For this week I chose to read the “Beautiful Dress” article. I found it clever how they were able to combine empathic design with sustainable design. Using both design methods, the designer does not neglect neither the environment nor the person the product is being designed for.
My oldest and most memorable item I have is my stuffed animal that I got as a toddler. I hold a lot of strong and sentimental feelings for it and having her with me has a strong positive influence on any negative emotions in my life. When you go to do an empathic design you are sort of forced to step into this person’s shoes and think the way they think. That is the only way you will be able to design something that is specifically for them. During this past week in class I often found myself looking back on this show about wedding dresses on the TLC channel. The bride-to-be is conflicted when it comes to what they should wear on their wedding day. The bride has two options to choose from: their mother’s dress or buy a whole new dress altogether. The show then has a designer re-imagine the old dress and create something new for the bride using the old dress in hopes of making both the bride and her mom happy. In this case, I could definitely see how the designer used empathic design in order to re-imagine the dress. The wedding dress was of special sentimental value to the mother who wanted her daughter to wear it for her special day and the designer had to use empathic design to relate to the mother and the daughter who also wanted the dress to be a representation of her own self.
I think a con to empathic design is that it is not just something that someone can use on its own. We learned in class that it could not completely replace traditional market research. But the pro about design is that it does fill in a few holes that market research lacks.
The Empathic Design Process is important because they are steps to completing an empathic design versus just a general design. Empathic designers have a specific focus group that share the same attributes that they are making their design for. A regular designer has an idea, constructs it, and then places it in the market waiting for anyone to come along and buy it. They essentially do not need any other resources except for their own creativity to design and some general knowledge using market research. Empathic designers have to observe, collect data and reflect on it accordingly because they are not designing for the general public.
Funny enough, I learned from the design probes exercise that I should not judge a book by its cover sometimes. I admit, I do not know many of my classmates that well if at all but I was quite surprised with some of the design probes. A few of the people were quite creative and also quite impressive as I witness them go about their two days on their power point. Having my power point chosen to be used for a group to design for made me feel a bit bizarre watching my life be described by other people. I think I would not be the only one to say that I learned something new about myself doing the activity, however. The girl my group designed for never realized that she had a Type A personality until we had brought it to her attention and I never knew I ate burritos more often than a regular person does even though they are not my favorite food in the world.