WHAT is it?
Design thinking is a user-centered design process, and the
empathy that comes from observing users enables design thinkers to
uncover deep and meaningful needs (both overt & latent). Empathy,
by definition, is the intellectual identification with or vicarious
experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.
gaining is often described as 'needfinding' in that you are discovering
people's explicit and implicit needs so that you can meet those needs
through design. A need is a physical, psychological or cultural
requirement of an individual or group that is missing or not met through
A designer 'needfinds' or works to
understand a user's experience by learning about their lives. Empathy
gaining and needfinding may be broken down into three discrete methods:
goal of the empathy mode is to discover gaps in between what people do
and what people say they do. These gaps are the design opportunities.
WHY do we teach it?
- To uncover needs that people have which they may or may not be
- To guide our innovation efforts
- To identify someone to design for
- To discover the emotions that guide behaviors
The goal of the empathy mode is the following:
- Stories about people, their actions and their motivations
- Artifacts (photos, drawings, quotes) that capture people, the
environment, maps of movement through a space, etc.
- Deep insights revealed through these stories and artifacts
HOW do we teach it?
Depending on the depth that you want to get to, there are
multiple activities, projects, lectures and stories to deploy when
teaching and/or introducing empathy. The Wallet Project and Oral
Hygiene Project are two good short introductions to the importance of
EMPATHY ACTIVITIES AND CHALLENGES BASED ON SKILL LEVEL
1. Open-ended Questions
2. Video observation
1. Interview Techniques
2. Observation vs interpretation
3. Field notes
1. How/Why Laddering
2. Walk in the Moccasins
3. Day in the life
4. Personal Box
1. Powers of 10
2. Community map