Exploring the Emotional Experience of the user and Designer, Both in the Design Process and Classroom

Cliff Shin, Joyce Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As radical changes in products are driven by improvements in technology and rapid manufacturing processes, the experience of the designer in the designing process also undergoes changes. Exploring this future in a departure from traditional classroom project experience, a fourth year industrial design studio utilizes a ‘design sprint’, including rapid paced design thinking towards human-centred products for the future. Student teams sought to understand user needs, diverge and converge ideas, and prototype their innovations in a fast-paced implementation of the design process. Traditional design techniques were incorporated along with empathic modeling and exploring the emotional curve (irrational/rational). These methods are particularly useful in order to find out how people experience a variety of emotional phases in the use of a product and to discover where users’ frustrations peak. Frequently people have a pre-conceived perception about the ease or enjoyable uses of a product based on the result of its use, and fail to understand that there might be pain points in the process that could be better resolved. Student teams reviewed each other at stage-gates twice a week with the reviewers choosing which concepts would go forward. Forty initial concepts were funnelled into one final deliverable with the team evaluating the emotional impact of their design and who benefits from it. Student takeaways included problem finding/solving, articulating ideas, collaboration, trust, and developing a shared vision. This paper discusses the design validation tools of empathic modeling and the emotional curve (irrational/rational) as well as the design sprint process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2267-2274
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
StatePublished - 2015


  • Design thinking
  • Emotional curve
  • Empathic modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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