The article that merchandising students were assigned to read talks about redesigning the shopping experience to be more accessible and efficient for people with disabilities. This was an inspiring read for me because my grandmother, who now lives with my parents, has a very hard time grocery shopping. It is sad because it her favorite thing to do. Like the article mentioned, its somewhat for the social aspect. I think once people get older, grocery shopping can very much so be a social outing. This article provides a great example of empathic design, as the designers take time to evaluate the feelings and limitations of disabled patrons.
The item that I brought to class that I consider my oldest and most dear item is a turquoise cuff from the 1930s that was my given to me by my grandmother and was her mother’s before that. I think that considering an item like this when designing for someone could be very useful. If the person has kept an item and values it, it sheds light on things they find important and have impacted them. When designing it is very important to take into account what the client values. These things could be highlighted in the environment or product design. This ties into the design probes exercise that we completed on Thursday of this week. We received a student’s profile with their activities, favorite things, outfits, etc. over a two-day period. We were tasked to design something to help them based on what we could infer after going through their information. The student we evaluated emphasized traveling a lot and missing her dog back home We designed an interactive communication app that would help her connect with the dog while she was away. She loved the idea, and after further questioning, we got ideas of how we might design a store environment catered to her as a customer. It was really interesting to see what each group came up with for the students they evaluated. For the most part, the designs were very helpful and innovative. I’ll definitely take lessons from this exercise into my future career. It has opened up my eyes about how helpful background information can be when designing for a client.
I was very surprised to see all of the comparisons between empathic design research and traditional market research. Most of the classes that I have taken thus far in college have had a strong emphasis on traditional market research. It makes so much sense to me that empathic design can be much more efficient during product development. The lecture explains that design research is good for innovation and market research is good for validation. This is something that I have never thought about, but it makes sense. I think a lot of consumers don’t know what they want until they have tried it. I think that a combination of these types of research would result in valuable products or environments. To address the question of if all steps in the empathic design process are important, I definiltey think so. Each step provides important information that furthers the accuracy of product development. I think that looking at production and design from this perspective could result in some very influential and valued designs.