500 words- Journal summary:EMPATHIC DESIGN RESEARCH: DISABILITY + RELEVANT DESIGN
The main purpose of the article is to discuss empathy and to examine designers knowledge and understanding surrounding empathy and how relevant it is the design process. The article looks in to how important products that surround us are and how they affect the users experience.
The key question that the author addressing is how large a part empathy plays in the design process.The article asks whether empathy creatives stronger relationships with users and questions why has there been a sudden shift in the way designers are looking at designers for users.
The most important information in the article looks at changes in the conventional design process, where traditional processes saw designers designing for their user this then moved on to user-centered design- designing with to empathic design allowing designers to ‘design by’ -whereby the user needs to be involved in the design process from the outset in order to gain an empathic relationship and to undertake key research in order to achieve invaluable insights thats designers could not possibly come up with alone.
The key secondary sources used are examples of applying empathy to produce more successful commercial products. The article example is of OXO’s ‘Good Grips’ .The company used empathy by reaching out to consumers and chefs, monitoring how they used competitive products and looked into how arthritis sufferers might deal with such products. From the research the company has gained a better understanding of the products usage and were able to apply empathy that helped to develop a ‘hand grip dexterity’ that not only made the product more functional and was did not have stigmas attached.
The primary sources used are in the form of an experiment were student were set the task of being paired with students with disabilities in order to develop a product suited to the particular users needs. The students in pairs were able to form relationships, some even used ‘empathic modeling’ for instance putting yourself in the life of the person with the disability e.g. by using a wheelchair. The outcomes were that the students found new insights that would not have happened without the input from the students with disabilities and gave the designers a wider perspective when designing for specific users.
The main conclusions in this article emphasise the positive outcome the students had experience as a result of ‘designing by’. The author makes the point that the students showed ‘a shift in thinking, practice and designing.’
The key concepts we need to understand in this article are understanding our users and the products that surround us. By understanding these concepts the author means that we as designers can produce better outcomes, the more we know about our user and the more we can empathise with these the greater the results.
The main points of view presented in this article are from an academics point of view who has been able to overview a large group of student embarking on empathic design, The main points are that through using empathy the design process greatly benefits.
OXO watering cans [Source]
500 word: Book summary: WIRED TO CARE
The main purpose of this article is to understand the positive implications empathy plays in business and in everyday lives. The book ‘wired to care’ comprises of case studies where empathy has been used.
The key questions that the author is asking is how can empathy really improve business. The article questions companies and designers abilities to think in a empathic way and touches on ‘The Golden Rule’ questioning how it really works.
The most important information in this article explorers human values and how we are all ‘wired to care’. The book explains the limbic system and focuses on how certain sections of the brain deal are more likely to remember vivid details of highly emotional events, the book explains that how understanding the brain we can start to understand behaviour and in doing so we can evaluate new situations.
The key secondary sources used is an example of how empathy can win people over. The example is about one of Bill Clinton’s election campaign team members named James Carville who realised ordinary Americans were struggling with healthcare bills and tax relief. He was from a working class background and knew what was in the head of the average american.The campaign slogan ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ reflected voters attitudes. The voters then realised that the government was listening to them and as a result Clinton received more votes because his party empahsised with their voters.
The key primary sources used is about the author taking part in a college experiment, which required spending time with a person that was completely different to you. He decided to become disabled and live in a wheelchair for some time. He began to see the negatives on being in a wheelchair and really empahise with his disabled friend. He analysed that is wasn’t the people around him that were insensitive but the products around him that stopped him from going about his business. The experiment results in the author emphasising more with wheelchair users, and a designer he will now have the knowledge and insights to understand how wheelchair users feel when designing for them, and will have created a close relationship with his user.
The main conclusions in this article are though the multiple examples which show how empathy can have ‘the power to help us see how we can change the world for the better.’
The key concepts we need to understand in this article are: through empathy there are economic and personal advantages.
If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that they can have a huge impact on the global economy, helping business to use empathise can trigger large scale change.
If we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that businesses may suffer through not understanding their user and designers may fail to design what people really want.
The main point of view presented in this article are that empathy can improve business and design and help people around them understand.
Wired to Care front cover [source]
McDonagh, D., Thomas J., Chen S., He J.J., Hong. Y.S., Kim.Y., Zhang.Z., and Pena-Mora.F. (University of Illinois Urana-Champaign) 2009. ‘Empathic Design Research: Disability + Relevant Design’- 1st, 2nd & 3rd April 2009. The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Available: www.ead09.org.uk/Papers/040.pdf [Accessed: 20/11/2010]
Patnaik, D. (2009) Wired to Care: How companies prosper when they create widespread empathy.Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.