Why Empathy Matters in UX

An empathic approach is intrinsic to the success of every project a User Experience designer takes on. Without the ability to understand and share the feelings of our users, we’d be making blind assumptions and decisions without any basis in their reality. Empathy gives us the ability to imagine ourselves as our users and better understand their emotions, reactions and overall experience with our products.

Before we can do that, we must first learn who we need to empathise with. When we successfully define who our users are and tailor our products to help them achieve their goals more efficiently and enjoyably, everyone wins! It may take time to have a comprehensive understanding of this and it’s frustrating when months of research are seemingly thrown away when they react unexpectedly to something painstakingly designed for them, but it’s important to remember that this is all part of the iterative process. Gradually building on previous insights will offer the best results over time. If you try not to take things personally (this can be hard!) and see every result: positive or negative, as simply more useful information to lead your users to success, you’ll be more enthusiastic when you learn new things about them.

The American inventor Thomas Edison said it well :

“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”

At the end of the day, no fancy marketing techniques or Photoshop filters can hide how your users react to your design. If you’ve put yourself in their shoes, earnestly care about their goals and have the skills to make it happen - a quality, user centric result is sure to follow. Don’t rush the process!