University of Oulu

Hu, X., Casakin, H., & Georgiev, G. (2023). BRIDGING DESIGNER-USER GAP WITH A VIRTUAL REALITY-BASED EMPATHIC DESIGN APPROACH: CONTEXTUAL INFORMATION DETAILS. Proceedings of the Design Society, 3, 797-806. doi:10.1017/pds.2023.80

Bridging designer-user gap with a virtual reality-based empathic design approach : contextual information details

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Author: Hu, Xinhui1; Casakin, Hernan2; Georgiev, Georgi V.1
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu
2School of Architecture, Ariel University
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Cambridge University Press, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-31


Without shared experiences, empathy gaps between designers and users are difficult to bridge. Advancing Virtual Reality (VR) has shed new light on this regard by enabling designers to simulate and experience their users’ living scenarios in a virtual environment (VE). However, implementing VR-based empathetic design approach requires dealing with critical design questions, such as: (1) whether VR operators can develop empathy for unfamiliar user groups solely based on objective experience and (2) whether VR operators can utilize task-irrelevant contextual information in the VEs. To explore these issues, we designed an experiment based on two VEs with varying levels of detail that simulated the scenes viewed by people with red-green color vision deficiency (CVD). Participants were randomly assigned to either detail-rich or detail-simple VEs to complete neutral item-searching tasks. Results indicate that objective and neutral experience alone cannot elicit empathy towards users, and VR operating designers will utilize task-irrelevant contextual information.

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Series: Proceedings of the Design Society
ISSN: 2732-527X
ISSN-E: 2732-527X
ISSN-L: 2732-527X
Volume: 3
Pages: 797 - 806
DOI: 10.1017/pds.2023.80
Host publication: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23), Bordeaux, France, 24-28 July 2023
Conference: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Number H2020-856998), and the Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship (Grant number 346208).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 346208
Detailed Information: 346208 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.