Empathic design? How empathy can be integrated into design concept! True for me, as this was my first concept regarding this field. But as we continued two interactive sessions, it became clear as daylight that how important empathic design can be. It is pretty amazing that how we become emotionally attached to things or products due to several reasons: color, smell, design, representation of self-image, love, affection, or of course, long-term usage. Certainly not long ago, bringing in the emotion, aspiration, fear etc. into product design was well perceived by the product developers, or designers. But to cope with present day’s ever-changing consumer demand, integration of these psychological factors into product design has become the new trend. It is becoming evident day by day, that consumers are not only satisfied with companies that offer good products, but a number of consumers have the penchant for companies, who value their emotions and feelings, and design products accordingly; this number is increasing, dramatically.
Even its true for myself, too, but I never realized that before I attended the class. Away from the traditional classroom design, I must say the environment was way too engaging with the other students – a perfect set up to get to know each other better. To me, the most important part of these two lectures was getting to know each other’s valuable possession of life. Listening to the individual stories made me think again how emotionally we are attached to some tangible materials, how important they are to us no matter what the price is. It was also a new experience hearing to people’s perception of specific desires, emotions, and feelings which affect their product purchase, usage, and expectation during a purchase. Moreover, discussion on some empathic design articles was very effective; learned many aspects of consumer-product attachment, customer satisfaction, emotional values and numerous product design concepts based on empathy. I found some of the articles really amazing as for how some of our everyday life essentials are designed according to the functionality of particular work, our desire, and convenience.
While going through the discussion of individuals’ product attachment, it reminded me of something very cherished – my first bicycle. I remembered when I first rode it on the street, it was so smooth and quiet; fast-changing gears, excellent handle, and suspension, lightweight body – everything was so perfect and I felt like flying on the road. Truly its design and features amazed me, which consequently led to my attachment with the cycle for quite a long time. Going back to that moment, from a totally new perspective during the class, taught me what aspects of a bicycle might be crucial for a user to consider. Another thing that I also realized was, how my laptop has become an indispensable item in my life, so as my backpack. It never occurred to me earlier that I chose these items based on not only my liking but also their probable effectiveness according to my need.
One captivating part of the two lectures was getting into the people lives with functional loss – people who actually inspire designers empathically. It is really important to understand critically how these people with different disabilities struggle to maintain their usual works, and from which perspectives designers should work to bring in utility for them. These real-life scenarios taught me one thing: designing of a product does not solely mean its ability to function; rather being a user-friendly tool to the end customer is what matters!