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What is Empathy and why does a product need it so much? 7 minutes to read


What is Empathy?

Understandably, Empathy is empathy for others, especially when I’ve been through a similar situation. I can see what that person sees, feels what he or she feels, you and your partner have been through the same experience. To understand our users, we need to let go of our personal prejudices, and focus on their problems and real needs.

According to IDEO’s Human-Centred Design Toolkit, when designing for the user, we need it “Deep understanding of the problems and situations that the person is facing”. In other words, the designer must consider the user’s surroundings, as well as their role and interaction with that environment.

Unlike traditional market research, empathy does not have much to do with facts, (such as the amount of weight or the amount of food they eat), but more about the facts. motivation (motivation) and thoughts (thoughts) of the customers (such as why they prefer to stay at home watching TV rather than going out to run). This is inherently subjective, because there will be many different interpretations, in finding out their true will compared to what they say.

What is the difference between Empathy & Sympathy?

Sympathy (sympathy), is a word that is easy to confuse with Empathy (empathetic). While Sympathy lies only in recognizing the pain or loss of others. When we are empathetic, we tend to have pity and pity on the other person rather than deeply understanding the feelings that the person is experiencing.

In experiential design, the most important thing is that we really get into the customer’s shoes, to find the right solution to their urgent needs. So when interviewing or chatting, we should not judge the user’s feelings and thoughts, but try to feel what they are feeling.

Why does product design need Empathy?

Stay away from consumerism

After the first industrial revolution, with the development of a series of machines and factories, the goods were produced in extremely abundant quantities. But the problem lies in them, that mess of goods, which obey a common quality standard, that is to “average” the needs of the vast majority of users and then produce it with the right hope. for everyone, all cases (one-size-fits-all).

However, this approach is one of the worst when designing a product for people. In 1940, the US Air Force saw a number of aircraft crashes up to 17 in a single day. Initially, the investigating agent assumed that the reason was because they switched to a different type of aircraft, which is more complex and faster. But after time, the real cause was simply because they designed the cockpit space, and the helmet size to fit the “average” person. After surveying, it is true that more than 4000 pilots, no one fits that “average” size.

Besides, a stinging problem that consumerism (consumerism) has put a lot of pressure on the environment, waste! So a product must have the Empathy factor, sustainably serving individual needs.

What they haven’t said yet

Most users for any reason will not express, or express wants exactly and completely. This requires designers, when developing products, need to learn how to exploit information to find insights hidden deep below the user’s actions.

In other words, Empathy is the means for us to understand our users through every small and “meaningless” action of our customers. For example, the way people have the habit of sticking glasses on shirts, or sticking colorful sticky notes with keys to distinguish. All of the above cases are most likely an opportunity for us to find a solution to help users.

A design example without Empathy: Google Glass

2013 has excited the tech community with the launch of the Google Glass, a device that’s wearable on the head the way we wear glasses. Equipped with a small screen on the glass to display information and we will use our voice to control Google Glass, in addition we can also use our hands to touch, swipe up on the touch to control. Google Glass controls.

Although it offers many functions such as: taking pictures, sending messages, and accessing weather information, directions, … However, Google Glass does not really solve the needs of users.

Imagine how ridiculous it would be in the middle of a crowd to say, “Okay Glass, send a message,” voice. This is something that is not common and is not yet accepted by society. Google lacks user understanding in customer communication environment.

In addition, Google Glass glasses also have a built-in camera, which seriously invades the privacy of those around them, because they do not know if they are being recorded or not.

The incubator understands the pain

A group of students at Stanford University came up with the idea of ​​designing incubators with low production cost and convenience that saved thousands of infant lives in remote locations.

Specifically, Embrace Warmer is a super portable incubator that wraps around and keeps a newborn baby warm. This makes sense because mothers had to send their babies to hospitals very far away. Newborn babies are completely unbearable, they need to be kept warm at a constant temperature, especially in the rural areas of India where infant mortality rates in the millions each. year.

It can be seen that the design team of the incubator Embrace Warmer has a real understanding and sympathy with the pain and loss of the mothers.

Instead of constantly patching small defects on the surface, and only effective in a short time, research and empathy to solve the root problems will contribute to a breakthrough product, a market. completely new before no one thought.

Empathy is something anyone can learn

Scientists believe that Empathy is a genetic element built into the human genetic code. Sympathy with neighbor is an innate skill, research has found that while one observes another action or goes through certain states, the brain of the observer experiences sensations as well. just like the observed.

Article: East East
Reference source:
Design Thinking: Getting Started with Empathy


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