In this paper, we propose an immersive empathic design method and used it to create an interactive high-resolution core visualization system for real-world geological core drilling expeditions. A high domain knowledge barrier makes it difficult for a person from outside this field to imagine the user experience simply through observation. The globally distributed nature of the core drilling community imposes further design constraints. We used this approach to embed a computer scientist trained as a junior core technician. This process allowed the developer to experience authentic user activities and enabled the design of an innovative system for solving real-world problems. This approach made the best use of precious co-located opportunities, overcame the initial domain knowledge barrier, and established a trust relationship between the developer and the domain scientists. The system designed through this approach formed a sustainable and adaptive foundation that the domain scientists can build on. Through in-situ deployment, observation and interview evaluations from on-going expeditions, we present the advantages of this process.
Keywords: HCI, Visualization, Empathic Design