What I took from this week’s article was that we each hold emotional attachments to the things we buy, places we go and so on. Consequently, some people buy things to convey an impression they want to give off. IF we understand these emotional bonds and impressions we can then design places that are more personalized on because they are a callback to those emotional bonds.
The oldest and most valuable item I own is a bicycle that my Dad owned when he was in college. He used to tuck his cigarettes into a pouch that is at the front of the bike. He told me stories about how he would ride his back between classes to the bar so he could do homework and grab a beer while it was empty. Being able to picture my Dad’s life before I was born makes me feel closer to him and owning his bike makes me feel like I am living out a life like his.
A hypothetical client that wants me to design a building for his new stamp business that has mentioned his dad used to have a stamp that was passed on from his father that he owns. I would use the stamp’s print to maybe influence the layout of the building to have wall structures to mimic that. I might have a logo wall with that print that has a narrative that goes into the history of my client’s business.
A pro of Empathic Design is that it enables a truly heart-felt understanding of that person’s problems from a deeply personal level, better foresight into solutions, and new capacity for knowledge.A con of Market Research is that it only sees results given through surveys or focus groups and this actually disables the user group to think outside of the given question to help resolve problems in their lives.
The five steps in the Empathic Design Process are: Observation, Capturing data, Reflection and analysis, brainstorming for solutions, and developing prototypes for possible solutions. All of these steps are crucial. You need to be able to learn from one step in the process to fully understand the next. By the fifth step you are connected with your users and able to create something that solves their problems most effectively. It is not easy to capture data without first observing. The same can be said for the other steps in this process.
The design probes exercise really was a fantastic exercise to see how to design more empathically. By recording everything one does in a day, another is able to figuratively step into that person’s shoes. I think I learned about how detailed I will need to go when asking my clients questions about their life; their daily habits, problems and things they hold dear. Sometimes you think you know enough to design for them, and that very well may be true, however, you could always improve even more so.