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Aaron Gustafson – Designing with Empathy – beyond tellerrand 2013 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Designing with Empathy
"Every decision we make affects the way real people experience our products. We’ve all heard the rallying cry for user-centered design, but even those of us who ascribe to that ideal often fall back on our own biases and instincts when it comes to making decisions about how people experience our content and our services. Sadly, this often means we make decisions we think will be good for our "users"—that anonymous, faceless crowd—rather than actually trying to understand the perspectives, surroundings, capabilities, and disadvantages of the actual people who we are here to serve. In this session, Aaron Gustafson will explore why empathy is a good thing, how empathy empowers creativity, and how we, as a community, can inject more empathy into our work."

  • I'm a code guy

  • It's easy to get caught up in the technology and forget about the people

  • Discovery of Mirror Neurons - allow us to empathize

  • About Design - various types of designers

    • we think of design as art, is not the same

    • art is self expression

      • ego is a bad designer

    • design is solving problems

  • art influences design

  • design to communicate not alienate

    • not to show off

    • solving problems

  • design = Creativity for communication - is bidirectional

  • this is where empathy comes in - helps us communicate with others

    • definition

  • Empathy requires:

    • us to listen

      • better understanding and trust

    • questioning - probe deeper

      • establish a connection

    • observation - helps to see people in real time

    • looking behind the situation - the root of the problem, doesn't be reactionary

    • perspective is everything - what do you need - see the person and their needs

    • empathy begins with vulnerability

    • trust makes vulnerability 

  • Empathy definition

    • the capacity for having empathy

  • Imagine an ideal society

  • "Empathy is about showing solidarity with others who have a one and online life on this planet" Jeremy Rifkin

  • Egalitarianism

    • Solidarity

    • Communication: allows for a global community

    • empathy seems like the antithesis of selfishness

    • selfishness is survival instinct - source of empathy

    • we are able to empathize by seeing ourselves in others

  • Mirror neurons

  • we create Personas - meet customers empathize at a distance

    • models of people - want to be able to empathize with people

    • may overdo it with too much info about person

    • may turn them into a 'stereotype user

  • User Scenarios = situational empathy (with their surroundings)

    • call out relevant facts

    • We want info on them

      • goals

      • needs

      • circumstances

      • outside influences

      • distractions

    • empathize in a productive way

  • Empathy - How to do it?

    • performance budgets

    • appropriate content

    • physical limitations

    • etc

  • comes down to the golden rule


Breaking Development: Designing with Empathy by Luke Wroblewski
"In his presentation at Breaking Development in Nashville TN Aaron Gustafson highlighted the importance and value of considering design decisions from the perspective of your customers. Here's my notes from his talk on Designing with Empathy."



Aaron Gustafson - Designing with Empathy - BDConf, April 2013 from BDConf on Vimeo.