Do you ever try to think of a million dollar idea? This weeks class made me remember all the times in the past I thought of something that would be useful and thought if I could just create it I would become a millionaire! Well, it could possibly happen with empathic design!
This week’s lessons in class were about empathic design. I had never heard of such a term but realized the importance of it this week. Empathic design is putting yourself in the consumers shoes. I feel all designers do this at least a little bit in their practice because they are trying to make clients happy. But what I didn’t realize was that the consumers won’t tell you everything they want, and sometimes they don’t know what they want. I think that is the most important thing I learned this week, that empathic design allows designers to come up with products and solutions that consumers don’t know they want or need. The video we watched in class gave a good example of the hospital. The people in charge of the hospital didn’t know that ceiling decoration would be a good thing until they were put in the patients shoes and forced to stare at the ceiling all day. This also got me thinking further about the statement that empathic design research methods can allow the designer to see certain things that the consumer won’t tell you. We were given an example in class to come up with empathic research strategies for a clothing line being developed for aging women. My first instinct is to obviously ask the women what they want to see in clothing. But after learning about empathic design I realized they might not be so candid with younger woman as they would with older women because they might not think we would be empathetic and understand what they are going through because we have not gone through it ourselves. So I realized if we were to do interviews for example, we may want the interviewer to be an aging woman. Or another affective strategy would be to actually wear their clothing to see what works and doesn’t work. Using these strategies could really help in coming up with some creative solutions because you can experience it yourself and really understand what it is like.
The reading by Sorrento gave good examples of empathic design in interiors. One thing that stuck out to me most was their use of sensors in the rooms. These sensors were able to control the lighting and air in the room. I personally don’t like to leave lights on in rooms I am not in but I also don’t like constantly having to turn them on and off. So I find their use of sensors and great empathic solution in their office design. They also studied the sun to get the maximum amount of natural light inside. In my designs I always try to incorporate a lot of windows because I love natural light, but lots of windows can make a room cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I love having windows without shades but I also want to stay warm in the winter without using more energy to heat the house. I would like to learn more about this problem and possible solutions to this obstacle.