Empathy Toolkit

The Empathy Toolkit is and aid to help designers understand in a direct, physical way, the needs of people with different abilities.

Products on the market are designed for a minority (healthy people aged 18-35), and a majority (including the elderly, ill, injured and disabled) is being excluded from the society by these products. The proposal is to create a toolkit and booklet to bring awareness to this issue, educate design students and give them the possibility to design for all.
The toolkit consists of objects that when worn, simulate vision,
hearing, physical, and cognitive disabilities. The students will be given instructions to use particular products while wearing the simulators, to experience the difficulties that people who don’t have full abilities encounter using the things we take for granted. The simulators will be very fashionable and desirable to the target group, breaking the stereotype that objects dedicated to disabled or elderly people having to be only functional, but not beautiful.
The booklet will present medical information needed to design for all in a concise and simple way, a methodology and economical possibilities of the inclusive design. It will include interviews with people who are not fully able bodied, giving a more personal view on the subject.
The booklet and toolkit will be presented to undergraduate design students through a series of workshops.

Natasa Perkovic
email: natasa_p@bih.net.ba