Immersion: Becoming Your Users


“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilisation” — Roger Eber

Designing for yourself makes sense, but it’s difficult when your main task is designing for client’s client.

Yeah research is cool, but I don’t want to be on the outside looking in, I want to be on the inside looking at the problems that need solving.

Right now my life consists of YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat and MeerKat — I’ve pretty much ditched all other forms of entertainment and I’m using ~10 different apps and platforms consistently. A few months back I launched youfitness.me and I’m currently planning a series of short videos. Can you guess what kind of client I’m working with?

It’s never been enough to just know how a user feels, I want to feel how a user feels. Empathy should be part of every designers toolkit but to get to that true level of understanding you need to really fucking believe in the challenges users face, what drives them, their frustrations and their motivations — and what better way to do that than be the user.

I favour immersion over desk research because it’s lean. I can go as deep as I need to and seek out knowledge based on the challenges I experience. It helps me uncover opportunities quicker — existing research tells me the known knowns, I want the journey to the unknown unknowns.

It’s also hyper relevant; I feel like I’m moving with the audience, I’m aware of the evolution of the users and their needs. I’m learning as they learn.

If you want to disrupt education. Go back to school.

Try it.


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