When I think of Empathic Design I think of empathy first. Empathy is feeling sorry for someone else, so when thinking of designing empathically, you design with the environment in mind. Empathy-driven designing is designing with meanings, experiences, social interactions, culture, values, and emotions. Empathetic design is key to helping the environment because we would not focus on efficiency and making money, but rather on how we are making the environment “feel.” Paul Bennett is a creative director at Ideo and his TEDTalk was all about how we need to focus in on more of the little things in life because they are often over looked. I thought this was interesting because people really do focus on the huge money making ideas rather than focusing on the little details, which causes us to ignore the little important things.
My oldest and most important item that I own is probably the scrap book that my grandma made me. It has all the pictures from when I was young. The reason why it is so valuable to me is because it has pictures of all of my family members, including the ones that past away. I would be so devastated to lose a book full of memories and love.
I talked to my grandma on the phone and asked her about some of the challenges she faces. My grandparents are retired and love to travel so over the past few years they have started driving a lot in order to go to new places in the USA. She said that she loves traveling and car rides but her lower back and butt are starting to hurt her from sitting so much. When looking at this problem my grandma experiences I would assume the cause to this problem is a combination of her being old and for sitting in the car for long periods of time and so often. When fixing this problem empathically, I would step into my grandma shoes and understand where the pain is and how it hurts. Then I would design a cushion, kind of like a mattress pad, that would go over the car seat to help make it more comfortable for her. I think empathetic design is the key to designing something that will truly help the person you’re designing for.