The design process: Why empathy is crucial to the user experience

Friday, November 6, 2015

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One of the best ways to develop a great user experience is to empathize with your audience. With the growth of options for developing digital designs, the limitations on how you can render the experience have dropped significantly. With that, however, there have been plenty of people pushing the envelope on these capabilities. Digital designs have become faster, more flexible and more capable. With so many options, the responsibility of the designer has grown.

Designers that have no boundaries can find it difficult to reign themselves in. Often, the best designs are those created within the most restrictive boundaries. Therefore, it is very easy for a digital design to get away from a designer very quickly.

In order to create a manageable, effective digital design, the designer must consider:

  • the formats their design will take
  • the different devices on which their audience will consume their data
  • the type of data that is being presented to their audience

Lastly, and most importantly, they should consider their user expectations.

Typically, these digital designs will be websites or web applications. Some other formats may come up, but the consideration of your user’s expectation should be a fundamental rule when developing your design. If designing a simple, flat website that houses data to be retrieved by a user quickly, you don’t want to bury it under multiple levels of navigation. If you are building a linear narrative that should be engaged in a set order, you want to offer direction to your user and not pigeonhole their experience into a design that’s not engaging.

These are broad, generic examples, but the idea behind them applies to the concept of empathizing with your audience. If you can empathize with your user and their expectations, you should be able to develop stronger experiences for them.

Besides empathy, what other variables do you think are crucial to digital design? Let us know at @IntrinzicSays.