Studying UI/UX and conversational marketing has brought something to my attention, and it’s been hard to accept.
I’ve discovered I have not been practicing empathy — empathy in design at least.
I’m familiar with the concept of empathy, and how to be empathetic with others and their situation, but I hadn’t thought about it with design.
In marketing and in StoryBrand, we talk about the empathy the guide has, which is the reason they are able to help the hero succeed. They know the journey to success can be difficult, and that's why they want to help you.
“People ignore design that ignores people”.
– Frank Chimero
But I didn’t realize design needed empathy, too. After going through courses on Team Treehouse and HubSpot Academy, I realized that to be a better designer/marketer, I need to put myself in the shoes of ROI Online’s users/customers. I need to quit designing for a single persona, but rather design for a person, a real-life human, with real-life problems.
I started to ask myself, “What problems are these people facing on a daily basis, not just online, but in their lives as well? And how can I help them solve their problem?”
Empathy is about discovering how we can empower someone. It’s about more than designing a beautiful website or awesome marketing piece that gets the job done.
I recently read a quote from Benjamin Evans, inclusive design lead for Airbnb, in an article from Invision about experiencing different places/cultures. He said, “and I’m reminded that my lens is not The Lens.”
This quote resonated with me deeply. We think the way we see things is the only way to see things. We think we are the voice of everyone because we are designers because we know what looks good. Therefore, we create sites/products and design things that we think are great, that solves issues for others.
This type of thinking becomes problematic because as we grow and experience life, we realize that the way we see things isn’t the way everyone else sees things.
The way we solve problems needs to become a combination of “how do I solve the visual problem I have been tasked with while also helping a person who has their own unique problems?”
I, for one, can admit the times in my life I’ve been wrong, which, if you ask my fiancé, is all the time!
When I got started in design, I thought it was about making things look visually appealing — that was how you solved the problem.
I thought that just because another designer and myself thought it looked great, then it must be.
I’ve realized lately that it’s so much more than just understanding how to solve a design problem; it’s about solving a behavior problem; what might work for me may work differently for someone else with an entirely different background.
Having a beautiful site that doesn’t help others is pointless. You didn’t take the time to understand the needs of your user, and now you have a site that alienates the demographic you are looking to cater to.
Going into 2019, I told myself that I would pay more attention to others, how they interact with things, and how they see the world.
We should all take the time to experience new perspectives; we should take the time to embrace other cultures and truly experience the world around us instead of living in our own little world.
Make yourself uncomfortable and see how others feel. Embrace the new, embrace the weird, and find ways to help others through that understanding.