#10: Customer, User, Human
A word on empathy
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I have a passion for Designing Experiences, as evident on my body of work, books I chose to read, knowledge I chose to absorb, and things I chose to pursue. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this line of work calls for a commitment to selflessness: it’s not about me.
If you are designing experiences (spatial, web, services, artificial intelligence et cetera), you absolutely can’t afford to be selfish. It will kill the integrity of your product. The fate of the design will highly depend on the level of care you have for your users. The word ‘empathy’ means a lot of things for a lot of people. It is almost imperative for you, as part of the builders/doers/makers, to let go of personal gains, otherwise your users will take the hit.
“Design problems are larger than the subjective experience of individual humans. While it is absolutely necessary to understand the lived reality of people to design for them, this is not sufficient. Sure, a lot of bad design starts from neglecting customer needs. Even more comes from failing to see the larger picture and one’s place in it.” From the Medium Post, “Everyday Empathy” by author, designer, researcher Erika Hall of Mule Design
Metrics don’t lie, and impressions don’t bend on opinions & politics. Less of those, and more of usefulness, ethics, transparency, inclusivity, efficiency, and many others. In an era where we are all, for the most part, highly dependent on softwares to do great stuff, (Customer) Experience should be the top priority. Notice how it’s not <big fancy job title> Experience.
Customer, user, human.
Don’t gamble on it by putting your interests on top of user needs. That is not what makes products great.
John Maeda articulated it best in this article:
“So what will I do with all this knowledge about the word “politically correct” and a solid questioning of whether empathy really matters or not? I guess my answer is — I think empathy does matter in the design of products today. And to Prior’s point, it doesn’t matter though if you’re not doing anything with it.”
- The Rabbit Hole of “Politically Correct”
We are all in the business of turning empathy into action. Perhaps, this is the most critical OKR of all.
Thank you for reading,