Business by itself is all about logic and rational decisions. Not too much space for sentiment here, most would agree. Add technology to that, which has some dehumanizing tendencies of its own and, if you are not careful, it is pretty possible to end up detached from your customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll forget about them, but simply that you’ll not be focused on one extremely important aspect which actually leads customers interaction with your business. We are talking about emotions, of course.
Namely, emotional engagement is what makes a difference between products or services which are to become popular or easily forgotten.
Behind the scenes, motivation for anything is actually driven by emotions.
If you want to engage emotions, you have to be open to truly understand your users. Or, to use a common phrase – you should be willing to actually ‘put yourself in your user’s shoes’. In other words, in order to achieve real insight and appreciation of users needs, you should empathize with them. Empathy is the way to gather info needed for relevant design, its implementations, as well as possible innovations.
Empathic approach leads to products which trigger emotions and engage your users.
How users emotionally react to your product is closely related to a lot of things – their age, gender, cultural group, education, etc. As a designer, you should always be open to challenge your assumptions and perspectives. So, if you want to make an actual change, begin with getting rid of preconceived ideas of how your product is supposed to look like and start empathizing with your users. If you want an obvious example which illustrates the power and importance of empathy with your users, think about designing for people who suffer some kind of impairment. Here, dedication to feel and understand users problems is of a special importance.
At the end, it is not enough for designer to empathize with users, the idea is to implement things which will make lives easier. So, don’t forget: users are people, made of blood, feelings and needs. Appreciate this, and enjoy designing.