Empathy, design and human factors

Andree Woodcock, Deana McDonagh, Jane Osmond, Wesley Scott

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    With rapid changes to inclusivity, accessibility, technology and the global economy, there is a need to appreciate and understand the way in which real people actually engage and interact with products, systems and services. Designers need to go beyond the merely functional. To do this they need to develop deeper understanding of users, which goes beyond mere categorization of user types and characteristics. They need to have the ability and confidence to try new ways of finding information and gaining ‘authentic experiences.’ Empathy has been recognized as a key skill by practicing designers. This paper introduces empathy, shows why it is important, and provides evidence for a greater need of empathy during design and research activities. The paper is built around two case studies from our work on design for older user, which illustrate the need for more empathy in codesign activities and insights students gather using experience prototypes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the AHFE 2017 International Conference on Usability and User Experience, 2017
    Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Usability and User Experience
    PublisherSpringer Verlag
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-60492-3
    ISBN (Print)9783319604916
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    EventInternational Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics - Los Angeles, United States
    Duration: 17 Jul 201721 Jul 2017
    Conference number: 8

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
    ISSN (Print)2194-5357


    ConferenceInternational Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics
    Abbreviated titleAHFE
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityLos Angeles
    Internet address


    • Breakdown analysis
    • Design process
    • Education
    • Evaluation
    • Older users

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Computer Science(all)


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