Is it possible to measure empathy and impact in design?

If you’ll watch the video probably you don’t need to read the text because I will be repeating myself. This video – the App – is the result of the last 3 months of the design thinking course at the HPI in Potsdam. Besides developing a concept and identity for the 1st International Design Thinking Festival we (Carol, Claudia, Daniel and me) ended up doing an application to be used by design juries to evaluate design projects.

A few months ago I read something from Don Norman where he said that he gave up being a jury in design (product) competitions because he felt everyone was voting based on aesthetics and not on the real value of the project – empathy through the user, usability, acceptance and intuition (based on experience).

Well, we believe we’ve found a way to convince Don Norman in to being a jury again.
We developed an application that basically allows design juries to rate projects based on some interesting criteria – intuition, human centeredness, simplicity/complexity, power of the idea and holism.
Through very simple and intuitive actions we can use the different exercises to generated a tangible number in the end. Measuring feelings…maybe not. But at least we can start a discussion.

Let me warn you that this is just a prototype. We had some 2 or 3 paper, iterate and built  2 or 3 physical/3d prototypes and ended up with this practical app (1st version) design in two short and busy days.
Some time has passed but we are willing to test this for real. Are you curious? Do you have some suggestions for new criteria? Would you use this for other types of evaluations? Do you think it’s ridiculous? Give us your hints and ideas!

7 Comentários a “Is it possible to measure empathy and impact in design?”

  1. Hi Rui!
    If what we want is to evaluate projects, I think the criteria presented here are significant for differentiation and classification. It seems to be a great tool for assessing projects but for me there is still doubt if the evaluators have in fact the competences to do so. There is a lot of intuition in evaluation and this requires experience, good habits and consciousness free from assumptions.
    For example, the “measurement of empathy” can be given by the evaluator’s perception on how the solution (project) really fits the needs of people.
    To measure the impact (initial) can be done by evaluating the power of idea as long as there is a differentiation between the novelty effect and consequence.
    Finally, I think that the evaluators should imagine if the projects contribute to the “happiness” of potential consumers/users. I think “happiness” is built by assigning meaning to small things.
    Two cents for now
    Jose Baldaia

  2. Rui Quinta diz:

    Thank you José. Great insights. We where stuggling with most of your observations during the time we where understanding the problem and thinking about a possible solution. This was a app that was born to evaluate “design thinking” projects and we where asking for more information to the applicants that would allow the jury to have more tangible, visual and “abstract” interpretations on the projects. Love the “happiness” idea. I would see it totally working on the “acceptance by the user”. If it made people happier in the end. Another thing was that we’ve discovered that an app like this would be great to use as a check out tool for teams to evaluate the progress and dynamics of a working day. ;) – off course, using different criteria.
    What do you think?

  3. Hello Rui!

    I think it may be a good idea to use this application as evaluation of a day’s work:
    1-Because it can allows a reflection for ongoing projects refining.
    2-Because measuring progress can be a lever for the intrinsic motivation of each one of the participants in the project. See Progress Principle – Teresa Amabile
    3-Because it lets keep the focus and direction or seek alternative
    4-Because the criteria can be used as minimum thresholds required for execution and allow adaptation to the evolutionary dynamics of projects.
    Jose Baldaia

  4. Rui Quinta diz:

    Good to have your opinion on this. We where really excited about the possibility of developing something like this. Maybe in the future, who knows!
    I’ve read the “progress principle” some months ago and I have to admit that it has been influencing me a bit since then…
    Let’s keep in touch

  5. Ana Roque diz:

    Pretty exciting stuff going on here!!
    Definitely a tool I would willingly use on projects evaluation both with team and clients.
    It’s very insightful on to understanding project perception.
    Great work!!

  6. [...] little presentation I’ve prepared to close the Global Sustainability Jam in Lisbon. After the EmpactMeter, it would be interesting to test this for [...]

  7. This seems like a great tool to use in my Empathy Workshops. Thanks for sharing. I really like the simplicity of it. Has it been developed into a full App yet?


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