MiHyun Kim, Texas State University


Design as a professional discipline has undergone a tremendous evolution in the last generation from a practice focused mainly on aesthetic style to one with a clear and explicit focus on the “user” (aka: person or group of people who use a product or service) and their hopes, desires, challenges, and needs.

By establishing empathy with the user, designers are able to work toward outcomes that meet those needs more successfully. This user-centered approach known as “design thinking” enables designers and others to address a wide range of complex business and social issues.

Nowadays, design is measured by how well it fulfills our users’ need. When we shift the conversation from one about features and functions to one about users and user outcomes, we deliver more useful, usable, and desirable solutions. By doing so, more importantly, the design earns the trust, respect and repeat from the users.

This poster contains hands-on activities for practicing collaboration and putting the user at the center of our design projects. There are 5 activities; 1) hope and fears 2) stakeholder map 3) empathy map 4) scenario map 5) prioritization grid. This poster explains each activity by establishing the design thinking framework, understand your user’s problems and motivation, explore new concepts, prototype designs and evaluate.

  1. Hopes and fears: 10-15minutes
    This activity helps you get to know each other, expose aspirations and concerns and prepare everyone to start
  2. Stakeholder map: 20-30minutes
    This activity helps you identify project “stakeholders”, their expectations and relationships. “Stakeholders” can include teams, team roles, project leads, executives, partners, customers and end users.
  3. Empathy map: 30-45minutes
    Empathy maps helps to rapidly put your team in the user’s shoes and align on pains and gains
  4. Scenario map(As-is/To-be): 25-40minutes
    As-is Scenario Maps help to document collective understanding of user workflows and are best used as processors to exploring new ideas. To-be Scenario Maps tell the story of a better experience for your user.
  5. Prioritization grid: 25-40minutes
    This activity helps your team evaluate and prioritize them by focusing discussion on importance and feasibility.

MiHyun Kim holds MFA from University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and she currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. As a graphic designer, artist, educator and maker, she has always been interested in the relationships between binary pairs; Eastern and Western, Art and Eesign, and You and I. The in-between spaces are often hidden, secretive and few people pay much attention to them. For the past 10 years She has been teaching Graphic Design, specializing in typography, web typography, interactive design. Currently, she is teaching at Texas State University as an Assistant Professor of Interactive Design within the School of Art and Design.


IBM Design Thinking: https://www.ibm.com/design/