How often can you have problems trying find the perfect garment? Everyone has run into this problem in someway at sometime. Not only does body shape play huge part into finding the perfect garment but so does price, aesthetics and how that garment makes you feel when you are wearing it.
Empathetic design is an imaginative projection into another persons situation. By doing so, you attempt to capture the emotional and motivational qualities to help you solve the problem at hand. Over Christmas break I was presented with a problem. My uncle was unable to find a fleece vest that fit every qualification he was looking for. Little did he know that I was also having the same problem. Being the crafty person I am, I accepted the challenge of making one for him and myself. Before attempting to do so I had to understand how he viewed quality, his ideas of functionality as well as how he values his clothing. I had to make sure I translated the idea of his “perfect vest” by putting myself in his shoes. By doing so, I went looking and shopping around to look at the different types of vests so I knew exactly what to do and not to do when making his vest. One of the biggest reasons for doing excess research was to make sure that I even understood other ideas on how to construct the vest that he may not have even thought of told me about. This made me a legislator designer because I was an “expert” in the field while he was not.
We create meanings for an object by creating meanings by acting, thinking and discussing the issues and desires for a product. If I had not gathered information from my uncle about his “perfect” vest I would have been blinded and created a garment that gave him no value, leaving him in his original position, without a vest. I would not have been able to understand his vest problem without empathizing with his continual search for the “perfect” vest.
I had no epiphany this week, but rather a better understanding of the design phases starting with the fuzzy phase. We must have a problem before we can solve one. Without having empathy we are unable to enhance human well being. Knowing what I know now, no one is perfect and no one is ever completely complacent. In every aspect of our life we are always looking for change.