In empathic design and co-design, stakeholders play a crucial role in the design process. Mattelmäki, Vaajakallio, & Koskinen (2014) asserted that at first, cultural probes inspired empathic design. Through an interpretive exercise, empathic designers immerse themselves in understanding the user by interviewing people and learning about their emotions and needs before the design process. Then, designers followed a Co-design concept where the attention shifted from experience-driven user studies to focus on the social aspects of stakeholders. Mattelmäki, Vaajakallio, & Koskinen (2014) stated that “The practice and the mindset remained the same, but research was geared to finding ways to inspire and sensitize not only designers, but also other stakeholders” p. (76).
I believe involving the stakeholders in the design process is justifiable in order to design solutions that serve their needs and emotions but, what happens when the end-users do not have the knowledge or skill to participate in a design process, or when the end users have no foundation on which to formulate their opinions. How can empathic design help in this case? How can we design solutions for these end-users?
Mattelmäki, T., Vaajakallio, K., & Koskinen, I. (2014). What Happened to Empathic Design? Design Issues, 30(1), 67–77. https://doi-org.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/10.1162/DESI_a_00249