Empathy in Design and Development: Conclusion and References

I know we’ve jumped all over the place but I want to distill some final thoughts

Put the user first

Seamless is a food delivery service that’s incredibly popular on the East Coast. In 2013, they merged with GrubHub, and recently, the two companies combined their backends and released a refreshed user interface.

The reaction to these updates was really strong. It was a total “who moved my cheese” scenario, as customers had gotten used to the application’s flow, regardless of its inefficiencies. Customers had already spent the mental energy to get from Point A (logging in, searching, placing order), to Point B (purchasing food), and it worked for them despite how counterintuitive it may have seemed.

We need to remember that familiarity is a more powerful concept than intuition. While we should always strive to make easy-to-use software, we need to remember that this doesn’t serve the people who already know how to use the software as it exists today.

From: No Flex Zone: Empathy Driven Development

It easier for developers and designers to assume we know what’s best for our users but that’s not always the case. Even when the changes make sense you should still test them, maybe A-B testing or some sort of work to make sure that the changes you’re making are necessary for the users and not just changing for change’s sake, no matter how important you think the changes are.

Accessibility is important

I’ll hammer this point again. Accessibility should be an essential component of any design and development process. And we should be working on accessibility accommodations for visually impaired or hearing impaired users. More accessibility issues exist than those we normally pay attention to when working with accessibility.

We may need to accessibility features ourselves for short periods of time. Imagine that you have an accident or surgery that will change the way(s) how you access your content, even if it’s temporary.

Links, resources, and further ideas