Take the EmPATHy Less Travelled

In the design world, there are many technical terms, programs to learn, business models to follow and research to be had. In all the humdrum of gathering and supporting data from prospective and current clients, there are many key factors that go into the crockpot that is our design model and processes.

Although I find all these variables an integral part of the design process, I find that most of the planning, executing and editing comes from Empathy. To first understand this, one must look at what Empathy really is. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This is not to be confused with sympathy, which suggests feelings of pity or sorrow towards someone’s misfortune.


In society, perhaps empathy doesn’t suggest a particularly strong attribute to posses. It may suggest weakness or frailty towards the person’s character. I find this to be absolutely the opposite. Being able to utilize this strategy as a means to really mind ninja your client. With this tool, you can see what they crave, what they need – without them even knowing it.

With constant visual and audio being barraged into our lives. Innovation comes first from the eye and the ability to observe, listen and pick up on cues that other’s may pass over without a second look. There are five Key components that those who have defined what Empathic design is and have broken it down to: Observation, Capturing data, Reflection and Analysis, Brainstorming for Solutions and Developing prototypes for possible solutions.


Empathy is the strongest weapon in my arsenal and one of the most underestimated. I love acting as a detective to get to the heart of what the person wants for their product. Furthermore, This includes the user who plays an inherent role in the affair. Understanding that if you place certain elements of a design in a space where the user will be able to locate it , usually without them even realizing it is incredibly satisfying.

For example, I’m sure right now you’re feeling that there’s a lot of text on this page so maybe you’ll skip to the end or stop reading altogether. I am aware of this so I have broken this arduous text up with funny little pictures to keep you engaged. See? Empathy at work, people.


I think its essential that we become part of our work and not disassociated. Fragmented, it may not work as a whole and with many different people and personalities on one project, its important that its main themes and goals are cohesive as one. If we all just take a moment to attempt to understand someone, the ability to create happy customers, clients, patients, co-workers and really anyone we interact with can be enhanced and thus creates a more successful business and a more successful you.