This week in class we did an activity where we had to bring pictures of our oldest and favorite object or clothe that we owned. It was really revealing and idiosyncratic to see how people get attached to objects and all the reasons behind it. We realized that in general emotional value and quality were one of the most important aspects. However I realized that compare to my other classmates, my two objects, the old and the favorite, had an emotional value behind it, so I started actually to think deeper about it. I came to the assumption that all my clothes and even objects that I consider my favorite have an emotional value for me and I feel attached to them in some way. Thus, I could say that I’m the proof that empathic design is extremely important and it can have an extremely huge impact on users and how they act towards it.
Related to this topic, in the reading: I love this dress, it makes me feel beautiful! Empathic knowledge in sustainable design by Niinimäki and Koskinen, they proposed some strategies such us DIY and co-design that showed that if you are involved in the design in some way it has more sentimental value and people may probably get more attached to it and be more sustainable about future consumption. The drawback that my group saw here was that this practice is really individualized and particularized so it could only be done in small boutiques and the price would be higher as well. We came then with one idea that larger companies could implement practices such us “payback” programs where you could bring your old clothes back and get a discount on the new purchase, it would help the consumption setting a more sustainable mindset on it, since your are giving a second life to the clothes you had at the end of your closet.
Furthermore, we thought that the companies could even propose a website format to see what other people have done with old products of the brand, it could foster creativity and revival of objects that you didn’t want to give away but weren’t being used either.
In one of the research that Dr. Armstrong worked on, they came to the conclusion that it is not necessarily true that the more emotionally attached you are to something, the longer you keep it. It was curious to me to learn that, since I do keep almost everything. I don’t like to throw away any of the things I have, I used to do it since I was a little girl and my mom had to sneak into my room and take some of the too many toys I had and take them away to make more room. These researches and conclusions have been really thought-provoking for me, since I realized that I keep a lot of my clothes that I don’t even use anymore, I refuse to throw them away or give them away. However I keep buying new stuff. So the meaning that all my things have to me doesn’t change my consumption. Especially with clothes, I have the mindset of not throwing anything away since the fashionable items tend to be trends again in a couple of years. I guess I should learn how to be more sustainable in that sense.
This idea relates to one of the thoughts that I had in the blog of last week, where I realized that even if I thought that I followed sustainable practices, there are several aspects in which I could improve. So in my experience, I agree that emotional attachment is not the panacea for sustainability, but I must say that the research on empathic approach in design is extremely important. People like to see themselves reflected in the products they purchase and they choose, it kind of shows their style and originality and what made them different to the others.
In one of the other reading of the week User Experience in Product Desing, Mättelmäki proposed design probes as a source of inspiration for designers and a better approach to users. The designers are able to process own ideas and understanding of places and people and these probes serve as an explanation of how the users see things in their life. The result doesn’t provide a design solution, but created an empathic understanding of users. After doing my Design Probe I realized again, that all the pictures of objects or even activities that I included had some sentimental value behind as well. It was actually really interesting as well to keep attention on things that I had never thought before about myself, basic things such as what were my favorite things, I spend time looking around my room and deciding which one were mine.
In my opinion, this practice is really smart and could be very successful, because it makes the users be part of design so the final product would be more personalized. Furthermore, the use of the nowadays technology could improve this practice considerably. A good idea would be phone app where you can work on your design probe and it could give you notifications as reminders and make it more interactive. One of the problems that I had while doing the probe is that sometimes I forgot to take pictures or write about my activities, so it would have been perfect to have such an app, because I have always my phone with me, so I would have been really useful.