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Day In The Life


Creative tools > Day In The Life

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it to explore the experiences of a customer or someone who will be using what you might be creating.

Use it for identifying opportunities, for example where people have a problem for which there is no current solution.

Use it to test ideas to see how they will be used in practice.



    X      Long



    X      Psychological



  X        Group


How to use it

Identify the target person or group

Identify whose life you are going to map out. This may be a single person or a generic class, such as 'customers'. When selecting a group, be as specific as you can, identifying a homogeneous group, so your map will be mostly true for most people.

Research them (if you can)

In many, but not all situations, it can be very helpful to do some research about the people in question. This can range from general research about who they are, what they do, the problems they experience and so on. You can also go directly to them with specific interviews or questionnaires. If you can do it, the best option can be to ask them for a description of their typical day. With a selection of 'typical days' you can then create an even more typical day...

Describe a typical day in their life

Write a narrative that describes their typical day. Divide it up into sections (or 'chapters'), such as getting up, going to work, having lunch, etc. You can make it more realistic by adding people's names and fictional detail.

This can be a day as experienced at the moment, perhaps with selections from a number of different interviews or situations. It can also be a day in the future, using a creative idea that you have produced.

The day can be written as a direct story-type narrative or may be a brief set of bullet-points.

You do not have to spend and equal amount of narrative space for equal amounts of time. It is often a good idea to focus into detail around particular areas of interest.


John gets out of bed when the alarm goes at 6am and stumbles to the bathroom to wash. Leaving in even more of a mess than he found it, he dresses in the dark of the bedroom where his wife is trying to stay asleep. He creeps downstairs and again leaves behind a trail of crumbs and and dirty plates as he grabs a breakfast of whatever is there before heading out of the door.

Later, Jean gets up with the alarm and cleans up after him as she follows a similar route. If only there was a way of him leaving the house cleanly and quietly...

How it works

Context is an important part of creating meaning. Putting the rest of life around experiencing a problem or using a solution enables a deeper understanding to be gained.

By seeing through the eyes of target people, it is easier to associate with their feelings and experiences and really understand their contextualized need and problems.

Story formats are often easier to understand than business reports. Story is a natural communication medium and hence 'make sense' in a more holistic way. When you can really see their problems, then this creates a more effective creative tension that you can use for generating effective solutions.

See also

Visioning, Guided Imagery



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