In his article on Empathy and Products., Derek Vinebo said, “Empathy is the backbone of every great user experience. To build great products, you must be willing to understand what your users feel about the problems they have.”
There can’t be anything such as a user-centric product if empathy is missing.
Empathy is standing in the user's place and feeling what they feel so you can process the emotion to create a product that meets their demands.
When it comes to creating great user experiences, empathy allows us to understand not only our users' anxieties but also their pain, aspirations, doubts, constraints, and priorities. Understanding our users will enable us to design solutions that solve their problems and improve their lives.
Again, "...To build great products, you must be willing to understand what your users feel about the problems they have."
To rid yourself of assumptions you have made for users and transition to employing empathy to create products that are centered on the user, here are some tips to follow
Related article: Consumer Insights for Ideation in UX Design.
Confirm your ideas with your users
You should be able to always confirm your design ideas with your users and clients before working on the project; asking for their opinion on your thoughts will let you know what informs their decisions; you can even request a background story about the product they want to build.
Learn and Observe your User
Sometimes, your clients can tell you an incomplete story when defining their problems; most times, they do so because they don't understand what they want. It is up to the designer to figure out what the real issues are and come up with a solution. By monitoring the users, the designers can fill in the gaps in the product. And through empathy, designers can understand what they like, what motivates them to use that application, their pain points, and their frustrations.
Related article: How to Conduct a Successful Ideation Process in Design Thinking.
Look for the Insights of your user
Now, ask questions from the client from different angles, these questions are to provoke the thoughts of the User or make them simplify their explanations such that you can tap into their insights, those insights may be in raw form, but you give life to it for them, since you have been able to identify with their problems and expectations.