Empathic Design

Empathic design requires an immersion into the problem to design for it, the connection is important to create a useful item. Designers share their thoughts with each other understanding they don’t have a monopoly on creativity. The goal is to express them to uncover, reveal, and trigger effective solutions. Through research methods can help a designer understand the real life experiences, needs, and aspirations of the users. Empathic horizon reduces decision-making based on uninformed decisions.

The oldest and most memorable item I own is my grandmother’s 1947 class ring. She remembers it from struggles during The Great Depression. When she graduated high school her family couldn’t afford a class ring for her. They took her older sisters ring and removed her graduation year and engraved my grandmothers initials and graduation year. My grandmother’s education only went as far as high school. I think family heirlooms are important and I like how the ring has had things added throughout the years. Since I used it for my class ring, maybe I should add my high school graduation year and pass it along the family adding graduation years. It would make it much more sentimental as it’s being passed along the family.

Market Research

Pros – Lots of people, Questionnaires/surveys and focus groups are great for validation

Cons – Users don’t behave as we expect, they don’t often find great solutions to their own problems, they don’t say what they feel and don’t know what they want next

Empathic Design

Pros – gathering information on users, understanding what clients need and providing it, inventing new product requirements, create products that can be connected emotionally.

Cons – Prototypes not aesthetic pleasing, appearance, color, and texture not functional

Five Steps of the Empathic Design Process include, (1) Observation, (2) Capturing data, (3) Reflection and analysis, (4) Brainstorming for solutions, (5) Developing prototypes of possible solutions. Observing people with different backgrounds are likely to provide different ideas. An individual can either invent personas or use virtual observation either over the Internet or phone. Capturing data includes note taking of visual, sound, and sensory clues, asking open-ended questions, and reviewing pictures and recordings. Reflection and analysis asks other people who were not at the observation session and indicate what problems, habits, or preferences were observed. Brainstorming generates new ideas in an environment with no criticism, large quantities of ideas, and building on each others ideas, and encourage wild ideas. Finally developing prototypes testing aspects of the intended design, understanding shape, size, look and feel as well as the appearance, color, and texture.

I struggled with the design probe packet. I hardly ever take pictures, and especially not throughout my day. The hardest was remembering to take photos of my meals. Luckily my Friday was busy and friends who often take photos for social media surrounded me. I also went to the botanical gardens and wanted to look up a few plants when I got home, mostly the texturally appealing cacti. I have never been one to keep a diary so this was a new experience for me.

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