Design begins with empathy.” I recently wrote that on the board during a class for students in the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. I thought it might help them write better briefs. I got the idea from Ilse Crawford, whose work as an interior designer can be seen all over the world—from airport lounges in Hong Kong, to fancy restaurants in London, to pear-shaped stools at IKEA. In Crawford’s view, “empathy is a cornerstone of design.”1 She thinks it is important to understand the spaces and products she creates from the perspective of the people who will use them. How easily can a busy waiter pick up a chair and move it to the other side of the table? How quickly can a jet-lagged traveler settle into a daybed and start to relax? What exactly do people use a ceramic pitcher to pour?
Barry, Patrick. "Editing and Empathy." Mich. B. J. 97, no. 5 (2018): 42-3.