The article – Visual Product Evaluation: Exploring Users Emotional Relationships with Products spoke about how we as designers use visuals to connect empathically to clients. I had not really thought about how visuals evoke emotions, I mean now I do, but when the article mentioned the use of mood boards to do so it really made sense to me. As a design student, most of my projects start with a mood board to really help gather my thoughts and create a feel for my design. They also help create a connection with the clients. Before, I thought of it as a way to explain to the client your concept, but the article made me realize it is also a way to connect with the client emotionally.
When we were asked to pick our most valuable or oldest item, I was not sure what I was going to pick. There are a lot of things that hold sentimental value to me. My wedding ring, a locket that was given to me by my late grandmother, and a family bassinet were the top three, but when it came down to it I chose the bassinet. My wedding ring is a symbol of a commitment I share with my husband, but to me, the bassinet is a symbol of our commitment together to raise our child. The bassinet itself holds little monetary value, but its emotional and sentimental value to me is invaluable. My family has passed down a bassinet for many years. My Grandpa had bought it for my Grandma when she was expecting her first child in 1946. My grandparents were very young and very poor so he actually bought it used from someone else. She used it for all six of her children, and then it was passed down to her firstborn when he and his wife were expecting their first. From there it made its way through my family and last month my mom brought it to my house for me to use. Family has always been so important to me, and I love that I get to share that and continue to teach the importance of family to my son.
I feel like in order to design something for someone that is based on an item they find value in is hard. You really would have to dive deep into empathic design to be able to create something. I think that is what I found challenging about the probes package assignment. We were designing for someone that we did not know based on just the information that they provided to us. I felt like a lot of the information was edited or things were omitted which means that you do not have a real depiction of who you are designing for. In order to really design for someone and connect on that emotional level, you need to be able to make your own observations. So instead of the client providing a probes package to me, I feel like I would be able to better design for them if I am able to follow them around and create a probes package of my own. This in and of itself would be a con for empathic design. I would say that it is rare for someone to give you a true description of their day. Even if you were to follow someone around, they could change their routine.
Market research is vital for mass production of products. If you do not know what the public wants, and you just make a bunch of something without the appropriate research, there is a good chance you have wasted a lot of time and money and you will be sitting on a product for a very long time. If it is something on a smaller scale or a more custom product, I would argue that the market research is not as vital.
The five steps of Empathic Design are -Observation, Capturing Data, Reflection and Analysis, Brainstorming for Solutions, and Developing Prototypes for Possible Solutions. As a design student we use this approach often on assignments and designs. I believe that if you want a design that meets all the emotional needs of the client, every step is important in the empathic design process. If you skip steps, there is a huge chance you won’t fully meet the needs of the user/client.
I had a hard time with the design probes package. I am so busy every single day. It made it challenging to add in an additional take for two days. Throughout the day I would forget to document things I had done and would have to go back and recreate the event which became a hassle. I did enjoy designing for someone from it, but I really did not like creating my own package.