The first step, based on design thinking principles is to narrow the needs of our users by empathizing. The purpose is to come up with an initial idea, and a hypothesis to establish our research.
¨Empathy is the capacity to step into other people’s shoes, to understand their lives, and start to solve problems from their perspectives. Human-centered design is premised on empathy, on the idea that the people you’re designing for are your roadmap to innovative solutions. All you have to do empathize, understand them, and bring them along with you in the design process¨.
– Emy Kolawole (https://www.designkit.org/mindsets/4)
It is fair to say that by putting ourselves in someone´s else shoes we might explore new aspects and sensations that have never happened or occurred to us. By emphasizing we strengthen our creative thinking, seeking solutions to overcome the problem or the problems. Empathic research allows you to see other contexts and to emotionally get insights into how people see, live, and feels.
The Scholar Teresa Wiseman established the 4 principles for empathizing:
- Taking on someone else’s perspective. When you share or take on the perspective of another person, you must also be able to recognize someone else’s perspective as truth.
- Being non-judgmental. When we judge another person’s situation, we discount their experience. Therefore, to take on the perspective of another person, you must put away your own thoughts, assumptions, and biases.
- Recognizing someone else’s emotion or understanding their feelings. Recognizing and understanding someone else’s emotions requires you to be in touch with your own feelings and to put yourself aside so that you can focus on the person in distress.
- Communicating your understanding of a person’s feelings. It is important to not only express your understanding of someone’s emotions or feelings but to also validate them. Validating someone’s feelings demonstrates that you accept, acknowledge, and understand them.
The next video describes the different types of interviews we can use for carrying out a user interview. User interviews are great resources to empathize with our users: https://www.youtube.com/embed/jy-QGuWE7PQ?feature=oembed
After watching the video, you can use the following template to plan your interview for the next task. The next task involves creating a user interview template to help you structure the information, prepare notes, and gathered information from your interview´s respondents.
The steps for creating a User Interview are:
Task 2. The next task will be to identify the challenges your users might be facing. For doing so:
- Identify who your users are (minimum 3)
- Interview your users and keep notes.
- Record (if possible) video and audio, to work later on the materials gathered. If the material is recorded it will allow you to come back as many times as possible to work on the insights.
- Based on the information obtained, structure the information and select some ideas for your design challenge; What are you trying to accomplish?
For further literature about empathy techniques, in this article, you can find a diversity of techniques and uses.