“Empathic Design” – Though I heard these two words many times, I never knew or imagine how it works? and why it is important? The first two lectures and class discussions allowed me to understand basic knowledge about empathic design, different approaches to observe/view and how to apply it to my life. After attending to the class, I explored many roots of empathic design including, users’ different perceptions, designing probe packages for different individuals, different empathic design techniques and more importantly the significance of this empathic design approach and how it relates to long term sustainability.
My first understanding of empathic design is about being in someone else’s shoes (stepping into some one’s life), having walk around in their life to get an in-depth understanding about their feelings, emotions, values, experiences and requirements and then stepping out from the user’s world to design an expected unique product for the user.
Empathic design is more related to user’s product attachment and long term product use. One of the article I have read in the class mentioned about consumers’ clothing and textile attachment. It described more how this long term product attachment promotes sustainable design. Also, how user’s emotions and values influence on this product attachment. It reminds me about one of the oldest and most valuable item I have. It is a toy camera gifted by mom when I was a small kid. I started to think about, why I valued it, what it looks like my attachment to that toy. I realized that it gave me the feeling of real, natural and unique. I love the way it has functioned; it enables me to visualize seventy different places as 3D images and gave me the feeling that I have been visited each place physically. While going through all the articles and class discussions, I realized that user’s emotions and values play a vital role in empathic design process.
Empathic design is not just developing a product but also another way of creating knowledge by the users and designers together. Many designers tend to reach users in multidisciplinary fields including people with disabilities, older individuals with functional losses and so on. By designing my own probe package, I realized that empathic design approach can be applied to every individual’s life. Hence, it is important to learn about empathic design process and different approaches as beginners to the field. I am looking for feasibility and available options in empathic design approach into my research area “online consumer behavior”.