Sort‎ > ‎

About Design

An Overview of the Empathic Design Process 
 (also called human-centered design or design thinking.)

Empathic Design moves between divergent and convergent steps
When we empathize we are open and gaining more insights and understanding, with define we narrow down to find a specific problem. With ideate we are open to brainstorming and coming up with many creative ideas.  With prototyping we start focusing in on a specific idea to create and test.

Nice overview, shows how design thinking merges empathy, creativity and rationality.

ABC Nightline - IDEO Shopping Cart
An example of a project using the design process. In our case, our project is to create a more empathic world.

YouTube Video

David Kelly - Pioneer in Developing Design Thinking.
Ideo, an innovative design company - 60 Minutes
at 2:00. "main tenant is empathy" and "to really build empathy try to understand people through observing them."

YouTube Video


Empathic Design @ Wikipedia

"The foundation of empathic design is observation and the goal is to identify latent customer needs in order to create products that the customers don’t even know they desire or, in some cases, solutions that customers have difficulty envisioning due to lack of familiarity with the possibilities offered by new technologies or because locked in an old mindset. Empathic design relies on observation of consumers as opposed to traditional market research which relies on consumer inquiry with the intention to avoid possible biases in surveys and questions, and minimizes the chance that consumers will provide false information."

An Empathic Dialog

The human-centered design process at it's best is an empathic dialog between the designers and those they are designing for. It starts with the designers empathizing with the 'users' and uncovering their needs. The designers then brainstorm solutions to address these needs.  They create prototypes of possible solutions and then test them. The testing becomes another opportunity to listen to the user and hear even more deeply about their needs.  This process uses empathy as the gateway of  creativity, innovation and action.


Design Manuals and Workbooks
An 11 page overview of the design thinking process. Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test

The toolkit contains a Design Thinking process overview, methods and instructions that help you put Design Thinking into action, and the Designer's Workbook to support your design challenges.

Design Kit: The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design

A step-by-step guide to get you solving problems like a designer. A full-color, 192-page book, the Field Guide comes with 57 design methods, the key mindsets that underpin how and why believes design can change lives, a full slate of worksheets, and case studies from projects that show human-centered design in action.

Design Kit 7 Week Course Manuals

More Links

The Model of Human Centered Design

Idealized Model

 Design goes through a series of steps The steps are iterative,
 i.e. done over and over.

More Accurate Model
With human-centered design the path actually goes in and out of the various mindsets.

Empathic Design Model
What is the white space in the idealized model? For us it is an empathic way of being. We cultivate an overall empathic approach to life. So the design process takes place within an overall empathic way of being.