Archive for the 'experience design' Category

Sensations of Empathy

I recently invited Seung Chan Lim (aka Slim) to speak to my senior design and illustration students. Slim, a graphic designer with significant experience as a computer scientist dealing in interaction design, proposes a “model of design as empathetic conversation” (in the diagram below). Topics and principles of empathetic conversation include respect, listening, and reciprocity, among others.

After the hour-long lecture that was thoughtful and engaging with excellent visuals to match, Slim led the audience in a two-hour discussion that included stories of making art, computer science, the difficulties of empathizing, teaching design, and resonance. Slim helped to create a space where voices could be heard. The feedback from students and faculty alike was overwhelmingly positive.

In addition to words like empathy, respect, resonance, and reciprocity, Slim used terms like love, hope, and humility. It is not often that these words are used to discuss design, yet they describe what it means to be human. Where is their place in our vernacular? Even the term ‘human-centered’ has become an over-generalized way to remind us that we’re designing for people. I think Slim’s point of view on design is a unique and brave one. It not only challenges designers to remain deeply connected to a purpose, but it reveals his own experiences of humility and insight along the way.