April 7, 2022

How Important is empathy in design?

Empathy is essential in design as it allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of our users. It will enable us to understand their problems and pain points and thus know how to solve them.

Any excellent design solution requires the ability to understand someone's troubles and build a solution consequently. Empathy is essential in design as it allows us to put ourselves in the shoes of our users. It will enable us to understand their problems and pain points and thus know how to solve them.

We may get ahead of ourselves and think of what would work best when designing. However, empathy makes us rethink, go back to our purpose, and let go of our assumptions. We return to who we are creating for and how can we help them best. Have you ever been to a website or app that doesn't have a clear direction and just leaves you more frustrated? This is designing without empathy.

Source of frustration

According to Statista, mobile apps last 5.8 days on our phones before they get deleted. Why the short life span? This happens mainly because the application failed to fulfill our needs. They left the same frustration unsolved, if not worsened it.

An out-of-touch approach in design that does not center on the user experience is bound to contribute to users' endless cycle of trial and error with the applications they install. When we fail to address users' problems, we are bound to go back to where we should begin—the users themselves.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand a problem that's not yours. Empathic people make great designers because they can see other people's perspectives and design better solutions.

Empathy is being able to discern what your users say they want or need and what they actually do, or the seemingly unconscious actions resulting from how their environments influence their behaviour.

In fact, there's a strong correlation between the term "empathy" & graphic design," according to Google Trends. This is because empathy is everywhere, especially in format.

How important is empathy?

Empathizing is the first phase of the design thinking process. It allows you to see beyond your own point of view & ask yourself why people think, feel or behave a certain way. Empathy is essential in a human-centred design approach since it allows designers to put their own ideas about the world aside and gain insight into their users' needs.

Here, we spend time establishing empathy, understanding, experiences, insights, and observations that will serve as the foundation for our projects. We can't emphasize enough how critical it is for designers like us to have a thorough grasp of our consumers, their demands, and the issues that prompted the need for the product or service we're attempting to create. Once we understand someone's frustration, we can work our way to designing a positive experience for the user.

Empathy vs. Sympathy

It's important to not confuse sympathy with empathy since both lead to different outcomes.

Sympathy looks at someone's situation with pity and sorrow, while empathy understands the situation & cares about solving the problem.

Sympathy, sometimes mistaken for empathy, refers to how we can feel or exhibit care for another's well-being. However, sympathizing does not necessitate a thorough understanding of what others are going through. Furthermore, sympathy is typically associated with sentiments of superiority and detachment. When we sympathize, we tend to transfer feelings of pity and grief onto another person. We care—and that's just that.

Empathy checklist

Pinpointing the source of people's frustration is not an easy task. However, some simple actions can help you find a particular problem:

  1. Listen
  2. Have casual conversations
  3. Gather feedback from a survey
  4. Monitor behaviour
  5. Analyze statistics
  6. Test before assuming

Unlike traditional marketing research, in empathic research, we are more concerned about their motivations and difficulties. We also go beyond this by unpacking their needs and desires and their current environment so we can better describe and explain their behaviours.

Empathy is more than just a soft or people skill. It can further be applied in the workplace and in pursuit of development and innovation. Involving users in the design process is essential for a successful project that stays true to its purpose to help people and solve problems. There is a reason and significance to it being the first stage in design thinking, and it is to help us ground our project for the people, from the people.