Empathetic Design – Blog 7

We continued our discussion over empathetic design this week. As a designer I learned one of the most important aspects of empathetic design is gaining knowledge and insight from personal experiences. In the article “A framework for empathy in design: stepping into and out of the user’s life,” the writers Kouprie and Visser discuss the importance of a number of tools and techniques aiming to support designers to ‘step into the user’s shoes.’ I believe first-hand experience is the most affective way for a designer to begin the empathic process, it’s so important to attempt to get closer to the lives and experiences of potential users. Other important ways in order to gain empathetic insight is being able to identify with other people’s thoughts and feelings, direct and personal engagement with users, as well as discussion teams. All of these techniques lead to an increased understanding. If all designers could think in terms of empathetic design, there could potentially be a whole new generation of products as well as spaces. This type of understanding advances our minds, well-being, and potentially our way of life due to it’s deep impact.

We also discussed the emotional attachments we as human beings have with certain products. This week in class we were to capture a digital image of a product that we shared an emotional relationship with. From photographs of dogs to scarves, there was a big variety of products. This helped me understand the different perceptions and emotional responses everyone in our society possesses. The simplest product details from color and smell to different cultures or memorable experiences with their significant item, the details are what created the emotional connection. By understanding everyone’s individual connection to their product I was able to empathize with them. I thought this was a very helpful exercise in order to see how the empathetic design process works.

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