Study in user experience design states that there is a considerable gap between users and designers. Collaborative design and empathetic design methods attempt to make a strong relationship between these two. In participatory design activities, projective `make tools' are required for users to show their thoughts. This research is designed to apply an empathetic way of using `make tools' in user experience design for websites clients, users, and designers.
A magnetic wireframe tool has been used as a `make tool', and a sample project has been defined in order to see how the tool can create empathy among stakeholders. In this study fourth year graphic design students at Arizona State University (ASU), USA, are participating as users, faculty members have the role of clients, and Forty, Inc., a design firm in the Phoenix area, is the design team for the study. All of these three groups are cooperating on re-designing the homepage of the Design School in Herberger Institute for Design and Art (HIDA) at ASU.
A method for applying the magnetic tool was designed and used for each group. Results of users and clients' activities were shared with the design team, and they designed a final prototype for the wireframe of the sample project. Observation and interviews were done to see how participants work with the tool. Also, follow up questionnaires were used in order to evaluate all groups' experiences with the magnetic wireframe. Lastly, as a part of questionnaires, a sentence completion method has been used in order to collect the participants' exact thoughts about the magnetic tool.
Observations and results of data analysis in this research show that the tool was a helpful `make tool' for users and clients. They could talk about their ideas and also designers could learn more about people. The entire series of activities caused an empathetic relationship among stakeholders of the sample project. This method of using `make tools' in user experience design for web sites can be useful for collaborative UX design activities and further research in user experience design with empathy.