Deep Empathic Design
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Empathic design is often described as a creative process that translates observations - typically of people and their behaviours into design ideas. Another similar and closely related expression is user centred design, which attempts to turn the attention away from an object or product towards its usefulness and useabilty. The central premise of empathic design is that the best-designed products and services result from understanding the needs of the people who will use them. User-centred designers engage actively with end-users to gather insights that drive design from the earliest stages of product and service development, right through the design process. Our standard definitions and understanding of empathic design or user centred design are well recognised and widely practiced, particularly taught in design schools and in professional creative business. This paper extends and explores a deeper understanding of empathy within a systems thinking framework where the observer and subject are both components of empathic design. It proposes that empathy can be described as the bonds of connection with others (in its traditional interpretation), but also with an ecological, social and economic context.
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