Empathic Design

This week was pretty relaxed in class. We started off the week creating a Business Canvas Model within our learning communities. When my group began, we were a little bit stuck because we were having trouble focusing in on a specific issue when our instructions were so broad. We eventually chose a non-profit organization to pair with and then brainstormed for an idea from there.

My learning community ended up creating the “Stillwater Endangered Animal Sanctuary.” We wanted to make sure this idea was different than a zoo. Our sanctuary is focused more on caring for the animals and releasing them back into their natural habitats rather than just being a tourist attraction. We wanted to have volunteers come in, as well as veterinarians, to help care for the animals and nurse them back to health. We also had the idea of possibly breeding them to grow the species out of being endangered. Our sanctuary would create revenue from allowing people to buy tickets to visit our sanctuary and learn about the endangered animals, as well as from donations. We wanted to make sure our business model was different than a zoo because it is focused on being educational rather than just for entertainment. I think our team came up with a really great idea that could actually be implemented in real life to help save endangered species.

On Thursday, we focused on the concept of empathic design. Empathic design is basically focusing on the consumers needs and designing products based on that. I like this idea because the consumers are the people buying and using products and services, so of course, these things should be specifically designed just for them.

The TED talk we watched in class was also very interesting. I enjoyed listening to Paul Bennett speak about empathic design and how he connected with consumers in order to design. More specifically, he visited with patients in a hospital to get a view of their daily perspective and see what things could be changed in order to make their experience easier and more enjoyable. He made changes to the designs of different things. Most of these changes were just small things that I would never even think about, but they really were such great ideas. For example, he added a “rear-view mirror” of sorts on to wheelchairs, so that patients could speak and also see the nurses pushing their chairs. This makes the whole experience a lot better. He also redesigned the lighting of hospital rooms because in reality, patients really are just laying in bed staring at ugly hospital lighting all day. This TED talk really showed that even small changes that many people wouldn’t notice or think about can make such a great difference through empathic design.

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