The foundation for creating a successful product - Empathizing Users

Let's see what empathy means and how it can help you in product development. As you explore it, you'll learn why your products fail, and how you can empower UX designers to create truly human-centric products.

What is Empathy ?

Empathy is the ability to understand another person's feelings and thoughts. It means you can see what others see, feel what others feel, and experience things in the same way that others do.

However, you must differentiate between the two concepts of empathy and sympathy because they are sometimes confused.

When we empathize, we share our emotions by embracing the other person's side, making others feel connected to us. Sympathy, on the other hand, is an emotion that you want to express to others through regular care.

Why Empathy is Important?

Empathy is the first step of the design thinking process 

Empathy is the first key stage in being able to identify customer’s needs and therefore create strategies to solve their problems in order to make life easier. 

Empathy is how UX design achieves its goals.

The main purpose of UX Design is to deliver the best user experience possible. Empathy skills enable UX Designers to comprehend the user and penetrate the client's paint point to find answers to problems. The designer's purpose in UX Design is to not only appeal to the user's eyes, but also to empower them to experience.

It will be quite challenging if we do not have empathy abilities in UX Design, because we will have to work through scenarios such as:

  • Select a font size that is appropriate for older readers.
  • How can people with vision impairments improve their experience?

Empathy is essential for business success.

Empathy can also be viewed as an important part of business solutions when looking at things from a profit viewpoint. Business solutions don’t work if you develop them with individual tools instead of learning users. 

Nokia is an example of a company that doesn't understand its users. Nokia before its market failure was a monopoly in the mobile phone industry. However, Nokia's era ended with the launch of smartphones because Nokia was overconfident in their value to customers.According to Nokia's biased evaluation of customer needs, users will never embrace touch-screen phones, so the company decided to keep developing the QWERTY keypad layout. Nokia lost market share because of its lack of consumer empathy, whereas Apple and Samsung have very defined strategies for identifying and understanding users' desires.

There are three important factors that define a successful product or service according to many innovators, educators and entrepreneurs: desirability, feasibility and viability.

It is not sufficient to have the technology (it is feasible) and to be able to make money or get business advantages (it is viable). It's important for users to feel that a solution is desirable. When customers’ needs, experiences, wants, and preferences are properly recognized, we can only build a desirable product or service.

Iphone is a great example of this. The old telephones had only a calling equipment and basic physical buttons. With the invention of the iPhone, a technological problem was solved as well as an entirely desirable and feasible experience. As a result, Apple was able to maintain its market-leading position for many more years while also making large profits.

Capi Product's process for empathizing users.

At Capi, we believe that empathy is one of the most critical components in the successful completion of any project with our clients. And this is the process by which we find empathy with our users.

  1. Interview

When we receive customer briefs, we will actively approach users and conduct face-to-face interviews with people who represent a group of consumers we want to survey, then record their feelings and thoughts in the form of reports to analyze and come up with design solutions.

Here is an example from Capi Product's interview:

Name: Anna

Situation: Anna is a 23-year-old who lives in Miami, US. Because she works in an office, shopping through e-commerce sites is very frequent, from food to clothes. She often orders things to the office address, because her time there is longer

[UX Researcher] Can you describe your current work situation and what time do you usually order? 

[Anna] I work as an officer. I'm in a relationship so my time is pretty tight, I usually order when I have free time and usually I also surf e-commerce sites.

[UXR] What difficulties do you have when shopping at traditional stores?? How does this make you feel?

[Anna] Like I said, my time is very limited. I work all day and in the evening I want to spend time with my friends. So taking the time to go to the shops is quite difficult for me. And if I go to a store to buy what I want, I will have to go to a lot of stores to buy it all. For example, if I want to buy clothes and want to buy juice at the same time, I will have to go to two different stores.

Instead I can buy anything at e-commerce sites, and by the time the items are delivered, I can do a lot of things. Moreover, I can compare many products of different stores, check the price and can ask employees for more information.

[UXR] Is there any way in which you feel these challenges could be resolved?

[Anna] The solution was that somehow, there was a store that had everything I needed and liked, and it was right next to my house. And of course the simpler way is an e-commerce site.

  1. Empathize Map.

We will organize the information into a table named "Empathize Map" once we receive a full report on the interview. This is a tool to assist Capi Product in understanding user demands and behavior. This table is divided into four squares and displays four different aspects Does, Says, Thinks, and Feels.

  1. Create customer persona and conduct the project.

After understanding the user, the customer's persona will be presented, assisting us step by step in completing the product per the customer's request.

Below is an example of Capi Product research process to find out the user problem in the Ayan project of fashion e commerce application. Read more

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