DEVELOPING EMPATHY FOR OLDER USERS IN DESIGN STUDENTS
DS 88: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE17), Building Community: Design Education for a Sustainable Future, Oslo, Norway, 7 & 8 September 2017
Editor: Berg, Arild; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon; Gulden, Tore; Kovacevic, Ahmed; Pavel, Nenad
Author: Woodcock, Andree; McDonagh, Deana; Osmond, Jane
Institution: Coventry University, United Kingdom
Section: New Design Education Paradigms
Empathy has been recognised as a key skill by practicing designers. With rapid changes to inclusivity and accessibility in the transport sector, student designers need to appreciate and understand the way in which people engage and interact with transport. They need to not only develop an understanding of older and vulnerable users, how they experience products, vehicles, services and systems but also have the confidence to try out new ways of finding information and gaining ‘authentic experiences’. Although empathic design is encouraged, there is often little opportunity for this to occur in an already full traditional educational curriculum. This paper reports a short intervention using readily available materials to create low fidelity experience simulations designed to increase the empathic horizon of transport design students. It concludes with a set of guidelines on how to create high quality learning experiences for students that will enable enhanced empathic design outcomes as they embark upon design careers.