Hacktivity: Empathy Interview

Human-centered design means starting with people, first! By interviewing, you get a chance to get close to people and hear directly from them, in their own words. Interviews are at the heart of the Discover phase!


  • Ask why. Then ask it again (and again).
  • Solicit stories. “Tell me the last time you...”  
  • Stay neutral. Avoid offering up too much of your own perspective.
  • Sit with the silence.  Sometimes it takes a while to answer a tough question.
  • TAKE PHOTOS. With permission, take some photos to help others learn from your experience.
  • CAPTURE DIRECT QUOTES.  Help share what you heard - capture direct quotes.


  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain the purpose of the interview
  • Build Rapport
  • Solicit stories
  • Pull back
  • [optional] Take photos: portrait, artifact, environment
  • Thank you


  1. Identify a student, parents, colleague or community member you’d like to interview.
  2. Coordinate a time.
  3. Map out your questions ahead of time
  4. Share back in The Discover phase afterwards!

You can print off this Hacktivity here!  

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