Crafting Digital Strategies: Empathy, Technology and Design Education


The 2009 research “Designer of 2015” presented by the AIGA, a series of competencies were outlined for future designers and its impact in design education. Among these, the research mentions experiences, systems, and services as new trends in design education, going beyond the creation of single design artifacts but the generation of multilevel strategies. Others, like the International Council of Design and the UK Design Council, have reinforced the value of this trends. On the other hand, empathy is a tool that has gained importance in design education, as a process that develops the understanding of people (users), not only based on their specific needs, but also in their contexts, constraints and general understanding of the world. This paper will focus on the work created by students from several design courses. In these courses, empathetic design was used to develop strategies that rely on the creation and use of technology with outcomes such as mobile applications, digital visualizations, or even gadgets. Their projects will be classified under 3 categories: empathy through digital games (gamification), empathy through business models (monetization) and empathy through digital companions (facilitation). The categories were defined based on patterns found in student work submitted between 2014 and 2016. The works presented here show that project-based learning and empathetic design allow students to conceptualize complex strategies that solve specific user needs. These outcomes will be discussed in this paper as well as the implications of students as generators and creators of new technology instead of becoming only consumers.

Author Information
Daniel Echeverri, Zayed University - College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, United Arab Emirates

Paper Information
Conference: ACTC2017
Stream: New Technologies

This paper is part of the ACTC2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon