Design Method to Enhance Empathy for User-Centered Design: Improving the Imagination of the User Experience

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Makki, Alaa Hussein




There is consensus around the importance of empathy in user-centered design and gaining empathy for users. Many empathic methods were developed to aid designers in understanding their users. This study aims to develop a tool that facilitates the use of the pause-predict-ponder method (PPP) by Ogan et al. (2008) in design, challenging current approaches to user research methods. Applying this method allows design students to step into and out of the user's life without having direct contact with the users. It is argued that empathy in design is misguided in terms of how empathy operates. This research examines the construct and mechanisms underlying empathy and how it functions in design based on a review of cognitive science literature. Furthermore, this study employs qualitative research methods developing four steps for improving design students' empathy and interpersonal skills; (1) Recognize False Assumptions, (2) Identifying Contextual Differences, (3) Building Connections, and (4) Suggesting Ideas.


Design and Decorative Arts
Psychology - Cognitive
Education - Higher




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Design: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Industrial Design

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Theses and Dissertations

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