Why empathy is the most important skill for web designers?

Each of us interprets the concept of empathy in its own way. In general, this is the ability to briefly move away the only true and undeniable beliefs and look at the world through the eyes of another person, walk around in his shoes, experience his anxiety with him and feel what he feels. This is the most important interpersonal communication skill not only for web designers, but also for writers, executives, teachers and many other professionals whose work is directly related to communication with people. However, empathy is not only an intellectual understanding of the feelings of another person. It is much more.

Each of us interprets the concept of empathy in its own way. In general, this is the ability to briefly move away the only true and undeniable beliefs and look at the world through the eyes of another person, walk around in his shoes, experience his anxiety with him and feel what he feels. This is the most important interpersonal communication skill not only for web designers, but also for writers, executives, teachers and many other professionals whose work is directly related to communication with people. However, empathy is not only an intellectual understanding of the feelings of another person. It is much more.

If you spend all your free time reading articles one after another on website design or website creation, you will undoubtedly often come across the word empathy. The activity of web designers is built around the user. Their main task is to understand and logically explain how people will use their design, what they will think and feel at the same time, and how else it can be improved. To do this, portraits of clients are created, their movement is tracked in the conversion scenario, and empathy cards are created. For a deeper understanding of the client, focus groups are created, various consumer tests and tests for emotional response are conducted. But even using all these techniques and tools, you cannot be sure that you will experience empathy with your customers.

What to do?

As already mentioned, empathy can be defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person." Yes, you can say that you understand and understand the feelings of your consumers or target audience, but you are unlikely really share these feelings. Often, you just do not have enough experience, and you invent them.

In order to sincerely empathize with another person, you must either be intimately familiar with him, or have a similar experience or situation. That is why it is much easier to make a website design, having in my head a portrait of a good friend who fits into the framework of the target audience. You know what he likes, what he wants and what he fears. And it is quite another thing to develop a website for some abstract, half-invented ideal customer, whose problems and desires you have never encountered. Of course, such a character has the right to exist, but he will never cause you empathy.

Returning to the real world

Of course, this problem would not have seemed so difficult and serious if we lived in a world of endless budgets and unlimited time, where ethnographic research techniques can be used, spent a lot of time with the target audience and fully immerse ourselves in their experience and experiences. However in real the world almost never happens. Often, your project has neither the money nor the time for such a luxury. Where do you end up?

You are left alone with your own experience. And the more diverse your impressions and relationships with people, the greater the chance that you will come to create a product for one of your friends or on the basis of a personally experienced problem.

At Nike, the people who develop the sneakers are runners themselves. And even if the marketing campaign completely fails, it will still be cool and comfortable sneakers.

Many modern web designers prefer to work at home, which is why all communication with management and other employees has to be done via the Internet. Such employees, as a rule, have minimal contact with representatives of the target audience of their projects, do not interact with colleagues and are not interested in the company’s activities. For them, there is nothing but their own area of ​​work where they think they are smarter than everyone else.

Imagine that the pet store website was ordered by such an employee, but he does not like animals. Then - online bicycle shop, although he hates bikes and always walks on foot. Moreover, he actively avoids athletes, because his wife went to one of these "jock-shows". No magic techniques and rewards in the field of marketing and psychology will allow him to feel empathy towards people whom he does not understand or even despise. What to do in this case? The answer is simple - work on yourself.

How to experience empathy in a world of many customers?

Of course, it is impossible to be interested in all possible topics or make friends with all existing user groups. Despite this, you can try to expand your worldview.

Unfortunately, in the modern world it is very difficult to do. In the era of individualization, personal communication with people is increasingly depreciated by pseudo-communication on the Internet. The network constantly hosts a variety of meetings, conferences, events and online discussions. The problem is that web professionals are often completely locked in their web bubble.

Many experts have a wide range of dating only on the Internet. It often happens that they have no one to sit in a cafe or go for a walk on the weekend. With such a low level of socialization, it is very difficult for these workers to experience empathy, and they completely withdraw into themselves.

Expand your social circle

Hopefully, in your daily life, you still meet a lot of people. Probably belong to any club or community, go to certain places.

While working on any project, remember someone from your environment. Do not think how a hypothetical ideal client would react. Imagine how your friend reacted. You can get his opinion and ask any questions if something is unclear to you. Such an approach will really help in achieving empathy, not only with your friend, but with the entire target audience. And yet - not limited to one person. Expand your dating. Think about how to get more experience and impressions.

Get new experience

George Orwell (author of the novels "1984" and "Animal Farm") received a quality and privileged education at Eton College. Then he became a police officer in a colony in Burma, after which he decided to fill his gap in knowledge about the life of British workers. He ended his life on the streets of London, seeking to expand his ideological horizons. Diverse life experience not only made him more sensitive to the problems of diverse groups of people, but also served as the basis for his magnificent works.

Orwell understood that his origin limited his life experience, and he found a way to change it. You can do the same. Of course, you should not move to live on a city street. Instead, try a few days to live without a mobile phone and the Internet, sign up for a new creative or sports studio, radically change visited establishments, attend several parties or find a new hobby.

Expand your interests, go beyond web design and internet technologies. Go travel or do some charity work. Meet new people and get a new experience that you could never get.

Save yourself a bookmark article on self-development and begin to apply the data in it tips in practice

On the Internet there are a large number of step-by-step recommendations for improving life. Most often they can be found on social networks, where the groups on success and self-development are very popular. I advise you to read at least one of them and try to apply the recommendations given in it, in practice. This will significantly expand your horizons and improve the quality of life.

To understand what is at stake, I suggest reading the article "60 actions that will improve your life in the next 100 days" (in fact, there are many similar materials on the Internet, perhaps some other tutor will suit you more).

The original version of this article appeared on Lifehacker’s blog at the end of May and immediately virally spread across various blogs and social networks. The author distributes 60 actions in several different areas of life: home, finance, personal development, happiness, relationships, health, time management, social environment. Here are a couple of examples from there:

  • "Learn something new every day. For example, the name of a flower, the capital of a distant country, the name of a dog you like, etc."
  • “Communicate every day for the next 100 days with someone new. It could be your neighbor, with whom you have never communicated before, your blog comment, where you have never written anything before, a new acquaintance on social networks, etc. . "

And yet, why designers need empathy so much?

Web designers by the specifics of their profession see the Internet space differently than ordinary users. Communicating with representatives of your target audience in each case will contribute to the birth of new ideas and approaches, help you find a common language with the audience, understand their technological experience and their needs.

Stop using the bubble of your well-established beliefs, stop making up the needs of other people. You need to understand what your target audience really feels. You will be shocked by how different your pictures of the world can be. Become one of them. Separate their fears, anxieties, and desires. And remember, empathy is your best competitive advantage.

Watch the video: Most Important Skill Required for UX Professionals (March 2020).

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