This week we learned about empathic design in a more personal way. At first, I was a little nervous that my design probes package would be one of the twelve randomly selected design probes chosen for the in class activity, but the results were fantastic. I really enjoyed hearing about and seeing what the group designed that was created specially for me and my needs. Not only was their design great but also it also made me realize how a few personal touches and thoughtful features makes a hug difference. When I was working with my group to design something for a person just based off of their design probes package, I had to change the way I think about design. Usually I think about the mass and not the individual. It was a light bulb moment where realized that empathic design is about making something with a purpose; something more than just to be worn, looked at, or sat on. We want our designs to mean something to the user, form some type of relationship with the user, solve a problem, and/or make life a little easier and more enjoyable. I think it’s time for designers to take a step back and look at their designs at more of a one on one level with their customers and/or potential customers.
Looking at all the LOLA presentations from this week, it only confirmed my realization. Whether it was design in a Boston Children’s Hospital, for those who are transgender, struggling with dementia, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, or architecture for the blind and handicapped, they all focused on the personal needs of their consumers on a deeper level. I could clearly see that each of those design had an important impact on the users.