Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How did you know I was thinking that!? Are you Empapathic?

Empathy gives us the ability to see the other person’s point of view. And when you think about it, there’s no more valuable skill for the working graphic designer than the capacity to see a client’s point of view. The objectivity that designers derive from an empathetic nature is invaluable.

From the Design Observer post by Adrian Shaughnessy, The Designer's Virus

I'm not a graphic designer but I'd say that a combination of keen empathetic and intuitive senses can give a designer a distinct competitive advantage over other designers.

I've been thinking a lot about empathy and how important it is to design.

  • What is the impact that empathy can and can't have on design?
  • Can empathy be developed? If so, how much? How do designers develop some kind of "design empathy" through their training and work?
  • Is empathy driven by user research and ethnography and such?
  • What about cognitive linguistics and cognitive science? Does learning about how humans think and learn and communicate develop empathy?
  • Can empathy in design and design-related training even be singled out, pinpointed, or directly referenced to?

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