EMPATHIC ABILITY VS. USER SATISFACTION: EVALUATING THE ROLE OF PREFERENCE ACCURACY IN ENGINEERING DESIGN

Erin Johnson, Cynthia Letting, Nicolás F. Soria Zurita, Jessica Menold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Prior work has identified the importance of empathy and the effect on design outcomes such as increased quality, originality, and usability. The measurement of empathy in the context of design, however, remains a pervasive issue. While several studies have proposed interventions, tools or methods to enhance designers’ empathy, it remains unclear how managers or designers can practically measure empathic abilities. Many of the existing methods are either incredibly time-consuming and thus not feasible in design practice or are not grounded in design work, making the translation and interpretation of instruments or surveys challenging. To address this gap, we study preference accuracy as a measure of empathic ability, and investigate its relationship with design outcomes, specifically user satisfaction. We review a case study implementing this method; fourteen participants were recruited and randomly paired with a partner. Individuals were tasked with designing a chair to meet their partner’s needs. Each participant interviewed their partner and completed two preference assessments: one detailing their own design preferences, and one detailing their perceptions of their partner’s design preferences. To calculate preference accuracy, the preference assessments for each participant were compared. Results from this study suggest preference accuracy may not be linked with user satisfaction, but may be a useful tool to differentiate empathic abilities across a population of designers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication35th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM)
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791887349
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
EventASME 2023 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2023 - Boston, United States
Duration: Aug 20 2023Aug 23 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conference
Volume6

Conference

ConferenceASME 2023 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC-CIE 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period8/20/238/23/23

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Modeling and Simulation

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