Empathy in UX

10th May 2017 / 4 minute read

empathy in ux

A design is pointless… without understanding our user’s needs, emotions and experiences. To properly communicate with the right target audience, you must take place of the consumer, watching and evolving with them. Increasing user conversion doesn’t have to be complicated, it all just depends on whether you are ready to listen and adapt to a changing audience. There are some key rules when it comes to creating a fulfilling user experience using empathy, they are as follows…

Have an open mind

Stop picking out the feedback you want to hear and listen to who really matters: the consumer. UX designers can learn a lot from testing, including problems, suggestions and adaptations to existing ideas. This gives you the opportunity to really fine tune your design to tread over competing brands.


It would be foolish to think your own line of thought is the only one that matters. With 7 billion people on this planet, frustrations vary,  leaving many with unsolved solutions.

Take the visually impaired for example. They might become hindered by an application that has a small, unreadable font size. This could lead them to becoming frustrated at both themselves and the application.

That’s bad UX.

This is why function is necessary, and this is why you need to become your user in order to understand what you can do to help them, remembering that everyone is different and everyone has their own requirements of a product.

“Websites shouldn’t be one size fits all. Based on all the metadata provided, it’s easy to identify unique visitors and offer a “stripped-down” interface where font-sizes and spacing increase to accommodate the eyesight of the elderly, color blindness, or brightness sensitivity. There’s a lot of potential to meet the needs of the user of tomorrow with a more sophisticated design approach.”  – Tomas Jasovsky


Don’t influence the user

User testing in UX is essential, and it’s important not to influence any user’s choice throughout the process, so no persuasive language! keeping questions open ended allows the user to fully express their feeling towards the test product.  Here’s an example…

Don’t: That was a good way to sign new users up, wasn’t it?

Do: Now you’ve signed up as a new user, please let us know how easy or difficult you found it to reach that goal?

The reason it’s called user testing is because it’s a test of the users engagement with the product. It’s entirely useless if you’re forcing words out the users mouth.


So you don’t like the product you’re working on? Tough! It’s time to get in the zone and focus on your end goal, creating a better experience for those who do. It can be physically and emotionally draining to force yourself into this state of empathy, but it enables you to act with respect. It’s a skill that takes time to master, but when done correctly, allows you to become your own target audience. If you can’t fully engage with the product yourself, maybe you shouldn’t be trying to help others do the same.

allow expression

Be a team player

Communication is everything in UX design. From discussing ideas with your team and the users of your product through to conveying information through visual design and language, a UX designer should be approaching work collaboratively, always.

Following these simple yet mandatory rules allows you to better empathise with your target audience, leading to a more complete and focused approach to your product design.

Empathy in UX is key, and here at Equals Collective we make sure our designers are researched and engaged in the product, always following these rules.

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