Have you ever bought a product or service but it could not fulfill the need for which it was designed for? This is what happens when the product designer cannot empathize with the need and thought of the final consumer.
It is imperative as a good design thinker to empathize and have a deep understanding of the people you are designing for.
Empathy in design thinking is a user based method that pays attention to the users reactions and feelings towards a certain product or service.Empathy means understanding the feelings, emotions and thought of the intended user.
It means imagining yourself in someone else’ shoes – feeling what they are feeling and seeing things from their point of view. It is the first step of the five stages in design thinking. Empathy is a determining factor in the success of any product. Any error in its implementation can be fatal.
The empathy stage of design thinking requires that you have a detailed understanding of the environment of your intended consumer. And you must take to account, the role these individuals play in their environment. How do they interact with theenvironment?Emphatic research as opposed to traditional marketing research, does not concern itself with people's facts (e.g. weight, height, hair color etc.), rather, it is driven by people's feelings, motivations and emotions. It simply wants to find out what makes people tick. A research that aims to find out the reasons people prefer to sit at home watching TV as opposed to going for a jog or run is an example of emphatic research.
Empathy in design thinking implies assuming a beginner's mindset, asking the WH questions (What-How-Why), conducting interviews with empathy, and building empathy with analogies.
Empathy is crucial to design thinking and it helps design thinkers to put aside their own notions and assumptions about the world so as to gain new insight into the world of their users, their needs and problems. This helps provide better solutions to these users.
As a designer, you must have the best possible understanding of the needs and problems of consumers. Only then, can you develop practical and usable products and services.Learn more about design thinking.
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