Annie Lefforge is a designer interested in visual beauty and how it functions to make the world a better place. Currently at Handled.


This past Thursday, I was able to communicate in a 1:1 breakout session with Ella Mauck to learn more about her feelings on gift giving in order to create a low-fidelity solution to ease her pain points in the process.

Engaging with a real person was exciting and vulnerable. I felt like we easily and openly shared information with each other, but because of what little prior knowledge we had about the other, it was difficult to tell a complete story in less that eight minutes. I slowly began to see that Ella loves to give gifts, but feels she does not have the financial tools to purchase them as often as she would like.

With this in mind, I created several possible solutions: the “world’s best” lemonade stand, a machine that redistributes funding from billionaires to worthy causes (including Ella’s gift giving), and a wildly successful design firm.

One thing I found difficult was letting go of my own favorite ideas in favor of Ella’s preferences. As I mentioned in Defining Empathy, human centered design is about letting go of our own personal biases and viewing concepts through the lens of the community (or person) we are designing for. Ella liked the lemonade stand, so I iterated on that idea to create a lemonade food truck funded by billionaires. In this way, I combined several different solutions into one based on Ella’s feedback during our discussions.

I really enjoyed the process of interviewing in order to produce a prototype and am anxious to see the same steps applied to class projects over a longer time period. Exercising empathy and being of service to others is something that is critical to me; I am excited to see how similar concepts function in my design process.

AUG 2020