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A Framework for Fostering Compassionate Design Thinking During the Design Process

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.51.1 - 24.51.20



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Paper Authors


Priya Seshadri Purdue University

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Priya Seshadri is pursuing her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Prior to this, she completed MS in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and worked as a product engineer in the automotive industry for a year. Her research interests include design and design methodology.

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Tahira N. Reid Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Tahira N. Reid is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and is the director of the Research in Engineering and Interdisciplinary Design (REID) Lab. Her research interests include: developing methods to enhance the design process and that support the decision-making of engineers and designers in the design process. Prior to Purdue, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Mechanical Engineering department at Iowa State working in the Interdisciplinary Research in Sustainable (IRIS) Design Lab. In 2010, she received her PhD from the University of Michigan in Design Science, with Mechanical Engineering and Psychology as her focus areas. Dr. Reid received both her BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

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Joran W. Booth Purdue University

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Joran Booth is a graduate student at Purdue University, studying visualization and abstraction in design.

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Establishing A Framework for Design for CompassionProduct design and manufacturing have benefitted immensely by using Design for X (DfX)methods at various stages of the design process. Examples of DfX include Design for Assembly(DfA), Design for Manufacture (DfM), and Design for Quality (DfQ), to name a few. Thesemethods provide guidelines for improving product attributes based on objective information.Product attributes can also be improved through subjective information, namely customercentered data which can involve customer preferences. Various methods exist for capturingcustomer preferences and evaluations of products such as conjoint analysis, Kansei engineering,among others. However, there are customer experiences that are more sensitive in nature that gobeyond merely evaluating preferred product configurations through these typical methods.These experiences require compassion on the part of the engineer. User-centered designprinciples allow the designer to understand and integrate end-user data during the design process.Empathic design involves the engineer identifying with the challenges of the end-user which caninvolve simulating the end-user context to increase their understanding. These methods largelydepend on having direct access to the end-users. There may be instances in which access to end-users and the ability to directly identify with them may serve as a design constraint. Thus amethodology is needed for these design situations.This paper is intended to provide a framework for specifically doing Design for Compassion(DfC). DfC is proposed to be a tool that empowers the design engineer to incorporatecompassion factors into the process of design. We define compassion factors as physical orpsychological interventions that can serve to reduce/ eliminate discomfort (or distress) inindividuals during interaction with an artifact. We define compassionate design thinking as theability to think through, identify, and potentially implement compassion factors in the designprocess. In this work, we develop the DfC framework based on a survey of the literature and casestudies.

Seshadri, P., & Reid, T. N., & Booth, J. W. (2014, June), A Framework for Fostering Compassionate Design Thinking During the Design Process Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19943

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