Empathic Design

When one door closes another door opens. Every lesson you learn prepares you for what you are going to face in the future. This week we shifted from learning about biomimicry to opening our eyes to empathic design. As we wrapped up our talk about biomimicry I realized I will be forever impacted by this class. Every decision I make when opening my own boutique will keep nature in mind.

I remember a lot about empathic design from taking problem solving. I am interested to see how much deeper my knowledge will be after this class.

We learned about techniques that you could use when trying to achieve an empathic design. Empathic Design is putting oneself in someone else’s shoes and designing something that helps make their life better. It is necessary to obtain direct contact with someone in order to understand exactly who he or she is and what they need. I believe the person’s back-story is just as important as what is going on in their life currently. It is also important to understand how the five senses impact that person’s life. When discovering whom you are designing for it is important to understand what senses he or she is most affected by. Empathy driven design focuses on the users values, experience, culture, and needs.

Patricia moore dedicated her life to empathy by making herself into an old lady and going through life walking in the elderly’s shoes, literally. I am reading a book for another class called nickel and dimed and the author sold her home and nice car and went and got low paying jobs and low housing to see how they were treated as employees and if they got paid enough to make ends meet. It is very interesting to gain second hand insight through reading this book.

How is empathic design related to sustainability? It could be putting our feet in our great great grandchildren’s shoes and designing something that doesn’t negatively impact the world they are going to live in. Also, by designing something that people connect with deeply, they will keep it longer. I have a blanket that my grammy made me when I was born. She had no way of knowing that touch would be the sense I am most stimulated by but because she made a blanket that I connected with emotionally I still use it today.

This week we did the design probe package. I took pictures that documented two different 24-hour periods. It was interesting to see on paper how I spent my time and the things that were important to me. I think this is a good approach to figuring out who someone is and what challenges they face. I also think that watching someone more that just one day is important. I usually wear workout clothes but Friday I had an interview so I dressed up. If you only looked at Friday you might get a false representation of who I am. Following up with an interview after seeing pictures is a way you could dive deeper.

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