I learned to solve the problem from a different perspective. Our user was bothered by her double life of STEM and History. She studied the former only to cater to the job market, feeling stressful and tending to procrastinate when studying STEM. History is her interest, but her family doesn’t encourage her to pursue it as a career goal.
At first, I was very unsure about what we could design for her because the only way to settle the conflict from its root seems to be reforming the job market or changing her parent’s mind, which is not a practical design. I was very surprised when we found 3 ways to help her: a non-stain mug, a communicable notebook, and an AI tutor system. Brainstorming without judgment or critique helped a lot. Crazy ideas like cloning and time-travelling bubbled up. We incorporated some exciting ones, like the robot one, into our design. I noticed how our design changed from a rough idea to a solid prototype. I enjoyed how we reviewed the feedback from our user and made improvements. I would never imagine that we could design amazing things when I stepped into the classroom. This trial definitely built my confidence.
I also learned to empathize better. After the interview, I felt very unsure about how to make a change. I even felt a little desperate because the problem Catherine’s dealing with is tough. I understood that being empathetic is putting yourself in a vulnerable position and although philosophically speaking, our empathy is based on our perspective, which could only approach other’s feeling but never reach it, we can still try hard to step forward and narrow the gap.