Empa-What?

After reading the article about empathic design I was completely confused about what empathic design was. It was a very complex reading. But when we began our class discussion over the subject it made much more sense. My epiphany about the concept of empathic design happened when we were shown the image of the designer (I can’t remember her name) that would dress up in costumes and put herself in the shoes of those consumers in which she was going to be targeting. The image we saw was one of her dressed as an elderly woman and using a walker. At this point, it was really made clear to me in a dramatic way what empathic design was about. The reading was confusing to me, however once we discussed, as a class, what some of the terms of the text meant, such as interpreter and legislator, it all made much more sense.

When we first started the assignment of building a tower with spaghetti and tape, I was not thrilled. I did not want to be one that had to go outside to perform the activity and I honestly felt that it was a waste a time and didn’t understand what the purpose of the activity really was. But, when we came back inside and talked about all of the obstacles and positives and negatives of being a part of the different groups that were inside and those that were outside, I better understood the purpose of the assignment. It was helpful to see how different situations and circumstances can affect the outcome of a product. I believe that this activity really helped to illustrate the usefulness and relevance of empathic design. It was a good visual and hands on example of how important and/or effective it is to “put yourself in another’s shoes” when designing some products.

Now that I better understand the meaning of empathic design, I would like to see more direct examples of empathic design. It was helpful to see the image of the designer dressed as an elderly person and it would help me to see more things like this. It is difficult for me to come up with examples of this type of design on my own.

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