For the past several weeks, a large portion of discussion in our class has been based off of empathic design. Now it would be crazy to say that we know nothing about empathic design, but in a professional sense, we don’t. During all the design slams that we have all of the learning communities come up with some of the most incredible designs that you could think of, but could these feasibly be made? There were several design slam ideas that thought could have a real affect on people and their daily lives through the things that they struggle with. One of these was the No Ache Bake that helps people with Parkinsons disease to steady their hands in order to cook and bake and serve their human need of hunger. Another design slam idea was Trucolor, the colored film that could be marketed several ways to help people that are colorblind see colors more vividly and for what hue they really are. I believe that these are great ideas that could be implemented and created easily that could help people, but making these designs reach the professional and production level is very difficult. The next stop is to finding a way that allows empathic design to be produced at a mass market level and seen more prominently than it is now.
After researching, I found several articles that discuss the process of creating a product based off of empathic design. Much like what we are doing with our final project, we start with phase 1 which is empathize. It is learning about the audience and consumer which who you are designing for, in our case it is an elderly adult. There are multiple things that the elderly population might have problems with on a day-to-day basis ranging from simply standing up from a chair to not remembering where you are the every five minutes. Empathic design is greatly needed within the field of gerontology. The next phase of empathic design is defining what exactly you are designing. Defining the problem at hand is the first step to brainstorming a product which leads to phase three, ideate. Ideating is the step where designers come up with creative solutions to the problem using the definition of empathic design and creating a product that is useful and resourceful. This is the step that we reach in class with the design slam process. After the ideate phase, next comes prototypes. This is where the product is built several ways to present back to the consumer. Then next comes the testing phase where the prototypes are taken back to the user group and presented to see what works best and what can be improved. As we grow through our professions and gain knowledge, I hope that there will be multiple designers within this class that can create several of their designs and truly affect the world. That is the ultimate goal as a designer: to make the world a better place through design and we can do just that if we set our mind to it.