One of the critical tasks in product design is to map information from the consumer space to the design space. Currently, this process is largely dependent on the designer to identify and map how psychological and consumer level factors relate to engineered product attributes. In this way current methodologies lack provision to test a designer’s cognitive reasoning and could therefore introduce bias while mapping from consumer to design space. Also, current dominant frameworks do not include user-product interaction data in design decision making and neither do they assist designers in understanding why a consumer has a particular perception about a product. This paper proposes a new framework — Cyber-Empathic Design — where user-product interaction data is acquired via embedded sensors in the products. To understand the motivations behind consumer perceptions, a network of latent constructs is used which forms a causal model framework. Structural Equation Modeling is used as the parameter estimation and hypothesis testing technique making the framework falsifiable in nature. To demonstrate the framework and demonstrate its effectiveness a case study of sensor integrated shoes is presented in this work, where two models are compared — one survey based and using the Cyber-Empathic framework model. It is shown that the Cyber-Empathic framework results in improved fit. The case study also demonstrates the technique to test a designers’ cognitive hypothesis.

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