This week’s topic about empathic design has opened my eyes a little wider to the different approaches towards sustainability. I find that it is a topic that is rarely fully thought about and comes across as a fleeting subject to most. Initially, it did for me at least.
From a general point of view, empathic design is an approach that should be embraced thoughtfully, but somewhat casually, in order to have a sound impact. The phases discussed on how empathy is integrated into design got a little caught up in its own process from my point of view. I suppose it all depends on the user you are designing for and how structured they are and desire things to be. Personally, I feel that empathic design is more impactful when it happens fluidly and intuitively.
Reading Niinimaki and Koskinen’s article resonated a lot with me as I connected with the nostalgia triggered from “special” articles of clothing. As we all have held onto garments for specific reasons, it is mainly because we have a special memory tied to it. Possibly, the articles of clothing I have held onto for some special reason have, in turn, triggered me to want to look past fast fashion and buy for quality and craftsmanship. At my age now, I find it difficult to spend time shopping for lower quality items – I feel that it is wasting my time. In the long run, that lower quality item will not be around for me to enjoy so all that time spent shopping for a low quality item is wasted. So, I think it isn’t just about solely creating a relationship between user and those special items in our closets, but to change our pace and use our time “sustainably” that lead up to purchasing those special items that will last for years. I think that if designers can encapsulate this whole process, then consumers and designers will be on a brightened track. When a designer captures my attention with quality and creativity, they have also captured a little piece of my heart and I will appreciate it that much more.