Empathy @ design research: A phenomenological study on young designers experiencing participatory design

Jin Ma, Kwok Leung Denny Ho, C. K Peter Chuah

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper presents a method of understanding the users involved in design research which advocates participatory design and inclusive design. This method is an attempt to fill the gap that has been left in design literature about feasible ways of understanding users, in response to the suggestion that users? involvement in design process is important. We start with illustrating designers? attitudes associated with the suppression of users? experience and designers? self experience within the designer-as-the-expert framework in the existing design practices; then we move on to show how empathy is employed as a design research process in this respect. The importance of personal description, the formation of intersubjectivity and the three layers of embodied empathy are highlighted. We adopt the phenomenological perspective to analyze the layers of embodied relationship between users and novice designers and the extent to which they are interrupted by designers? natural attitudes so as to shed some light on feasible ways of mutual understanding between designers and users. The analysis is based on the research notes of the Design.Live Workshop (Hong Kong 2009).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th International Conference on Design and Emotion
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Event7th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2010 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 4 Oct 20107 Oct 2010


Conference7th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


  • Active-design-partners
  • Empathy
  • Inclusive design
  • Participatory design
  • Phenomenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software

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