Topic: Design for everyone

Empathy exercise




To experience empathy for someone who is vision impaired.


Empathy is the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, see things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they must be feeling.
As the saying goes ‘try to walk in someone else’s shoes’, empathy exercises let you experience what it might be like to be someone else.
Empathy helps us as designers gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of people’s emotional and physical needs, and the way they see, understand, and interact with the world around them. By having empathy for our users we can help better design products for their needs as we are able to understand them better.


  • Scarf or blindfold
  • Friend or family member
  • Safe place



Impaired Vision
Using a blindfold, cover your eyes. You can also use a scarf.


Have a friend/ parent / sibling lead you around a familiar area. Make sure that you hold onto your friend’s arm, be careful that you are not being pushed or pulled. Instead let your friend ‘guide’ you around and follow their lead.


What did you notice?
What could you hear / feel / touch /smell? What was it like?
What did you learn from it?
Can you list the situations when it might be difficult for a person to see?
This could be a permanent disability such as vision impaired or maybe it is a temporary situation such as being in a low lit room.

Alternative exercise:

1. Take an old pair of glasses and cover the lenses and sides of the glasses with waxed paper to experience blurred vision.
2. Take your favourite book and try to read it while wearing your “new eyes”.