Developing Empathy for Older Users/Design Students

Andree Woodcock, Deana McDonagh, Jane Osmond

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Empathy has been recognised as a key skill by practicing designers. With rapid changes to inclusivity and accessibility in the transport sector, student designers need to appreciate and understand the way in which people engage and interact with transport. They need to not only develop an understanding of older and vulnerable users, how they experience products, vehicles, services and systems but also have the confidence to try out new ways of finding information and gaining ‘authentic experiences’. Although empathic design is encouraged, there is often little opportunity for this to occur in a full educational curriculum.

This paper reports a short intervention using readily available materials to create low fidelity experience simulations designed to increase the empathic horizon of transport design students. It concludes with a set of guidelines on how to create high quality learning experiences for students that will enable enhanced empathic design outcomes as they embark upon design careers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 7 Sept 20178 Sept 2017


ConferenceInternational Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
Internet address


  • Design


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