What is empathy? Well the definition according to Merriam-Webster is: “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.”
Empathy/empathetic design was a theme for the week. It is amazing how empathetic design has improved our daily lives. We watched a Ted talk and I was impressed to find out that things we use in our daily lives have been created due to empathetic design. I consider empathetic design to be a form of problem solving. During the Ted talk I learned what products have sprung to the marketplace and industrial world from empathetic design. Burs being stuck on socks and fur of hunting dogs after a day of hunting led to the creation of Velcro. Cranes used to load ships were designed to cut down loading time. I am amazed and found my self-wondering about empathetic designs in my daily life and what I could create to improve our daily lives…. Still working on the ideas but they will come soon.
I also listened to the hospital room situation and how they started using empathetic design in hospitals. I actually completely understand this considering they started doing that in Minnesota hospitals when I lived up there. They painted hospital rooms to brighten the mood but also to create something appealing for the patient to look at. Now that I am reflecting on empathetic design I can’t help but think about the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. On that show they utilized empathetic design for their clients by building homes that matched their needs but also enhanced their lives. This included elevators in the home, wide doorways, special technology, low counter tops, etc. It is amazing to me how empathetic design can enhance lives, even in just the simplest of ways.
We also wrapped up biomimicry this week when it comes to design. Coming from the fashion side of the class, learning about the honeycomb inspiration in designing football pads and helmets I found interesting. The honeycomb design transfers applications, but it d makes so much sense considering the cohesiveness of honeycombs and the balance of the structure would work as the inspiration for protection when it comes to contact sports. I really think we need to use biomimicry more when it comes to uniforms and padding in contact sports. We have the science, design, and technology to create safer and more protective gear for these sports so why don’t we make it?
All in all I was really enticed by learning about empathetic design and using it to solve problems and enhance lives. I think empathetic design is extremely important so I would really love to learn more about it.