Abstract

Empathy is key in human-centred design but has become more of an ideology than a principle (Heylighen and Dong, 2019). This study proposes perception as an alternative to understanding users that holistically considers their contextual, cognitive, affective and environmental states. To apply perception for understanding users, this research integrates three predominant approaches of mindreading, social cognition - Theory Theory, Simulation Theory and Interaction Theory. A methodology centred on a conceptual ‘perceptive design’ scale and taxonomy of the four levels – ‘recognize, resonate, relate and realize’ - is developed. The ‘perceptive design’ scale’s applicability as a framework for two different human-centred design contexts and as an analytical tool are demonstrated. The contribution is threefold. It can contribute to design practice, research and education by providing structure in the phase of understanding users; enhancing existing and supporting the development of new design tools; and offering opportunities to practice perception in understanding users.

Keywords:

empathy in design, perception in experience design, social cognition in design, perceptive design scale taxonomy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Aug 11th, 12:00 AM

To empathize or perceive? Towards a ‘perceptive design’ approach.

Empathy is key in human-centred design but has become more of an ideology than a principle (Heylighen and Dong, 2019). This study proposes perception as an alternative to understanding users that holistically considers their contextual, cognitive, affective and environmental states. To apply perception for understanding users, this research integrates three predominant approaches of mindreading, social cognition - Theory Theory, Simulation Theory and Interaction Theory. A methodology centred on a conceptual ‘perceptive design’ scale and taxonomy of the four levels – ‘recognize, resonate, relate and realize’ - is developed. The ‘perceptive design’ scale’s applicability as a framework for two different human-centred design contexts and as an analytical tool are demonstrated. The contribution is threefold. It can contribute to design practice, research and education by providing structure in the phase of understanding users; enhancing existing and supporting the development of new design tools; and offering opportunities to practice perception in understanding users.

 

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