The effects of empathic experience design techniques on product design innovation
MetadataShow full item record
The effects of empathic experience design (EED) on the product design process are investigated through a series of product redesign experimental studies. As defined, empathic experience design is the simulation of the experiences of a lead user, or someone who uses a product in an extreme condition. To better understand product innovation, the link between creativity in engineering design and commercial market success is explored through literature and a study of award-winning products is performed to analyze the current trends in innovation. The findings suggest that products are becoming increasingly more innovative in the ways in which they interact with users and their surroundings and that a gap exists between the current tools available for engineers to innovate and the types of innovations present in award-winning products. The application of EED to a concept generation study shows that empathic experiences while interacting with a prototype results in more innovative concepts over typical interactions. The experimental group also saw an increase in user interaction innovations and a decrease in technical feasibility. The application of EED to a customer needs study compares the effect of empathic experiences in an articulated use interview setting. The EED interviews discovered 2.5 times the number of latent customer needs than the control group. A slight decrease in the breadth of topics covered was also seen, but was compensated for when used in conjunction with categorical questioning. Overall the use of empathic experience design is shown to increase the level of innovation throughout the product design process.