Reflection Blog:

Design, Emotion, Worldview & Openness

(by: Max Stockdale and Luca Cao)

All design begins with empathy. Thinking from the perspectives of our users allows us to create more thoughtful experiences. However, empathy is only possible when we embrace different world views and be open to alternative value systems.

Emotion + Design

“All design is interaction design”Jonathan Chapman

Through this lecture we began to learn that helping people experience the whole spectrum of emotion and the human experience is what actually drives meaningful design. Looking specifically for the “rich experiences” by also allowing a little bit of discomfort is completely different than someone experiencing a single emotion. One thing that really stuck out to us was the example of colors and emotions. There are an infinite amount of colors and emotions. Just as you can mix colors, you can mix a variety of emotions to create something unique.

spectrum of emotion

Realizing that anything can elicit an emotional response is so important as a designer. These emotions build up, but at the same time, they are not supposed to last. This has to do with hedonic adaptation which is basically why emotion changes. However, we cannot assume that everyone will have the same emotional response to the same thing, so these responses differ due to episodic memory. Through our museum exhibit project in the environments mini, we were tasked to create meaningful hybrid experiences that allow people to interact with the space. Thinking about all of these factors of emotion and thinking about how design can change the way people engage with the information really helped drive our thought process.

Examples of simple interactions from the museum exhibit project

Inclusive Design

We also learned about inclusive design: a concept that will continue to influence our thinking and practice in design. In a world with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities, it is crucial to make design accessible, usable, and enjoyable for all. Before understanding the significance of inclusive design, we approached design from our personal experiences, with minimal consideration to different people. We tended to frame our solution in a way that we see as practical, forgetting that we were designing for others. With a more established framework, we learned methods, such as participatory design, to understand and invite our users to the decision-making process. The concepts we learned gave us the tools to examine our positionality and constantly remind us to evaluate our practices in the context of human-centered design. The idea of inclusive design translated perfectly to our second Environments project this semester, which is to design a mixed reality campus tour at CMU for prospective students and their parents. Our knowledge from this class inspired us to think about our product’s features. By including voice and gesture interactions, along with a simple and intuitive interface, our tour ensured that people with different educational backgrounds and physical abilities could comfortably experience the campus.

Impact

Realizing our agency as designers and the impact that we can have on others should be our primary focus. Not only designing for, but also designing with helps us understand the true purpose and meaning behind design. It’s really exciting to be able to implement some of these processes into the design projects we are working on.

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