Create story, not product

Empathic design! Just another way of designing something. That’s what came into my mind when I first hit it. The more I was reading and getting engaged in the class discussion it changed my thought. To me, empathic design is creating something based on the understanding of the user’s circumstances and experiences with that things. It is something that takes a designer to the user’s personal lives to feel not only the stories behind that thing but also explore the meaning of the story. In the class, while discussing what others mean by empathy and how they explore empathy in their lives, I found the following things that matter a lot to almost all: emotion and value. Everyone in the class claimed that there was a greater emotion or a story behind the object or thing that they value most. For instance, someone talked about a gift given by her grandmother that reminds her that she is the sunshine of her family. This interactive session in the classroom took me back to a very memorable time of my life. It was when I and some of my friends went to a tour and bought a key ring. The ring is a small replica of a guitar with an alphabet on it. We all bought the ring which has the first alphabet of our name. The ring is small but pretty, not so heavy and durable too. Every time, I see the ring, it reminded me of the tour and the enjoyable moments we spent together. Still, I’m using it, because, it does not just evoke some memories, but also serves the functional purpose properly. Maybe, the key ring was a result of empathic design utilized by a designer who felt to add some memory (in a tangible form like the guitar) to the ring.

It was a pleasure to read the articles on empathic design. How a designer step into and out someone’s life was really a great learning point. Designing something for the people in need, especially for those with some sort of disability or functional loss requires a greater commitment from a designer, because the designers have to step into the user’s daily activities, see things through user’s eyes in the same context (cognitive aspect) and finally find out the underlying meaning. Feeling matters (affective aspect), but understanding lasts when it is achieved from the same perspective. One notable thing that I learned from the article and the website as well, is definitely the context of use. I may use this technique to my study of style consumption. How can I explore the meaning of style unless I step into their lives and explore what they mean by style?

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