Blog 7

Instead of designers focusing on creating products for consumers needs based on low prices, empathetic design thinks about the overall impact a design will have on society. In other words, it’s designing for a deeper purpose and meaning instead of the surface level use. Empathetic design deals with designers creating products based off of how it will emotionally impact a consumer.  It’s the idea of looking from an inside perspective out instead of designing from the outside perspective looking in.

In Paul Bennett’s Ted Talk, Design is in the Details, he talks about the importance we have to reframe from the ordinary by putting ourselves in other people shoes and creating designs around the empathetic design concept. From a designer stand point, it is vital to look at things from the users point of view instead of ones own personal opinion or set of eyes. He applied this concept by putting himself in the shoes of hospital patients and evaluating their experience laying in a hospital bed. What he found was that they stare at the bland ceiling with nothing exciting and stimulating to look at. Empathetic design is about designing tiny things that can make a huge difference. Examples of this in his hospital experiment would be creating the following: Interaction through mirrors on the wheelchairs, ceiling decorations to stare at, changing floor going into patient’s room (public-private space), white boards for messages of encouragement. Use the world around us to create solutions, drawing from other human experiences.

This week we were asked to bring our oldest item with emotional attachment meaning to class in which I forgot to bring but described and talked about. The item I chose was a gold rose shaped ring with a diamond in the middle that was passed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. When thinking back about items I own with significant emotional meaning to them, they aren’t necessarily my oldest items but rather little memorabilia from life events and memories.

Last semester in product development we had to come up with an assortment plan that would meet the needs for problems older individuals are facing. We had the opportunity to interview older individuals, test out a gert suit (which allowed us to feel what aging is like on one’s body), and research new product designs in the industry that would help meet these needs. After interviewing older individuals and testing out the gert suit first hand, I found that major problems the aging individual is facing, deals with sight (including lighting issues in their everyday life, ex. Closets) and the ability to bend down or reach for things. A product design that one group came up with in which was the most empathetic solution I can remember was creating different types of attachable/ simple LED lights that older individuals could purchase based on the four most common vision loss diseases.

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