Empathy, Observation &
“I hear what you say, but I my ideas
are coming from what I see before me”
Do you think you put people first?
Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There
is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions.
Nothing pains some people more than having to think.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Visual design, also commonly known as graphic design,
communication design or visual communication, represents
the aesthetics or “look-and-feel” of the front end of any
• Graphic treatment of interface elements, such as the “look”
in the term look-and-feel is often perceived as the visual
• The purpose of visual design is to use visual elements like
colors, images, typography and symbols to convey a
message to its audience.
• Fundamentals of Gestalt psychology and Visual Perception
give cognitive perspective on how to create effective visual
User Experience Design (UXD or UED)
• Used to explain all aspects of a person’s
– Industrial design
– Physical interaction
Empathic design process
[Flashback] Leonard and Rayport identify the
five key steps in empathic design as:
• Capturing Data
• Reflection and Analysis
• Brainstorming for solutions
• Developing possible solutions
• Jan Chipchase, a user anthropologist at Nokia,
thinks that at some point we may well be able
to delegate entertainment experiences to
other people, to be enjoyed at your leisure at
a later time and date.
– “Experience shifting raises all sorts of interesting
questions about empathic design, where from an
physiological-emotional perspective experience
designers will literally be able put themselves in
someone else’s shoes…. [circa 2007]
Innovation for the Common Good
Because we understand that taking an imaginative leap into the future is
a beginning and not an end in itself, we develop tools and processes for
identifying, and then capitalizing on, opportunities in the present.
understand how people
behave within a given
• This uncovers the
reality of what people
do - as opposed to what
they say they do.
We don’t know what we don’t know
• Learning a person’s
through a process of
leads to breakthrough
Exercise. Let’s think
• Consider a location
– (within walking distance
to where you are)
• Write down your
• Write down how you
expect people will
We don’t know what we don’t know
Until we watch and observe.
Deszca et al.
• Deszca et al. argue that market forces and
competitive pressures in today's fast paced
world are augmenting the importance of
product innovation as a source of competitive
– ^ Deszca, G., Munro, H., and Noori, H.,
"Developing Breakthrough Products: Challenges
and Options for Market Assessment", Journal of
Operations Management, Vol 17, 1999, pp613-
• Shadowing an individual on a journey or activity
can be used to identify opportunities for design
and quickly understand a particular design
• Generally, there are three types of observation:
– natural (covert) - no interference from the
– controlled (overt) - the designer sets a task and
observes it being carried out;
– and participatory - the designer actively joins in the
activity being observed to gain a firsthand
How might we
Writer Warren Berger "the secret phrase top innovators use."
"How" assumes that solutions exist and provides the creative
confidence needed to identify and solve for unmet needs.
"Might" says that we can put ideas out there that might work or
might not—either way, we'll learn something useful.
"We" signals that we're going to collaborate and build on each
other's ideas to find creative solutions together.
Asking "How might we" at the start of a team project is a creative
problem-solving tool that can be applied to almost any ambitious,