Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great Design Requires Good Listening: Six Keys To Become An Empathic Designer

Listening to the users ...

"You can tell a great designer from her ability to tune in, identify and deeply understand the needs and expectations of her design client. The greater this ability, the greater, in my experience, the likelihood of design success.

... "A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.” - Douglas Adams

Part of being a web designer is trying to understand and make sense of how people are using your design. Therefore, being empathic, or having the ability to share and understand the feelings of another, is a valuable trait to have.

The more empathic you are, the more you can understand how people are using your design, how they think and feel about it, and what you need to do to make it great.

But How Do You Become Empathic?

What if you’re not naturally an empathic person? Here are a few things I try to keep in mind when I feel like I’m getting too far away from the people I design for.

1) Keep an Open Mind

It is a great irony that the people who claim to have open minds probably have closed ones, and the people who fear most a closed mind probably have the most open ones. But fear in this case is an enabler, as it allows the designer to keep up their energy and watchfulness for something new, something they didn’t understand before, something that is key to the success of their design. Once you have everything figured out, it’s time to stop designing."    (Continued via Robin Good, Joshua Porter)    [Usability Resources]

Open Mind - Usability, User Interface Design

Open Mind


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