Response to “The Value of Empathy” by Andy Chen

Quotes that I underlined:

“Power inequalities naturally inhere in relationships between benefactors and beneficiaries. As designers, we can choose to reinforce those asymmetries or to recognize them and work towards their elimination.”

“I believe in a graphic language that does not shy away from the reality of social crises but instead addresses those difficulties head-on in a manner unflinching and unpatronizing.”

“Most design caters to the “average Joe,” he who is averagely tall, with average tastes, and no real handicaps. The truth, however, is that none of us are really average. People-centered design methodology focuses, instead, on socially-excluded populations…as such, it demands a collaborative rather than a top-down approach — “designing with” rather than “designing for.”

Designing with, instead of designing for…what empathy is really all about. Having the same experiences as someone else, really joining with them where they are. I think all areas of life could benefit from this change of perspective, not just design. A new understanding of one another would shatter stereotypes and stop prejudices from forming. Not to mention being infinitely more effective. I am definitely looking at the relationship between benefactors and beneficiaries as related in the first quote, because that is basically what my project entails. How can I create a design that views the two as equal? Or as close to equal as possible?

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