suggested that the event should provide food and drinks to entice locals to come and share ideas.


At the day of the event, to spark conversations, people would receive name tags with questions, like: “What’s your favorite local business?,” for residents and “What inspired you to open your business?” for owners. 
During this event, owners would be sharing their issues with locals in casual conversations.

Tabletop with a problem/question from owner


Glenda and Rachel felt that this feedback should have more structure, so maybe owners should write specific prompts on areas they need help or advice with, placed on tables where people could write comments and ideas and place inside of a box.
Box for residents to place their responses to the problem/question from the owner.

Feedback from class:

• It wasn’t clear to them who was organizing the event.
• Ideas could get lost by being placed in a box, maybe require adding contact info.
• How to help owners to understand (categorize) the solution and ideas better?
• Should the event be a bonding activity rather than sharing resources?
• Think about ways to have businesses know about this website.

Role-playing Part 2

Based on class feedback, I decided to give more structure to these interactions and start with a smaller event rather than something big. Also instead of resource sharing, it is more about owners sharing their challenges to locals and other owners, and together they brainstorm ideas or just start the conversation. I tested this third version with Kate.

Location of the event

I decided the ideal place for these gatherings to happen could be at a local coffee shop because after speaking with local owners in my block, I discovered that most of them always grab a coffee there and actually know the owner. 
I spoke with the coffee shop owner, which I also already knew from going there almost every day, and I asked if I could host my event there. Luckily he liked the idea and said yes.

If you are interested in joining or just merely supporting my event, please email me at I really need more volunteers!

Event details:

Tuesday, October 9
Merri Weather


I designed invitations of the event and distributed around my neighborhood, and gave extra flyers to local businesses owners to share with their customers too.

Invitation at the counter of Merriweather

Workshop activities

For this event to work, someone has to be the facilitator. I will be the facilitator for this first pilot. Here are the prompts and activities:


I start by people introducing myself and explaining the workshop, show the agenda and ask others to introduce themselves.

Activity 1: Business Owners Challenges

Question to owners, cards with insights from owners, and post-its with Kate’s responses of activity 1
  1. Show print out of these questions: 
    Owners: “What are the main challenges you are facing in your business or do you think other businesses are facing?” 
    Locals: “How do you feel when a business closes in your neighborhood? What do you think are the reasons for businesses closing?”
  2. Ask them to write challenges on post-its and then share to the group.
  3. Then to facilitate people that are not designers to think of stuff to write I created cards with my insights from user research.
Question to locals and cards with quotes from people.


Kate said that writing that “businesses closing” might assume that the businesses are actually closing, so instead I combined both questions to one question for both locals and owners to answer:

“What are the main challenges you are facing in your business or do you think our local business are facing?”

Kate suggested that I didn’t need to read all the text of the cards and just briefly speak about them, also to cut the copy of some of them, so people have time to read them.

Activity 2: Brainstorm Ideas

Question, cards with insights from owners, and post-its with Kate’s responses of activity 2
  1. Show a print-out of this prompt: “Write down on post-its ideas that could help some of these challenges.”
  2. And again, ask them to write ideas on post-its and share to the group.
  3. To facilitate people to write ideas I also created cards of success stories from my research.


Kate also suggested to group these post-its on the wall based on their categories. And in the end ask participants this question to inspire some call to action:

“Are there are any ideas you would apply to some of your challenges?”