Past work has demonstrated that simulating an extraordinary user scenario could have an impact on increasing designer empathy and creativity. It is likely, however, that an individual’s background could make a difference on how such simulated scenarios influence designers and how well the design method works. In this paper, we study the impact of demography and personal connection of the participants to any given simulated scenario versus their response to different empathic simulation workshops. With a variety of design tools and techniques available, understanding such influencing factors could help designers decide on the appropriate design tool for effective ideation. In this study, we investigated the effect of 81 (49 female and 32 male) users from three different workshops that simulated three different extraordinary user scenarios. Results of the study show that personal connection to a population being simulated significantly affects the impact a simulated scenario has on evoking creativity and empathy. And, for the given set of participants, gender did not show significant impact on the participants’ response.

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