The probe package, a facilitator in empathic design process

The significance of probe package and empathic approach to design something (Product, service) for a person were the focal learning point of the last week’s classes. I learned how a designer explores a person’s preference for a product by analyzing his or her design probe. Thinking of me as a designer, I may introduce a design-idea based on the thorough analysis of a person’s probe, but taking feedback and assessment through engaged interaction with the corresponding person may change the way of how I thought about the design-idea. The same learning point goes for design slam. While proposing an eye-glass to facilitate the shopping experiences of a color-blind person, I realized the need for an empathic approach. Everyone in the class provided their valuable suggestions, but it is the color-blind person whose feedback would provide me with the appropriate data to create the best eye-glass for him or her. This implies how significant empathic approach (stepping into someone’s life) is to obtain a better understanding of the users and to inspire the designs accordingly. Another crucial learning point was to know how the designers first develop a personalized product and then generalize it for mass people or a group of people. Perhaps, it became plain while reading the article, where the authors presented a generalization their findings on how probes can help inform design processes. The article was crucial in the sense that, it depicts how the probing process creates scopes for a designer to open up the participant’s lives and obtains an empathic understanding of the users. Besides, it creates an environment that triggers participants to realize their experiences with new eyes and explore unique and surprising information regarding their daily activities.

With the knowledge on the value of empathic approach gained by this ’empathic design’ course, I aim to design a cloth for the older adult that allows the easy movement of their body parts during cooking both in a state of standing or sitting position. Due to continuous shifting from standing to sitting and vice versa, their clothes develop some defects on stitch and seam line. Also, spills from the stoves make them wash garments frequently which reduces the cloth lifespan. Through empathic approach with the participant (my mother), I will find out the appropriate specification of the anticipated product. Later, I shall apply my design knowledge to ensure the garment’s aesthetic beauty and longer lifetime.

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