Design without Empathy

Leveraging the Past to Appreciate the Value of Human Centered Design


  • Maria Miller Ohio State University


This paper will examine the powerful influence of the design precedent in American education as a resource for teaching empathy in design. It will explore cultural shifts that demonstrate patterns of Egoism, Altruism, Individualism and Collectivism influence in design. Three design precedents will be carefully reconsidered from the user’s point of view, so that we might better understand the dangers of an insular, self-focused design process. Through this analysis we will come to better understand the value of Human Centered Design and the benefits of working in collaborative, inclusive, multi-disciplinary teams that welcome stakeholder input throughout the design process