Blog Post 7- Empathetic Design

Empathic design is a very interesting concept to me. It touches on important aspects in order to become a sustainable, eco-friendly, yet socially conscious brand, company, and/or individual. I believe this is a complicated process to properly achieve for most companies as there are many layers and differences in opinion for many different controversial issues. This type of design in my opinion can be more successful when a brand or company is creating a product for a very segmented target market, such as in the articles that talked about designing particular things for people with dementia and disabilities. During class we had a class discussion and article to read over the prototype of a redesign of a grocery store that was more disability friendly for elderly adults. The article had an interesting concept, however me and my group felt like there are different approaches to meeting these needs such as the encouragement of online shopping and delivery to the front door of these people’s houses.

Paul Bennett had an informative talk about different ways to make emphatic designs. One such way that I found interesting was suggesting a simple change in hospital beds that allow the patients to feel more comfortable while being there. The hospital took his advice and made the rooms more interactive and interesting for their patients who have to lie in bed all day. I thought it was cool that they made a wall for people to draw on. It was also interesting to create a wheel chair that had a mirror enabled to it in order for the nurses to communicate with their patients more efficiently.

I thought the oldest item refection was interesting because of the different stories that my classmates had. My item was a Nintendo 64, to me that gaming console was the first one I have ever had and me and my siblings would gather around it when we were younger and play it throughout the night. From that point on gaming was always something we had done together, so it still holds a lot of memories that I treasure.

With the discussion with an older individual I talked with my grandparents. My grandparents are pretty healthy and active, even at the age of 72 and 76, but they still encounter some difficulties such as going down steep stairs, reaching up to grab items on upper shelves, and problems with balance. My grandpa has one leg that is shorter than the others so he has a slight limp in his step which makes moving around a little harder on his hips. One empathic solution I gave them was to think about investing in pull-down bar for their closets and other storage areas so they can just pull a string and the bar will come down to a comfortable level. This will reduce the need to reach up high and protect them from strain.

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