Empathic or Traffic Blog 7

Empathic Design is a new unique design that is becoming more popular as it grows and professionals research more about it. This type of design is what can transform our future. It shows the public that as we design buildings, surroundings and the environment that we create, we keep in mind the idea that there are people with various abilities. Empathic design is a new phenomenon to me that has intrigued me. It takes a lot to be able to design to people who particular abilities that do not always match the rest of society. There are thousands of rules that are in place for designing for these abilities and lack of; however, sometimes these rules make it difficult to really make someone feel at home or comfortable in an environment. There was one item that really grasped my attention which was about the differences between market-based design and empathic design.

Market-based design is driven by price, materials, aesthetics, and performance while empathic design is based off of meanings, experiences, emotions, values and social interactions. Many designs today, both apparel and interior design, are market-driven. Interiors have expensive materials that make up their structure and fabrics that drape in front of their windows and over furniture while apparel has expensive materials that make up a purse, sunglasses and clothing. Society loves having expensive belongings that they will pay thousands of dollars for. Granted these materials do tend to hold up longer and look nicer. These are the things that make our society materialistic and hungry for luxurious things in life. Everyone sees that lines on Black Friday or the rush of Christmas shopping the week before. The traffic of the people crowded in 350 square foot stores with lines wrapping in and out of clothing racks or the traffic of cars waiting for parking at a Best Buy parking lot. With empathic design, the world take a step back to see the finer things in life as being the things that you don’t necessarily need, but want.  The traffic and rush of those crowds would decrease if we  could design for those situations in which people with handicaps have separate lines and dressing rooms where there isn’t clutter and claustrophobia. Taking the stress out of that holiday shopping and everyday life challenges would be designing with empathy to those with disabilities we cannot see and to those we can. There are various factors that differentiate market-driven design and empathic design, and as much as I would like to say I design empathetically, I don’t. It is difficult to raise someone in society to think that way when everyone else is materialistic and raised to want that new Iphad or Iphone, or get that brand new $500 Kate Spade purse. We can only hope that one day we can all be empathic and then maybe there would be less traffic in our lives.

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