When I first started thinking about empathy in design I couldn’t help but think about empathy in real-life. When were we first taught the concept of empathy? Was it during a sibling rivalry or while sharing a snack with a friend? Since jumping into this series, I’m seeing the topic of empathy everywhere I look – in video advertisements, conversation, and books (Thanks, Baader-Meinhof phenomenon!).
HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE BAADER-MEINHOF PHENOMENON?
If not the term, I bet you’ve experienced this phenomenon at least once this week!
What is empathy?
Though we may notice something in our everyday lives on a consistent basis, it can take a moment of reflection to see what the intention of that something is. So what is Empathy?
By definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Let’s break that down even further…
Understanding the perspective of others. Why they are feeling that way and what they are thinking. This might be seen in a brainstorming session during product development, or processing what a customer might be going through.
Feeling the other person’s emotions almost like your own. This isn’t always in relation to moments of sadness, it can be mirroring any emotion, such as a child’s joy or starting to laugh because someone else is laughing.
Being able to understand what the other person is going through and stepping in to find a way to help. My favorite of the three layers! We work with so many outstanding companies that are examples of having compassionate empathy.
Try it out!
WHEN I WAS THINKING ABOUT EMOTIONAL EMPATHY, I THOUGHT OF CONTAGIOUS LAUGHTER. IF YOU HAVE A FEW MINUTES, GIVE BRAIN FLOSSING A TRY:
We’ve had the privilege to work with so many great people and organizations that reach out to their community to meet them where they are at and give them a helping hand in a variety of ways.
As you start to see the topic of empathy more in your everyday movements, check out a few of our favorite projects that work to connect and inspire others.
Empathy in Practice
As you start to see the topic of Empathy more in your day-to-day routines, take another look through your website messaging. Have you been able to capture the perspective of your main user and flip that into a product or service that can help them?