When it comes to design, empathy — really understanding how someone will use a product or website — allows us to create something that connects with audiences. It allows us to emotionally understand them, their challenges, and how we can create something that will evoke delight.
Empathy and Clients
But empathy is also important when starting relationships with clients. Understanding their challenges, pressures, and constraints —really feeling how they feel— helps me be a better partner. Creating that empathy isn’t something that just materializes. I’m fortunate. I’ve been on the other side of the table and can appreciate the position they are in. I’ve worked in communications, managing teams, and have hired agencies to help me accomplish our organization’s communications objectives.
Empathy and the Team
That empathy runs deeper than that, though. I’ve also managed client relationships. I have serviced clients, responded to emails late at night and during the weekend. When I look at briefing our own team on the new project, I want them to feel good about it and not look at me and think, “What did you get us into.”
Empathy, for me, is more than something we leverage when creating. It helps me connect better with clients when talking about their needs and with colleagues when discussing how we can help a client. It is easy to talk about ourselves in sales and the features and benefits we offer, but it is never about us. It is really about the client and empathizing with them—not only when we start design but also when we first start talking about their challenges.