The Interior Design students had to read the article, Visual Product Evaluation: Exploring Users Emotional Relationships with Products. In this article, the authors talk about using visuals as a mean to connect with clients. We can do this through personality profiling and using emotions to create stimulating visuals, such as a mood board. Mood boards are really important when it comes to the conceptual design phase. These boards contain images, colors, key words, and textures to help create a connection between the potential design and the end user.
The item I chose to speak about is an item that holds the most value out of everything I own. It is my grandpa’s favorite flannel shirt that was passed down to me after he passed away. Throughout my life, I was very close to both my grandma and grandpa. In 2011, my grandpa passed away and to this day it has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to cope with. His flannel contains so much sentiment and value in keeping my memory of him alive. I think when designing for someone, it’s easier to understand their feelings about a situation when you can relate it to something in your own life and use your emotions to design.
An example of this may be designing an older adult healthcare facility (adult daycare center). This is actually something that the senior interior design students are doing at the moment. On the first day of class when this project was introduced to us, our professor, Dr. Roberts had each of us talk about important older adults in our lives whether they were alive or had already passed on. During this discussion many of us became emotional when talking about the struggles that our loved ones faced because of the layout and design of their homes. This caused physical struggles for a lot of the loved ones which furthered the decline of their health. This discussion allowed us to talk about what ways that we, as designer, could improve residential and commercial settings for older adults. That discussion in our class has been very helpful this semester not only for our studio but just understanding empathic design in general.
Although I personally love the idea and concept of Empathic Design, I definitely think there are some cons. While it does help design appropriately for a specific person, product or place, I feel as if sometimes the emotional connection a person may feel can get in the way of the true purpose for the end user. Market research can be kind of tricky when it’s fixated on such a small selection of people or a focus group. I don’t think the numbers from this can appropriately detect a larger portion of people.
Empathic Design has five steps. Observation, Capturing Data, Reflection and Analysis, Brainstorming for Solutions, and Developing Prototypes for Possible Solutions. From personal experience with this subject, I believe that all are necessary in order to appropriately design for a person. Recently I was involved in a small research competition in which we researched and spoke about empathic design. In order for us to fully understand the topic of empathic design, we had to use all five steps. Each one was crucial in order for us to conduct our research.
The design probes package was definitely interesting. It was fun to document my daily life and then look back and read everything I put down. It made me realize that I have a pretty structured routine when it comes to what I do on a daily basis. I also enjoyed looking at other people’s daily life. It’s really eye opening to know that everyone lives in such different ways. Some students are married with children while others are single, and the difference between those two lives is incredible. It helps put into perspective what others go through and some struggles they may face which definitely creates a soft spot in one’s heart.