Prep Time:
Time to run:
1-3 hours

Walk-a-mile immersion template

A way of building empathy for people through firsthand experience

Courtesy of our friends at

Use this template to build empathy with users so that your proposed solutions address their wants and needs from an informed perspective.

If you can begin to understand people’s experience and motivations, you will better understand their needs. The walk-a-mile immersion exercise encourages you to immerse yourself in the world of your users — whether that means donning the equipment someone uses and performing a task, artificially altering one or more of your senses, foregoing (or perhaps experiencing) some of life’s luxuries, or even living among people of a different society.

The walk-a-mile immersion template helps you:

  • Empathize with people whose experiences are different from your own
  • Make better-informed decisions
  • Craft solutions that more accurately reflect the needs of your users

How to use the walk-a-mile template

To get the most out of the walk-a-mile immersion template, follow the steps outlined below.

1. Outline the goal

The first step is to have a strong enough idea of the problem you’re trying to solve with your investigation that you can sum it up in a phrase, or 1-2 sentences. Make sure everyone on your team is aligned and has the appropriate context before you begin.

2. Plan the investigation

Your investigation will need to consider at least six variables to give a holistic impression of user experience and foster a better understanding of user needs:

  • Whose experience do you want to replicate?
  • What tasks and activities will you perform?
  • What is needed to run a simulation?
  • What’s the best location to do the simulation?
  • What levels of access or permissions are needed?
  • What materials and tools are needed to capture what you see?

Use this section of the template to plan for each of the above, with color-coded sticky notes.

3. Begin your walk-a-mile immersion

Once you have a good sense of the variables and have thought through things like access and permissions, it’s time to begin your simulation. Use the template sections to assign a primary and secondary notetaker, record the date, time, and location, and capture all your notes and feedback from the experience.

4. Curate and analyze your key takeaways

Having run your simulation, it’s now time to collect and analyze your key takeaways from the experience. Look for things that challenged your assumptions, or themes that emerged during your experiment, and collect them into groups using color-coding and tags for sticky notes where appropriate.

Tips for running a walk-a-mile immersion template exercise

To run a successful walk-a-mile immersion workshop, you should:

  • Develop a clear goal and persona that you’re trying to understand and empathize with, so that your immersive experience is as accurate as possible
  • Use sticky notes, images, GIFs, or even video to help capture the experience in a holistic way
  • Analyze your feedback and use it to directly inform action items, which can be developed in the same mural and shared for transparency and alignment

How to create a Walk-a-mile immersion template

Mural makes it easy to capture and analyze feedback, so you can turn research into action

Mural’s unique features and tools make it easy to structure your research, collect data, and analyze the results so that your team can iterate faster.
Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.

Icons, GIFs, & images

Icons, GIFs, & images

Express complex ideas visually or lead an engaging team-building activity with Noun Project, GIPHY, and Unsplash integrations.

Flexible permissions

Flexible permissions

Control access to collaboration features with view-only, edit, and facilitator settings.



Add comments and tag collaborators for smooth asynchronous communication.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Tags on sticky notes

Tags on sticky notes

Customizable labels make it easy to find, organize, and categorize your work in a mural.

Walk-a-mile immersion template frequently asked questions

What is meant by walk-a-mile immersion?

What are the benefits of a walk-a-mile immersion exercise?

LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.

Mural and LUMA System Logo Lockup

Mural is the only platform that offers both a shared workspace and training on the LUMA System™, a practical way to collaborate that anyone can learn and apply.