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Empathy and experience in HCI

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Pete Wright


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For a decade HCI researchers and practitioners have been developing methods, practices and designs 'for the full range of human experience'. On the one hand, a variety of approaches to design, such as aesthetic, affective, and ludic that emphasize particular qualities and contexts of experience and particular approaches to intervening in interactive experience have become focal. On the other, a variety of approaches to understanding users and user experience, based on narrative, biography, and role-play have been developed and deployed. These developments can be viewed in terms of one of the seminal commitments of HCI, 'to know the user'. Empathy has been used as a defining characteristic of designer-user relationships when design is concerned with user experience. In this article, we use 'empathy' to help position some emerging design and user-experience methodologies in terms of dynamically shifting relationships between designers, users, and artefacts.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wright PC, McCarthy JM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: CHI 2008: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Year of Conference: 2008

Pages: 637-646

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/1357054.1357156

Notes: This paper explores new methods of understanding users’ requirements based on research in art, design and social science. It is a development of concepts introduced in Wright and McCarthy Technology as Experience monograph (MIT press 2004). In particular, it explores a critical framework for understanding methodological developments in user research in HCI. Its importance lies in establishing an alternative model of user engagement, to underpin recent design-led user engagement methods. This paper was presented as a full paper at ACM CHI 2008 (Acceptance rate 22% 2008). 52 Citations (Google)

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item


ISBN: 9781605580111