In my opinion, emphatic design is being able to design for others by stepping into other person’s shoes. Being able to design according to their specific needs and fits into their lifestyle, that is the idea of emphatic design. As a designer, the design thinking process is really important because we are not only focus on the creative and aesthetic part of the design but we also focus on the main users or target groups.
The idea of body storming is the idea of putting yourself into somebody else’s shoes as well. You move around and becoming more aware of the physical spaces and experiences related to your solutions. The willingness of a designer to understand their clients will determine the degree level of empathy he or she achieves through their design. Designers have to be aware that the process involves a combination of affective resonance and cognitive reasoning regarding the user’s life can enhance empathy. A process of empathy in design practice needs a lot of time, which means it, will require some patients for you to truly understand and being able to empathize and analyze what design will create the best solutions.
I think Paul Bennett’s talk was really inspiring, for example, he talked about how he wanted to know what kind of design will create a better environment for the patients in the hospital. So, after some small discussion and observation, he realized that most patients can’t do much in a hospital and what they do most was lying on their bed in the hospital. So, he thought about having maybe better design idea on the ceiling of the patient’s room that will help reducing their pain, because that is what most seen by the patients staying in the hospital. Basically, what he was trying to express is instead of thinking about what will be some good design solution, you actually go and use the actual space that the person you design for are going to use, and through analyzing and interpreting what should be improve then you come up with a more effective design solution.
I interview my friends’ aunt who is already in their 60 years old; they are having hard time bending over to pick up stuff from the floor, so I recommend them to buy a stick that they can pick up stuff without bending over.