Building (more) empathy into your UX

“Never create an experience you wouldn’t want your own family to have”

Ted Booth11 Rules For Great UX Design, Adapted From An Original Mad Man

Sometimes it can be hard to feel empathy with a products ends users.  A lot of the projects I work on for example, are unlikely to effect me directly, nor will I be likely to use the site.

There’s the given ways to build empathy with users through techniques such as interviews, personas and testing. However, I find the above quote is great inspiration to create the best experience possible.  I only wan’t the best experience possible for my family.

Another technique, which Ben Holliday discussed at the recent NUX3 conference, is for design teams to ask So what if. Holliday works on gov.uk and recently his team have been tasked with refining the form carers have to complete to apply for financial support from the Government.  One way the team built empathy with their target users was to ask So what if.

So what if;

  • I needed full time support to be a carer?
  • It was my child with a disability?

So, here we have two quick and interesting ways to build empathy into your UX and design work and to create a better user experience.  I have stopped more than once to tweak something I am working on when I think in this way.  I like to think someone, somewhere has had a better experience as a result.

Learn a lot about a little

“Use research to learn a lot about a little”

Dr. David Travis, User Focus

Recently I attended NUX3, where Dr. David Travis did a brilliant talk on the seven deadly sins of user research.  One thing that really stood out for me was that user research should be used to learn a lot about little.  In David’s words; The more you cram into a dishwasher the less that comes out clean.

David suggest writing your questions on post it notes, grouping these into themes using an affinity diagram and then prioritising your most important questions.

It’s all about build > measure > learn > repeat.

DWF: New responsive site

DWF home page image

Client

DWF is a national law firm with over 2,500 people across the UK and Ireland. It offers services to businesses and private clients with teams specialising in all aspects of law, as well as providing expert advice across a range of sectors.

My role

Lead User Experience Architect

The brief

Lead the UX on a project Code Computerlove are carrying out exploring the evolution of the DWF website. Work closely with the Code strategy and branding teams as well as senior DWF stakeholders to ensure that insights uncovered in the brand development stage of the project are implemented in the final product.

More to come soon…in the mean time check out the site

Without Thought

People should not have to think about an object when they are using it. Not having to think about it makes the relationship between a person and an object run more smoothly. Finding ideas in people’s spontaneous behaviour and realizing these ideas in design is what ‘Without Thought’ is about

Naoto Fukasawa, Without A Thought

Woodland Trust New Website

Woodland Trust responsive website

Client

Woodland Trust

My role

Lead User Experience Architect

The brief

Lead the UX on a project Code Computerlove are carrying out exploring the evolution of the Woodland Trust website. Work closely with the Code strategy and branding teams as well as senior Woodland Trust stakeholders to ensure that insights uncovered in the brand development stage of the project are implemented in the final product.

What we did

We created a fully responsive website optimised for touch users. The Woodland Trusts site effectively reflects the brand, whilst delivering a completely new proposition, originated by Code.

Audience Research

The user experience team worked closely with strategy to carry out audience and stakeholder reasearch through a series of workshops and interviews.

This resulted in a detailed set of personas and information on audience segmentation across the Woodland Trust online estate.

Woodland-Trust-audience-segmentation

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