Designers might spend multiple hours on design thinking, but all of it will serve none if the user is dissatisfied with the product. Empathy is the first step in design thinking because it is a skill that allows us to understand and share the same feelings that others feel. Through empathy, we can put ourselves in other people’s shoes and connect with how they might be feeling about their problem, circumstance, or situation. Hence, we will discuss the consequences of design without empathy. The quote below explains the same,
“We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.”
– Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute
Design be without empathy?
A few examples of design without empathy are the Whatsapp message deleted notification. The user is embarrassed if they do not want to grab any attention between them and the reader’s conversation.
Another example is Norman’s Door of Push and Pull. If both sides have a handle or no text, it confuses the user. But if only one of them has a handle, it is self-explanatory to pull the one with the handle and push the other side without the handle. If the door has text on it, it is helpful to observe and act or self it again confuses the user.
Excellent User Experience Designs look good, are usable, and make the Users feel happy. A design without empathy will look good but lacks its usefulness and the right emotions it wants to evoke in the user. The product should be functional, which means that when the user wants to accomplish a task, they should complete it without errors. The designer should consider the Users’ Individualities and predict the situation for a good user experience. After studying the user’s requirements, environment, and resources, the features need to be designed to make a product Usable, Functional, and good in looks.
Empathy and Design Thinking
The UX Design process moves through various phases, empathize-define-ideate-prototype-test. The first phase is EMPATHIZING with the user, which means putting yourself in their shoes to understand their pain points, motivations, needs, and feelings. In this phase, it is crucial to keep all the biases aside and give the user importance. UX Designers and UX Researchers conduct interviews, workshops, focus groups, camera recordings to get a perspective from the user’s point of view. They try to collect necessary data and analyse what will create the best User Experience through designs.
User-centered design is understanding what your users need, how they think, and behave – and incorporating that understanding into every aspect of your process.
Usability Testing and Empathy
Continue usability testing after the product has been rolled out and even before the launch. When certain discrepancies are found, it is vital to go back to the empathize phase to understand the mistakes in the design. The goal is to find the issues and target them with empathy.
For example, a slight tweak in design to allow the users to edit an item in the shopping cart of ZARA’s app has increased its success rate from 33% to 100%.
It’s not us versus them or even us on their behalf. For a design thinker, it has to be us with them.
As designers, the above quote should be a go-to rule and their motto. To design without empathy is to walk on the path of bad User Experience, and it increases the chance of a product’s failure. At Leadmotion, we believe that a design with no empathy isn’t possible. We ensure that we design products with empathy that prioritize the user. We also understand the business angle to help you capture the market and impress the user.