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12 habits to practice empathy as a designer

The information age growing very fast, as a designer you always surrounded with tons of information every day, and it affects your thinking and create more difficulties to experience other people life better but building good habits can align your thinking into a right direction.

Take a step back in your life, and identify with the needs and interests of others. One possible exercise: Think about the mindset of the very first person you see out of your home each day. Maybe it’s the Starbucks at your nearest Mall, maybe it’s someone on the bus. What’s their story? What might be their needs and wants? How are they responding to their environment, and how is their environment responding to them? What would it be like to walk (or sit, or stand) in the shoes of that person? What do you think you would feel? What can you learn from imagining their experience? By asking these questions, you’ll develop the ability to see things from another person’s perspective.

Know Yourself First

First, you have to understand yourself. Ask questions like who you are? What type of designer you are? What differentiate you from others? Asking these questions will help you to figure out, which part of your life needs to improve as a designer. Knowing yourself better is essential to understand other people better.

Be Healthy

You need to keep yourselves healthy. When you are tired, hungry, chronically stressed and with poor focus, it will be harder to enter into the experience of another. Eat good food and do exercise that will make you active and super focus.

Be In the Moments

Try to understand the person’s emotions that you are with. Don’t lost while talking or sharing time with someone, try to observe what are they thinking and feeling, it will structure your mind and build more empathy for others. Read more about cognitive empathy.

Read Fiction

Read fiction that will help yourself to be transported into the book. When you read fiction, you’re looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. It allows you to understand perspectives you’ve never seen before, both psychological and physical. Fiction deals with the things that make us fundamentally human. Conflict, passion, love, lust, fear, hatred, jealousy, exaltation. So looking at the world in different lights is one of the most vital things a designer can do.

Read Good Books

Books are a great source of knowledge, reading good books can enable you to experience so many case studies, stories and many different scenarios about your subject, without being present in that situation.

Just Talk To People

Talk to people and learn about their stories, if you find someone who is from different background, culture, gender and age group will help you to understand many different perspectives about a subject. So when you will design something, you probably have a better understanding of your subject.

Body Language

Learning to read emotions and body language more accurately. Sometimes you don’t get a chance to talk to your users or interact with them one and one, observing people behaviour will be a bonus for you as a designer. In many situation, you have to just assume people by just looking them from a distance and it would be very difficult for you if you are not prepared.

Be a Great Communicator

Good communication skill will help you to build quick connection with anyone, people will talk more deeply with you about their problems as they feel more comfortable. The ability to communicate your design clearly is number one thing.

Real Problems

Find some real problems whether you can able to solve or not, and talk with people about the problem, ask questions and understand their point of views towards the problem. Doing this will help you to measure the problem and the big or small picture behind it.

Understand Human Senses

Deep drive into learning human senses, how all the senses work? because the design is not just about designing digital products, it’s about overall experience whether are you a digital product designer or a physical product designer, building a habit looking and thinking about your subject or object will make a good designer. We can’t think like, O…I am a UX designer so I don’t need to think about another thing except for digital product. Be an independent thinker. This video may help you better to understand, how 5 senses work in design? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6wjC0sxD2o

Human Psychology

Human psychology is what you have to master it. Read books and watch related videos on human psychology, there are “N” numbers of resources out there, learn and practice those skills with the people around you. Only leaning will not take you anywhere, consistent practice will convert it into your daily habits.

Time Management

Manage your time well otherwise you won’t be able to do any of them. Make an alignment, what you are planning to do in next 7 days and break it down in multiple time frames, measure it every week, where you need to work on or you can do it your way. Setting yourself goals and deadlines will help you stay focused — but don’t be too rigid: things will invariably pan out differently, so you’ll need to adopt a flexible attitude.

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Conclusion

What will you do if someone asks you to fly an airplane, you probably get scared but if you are well trained for that. You can do fly. Empathy is like an airplane for a designer that we need to master it by practicing specific rules. As a designer, I always think of, who we are? Normal people with similar ability and feelings or someone who trained that way to solve normal people problems. anyone can solve problems, we human are naturally skilled and capable of doing it, compared to other species on this earth. We do fix small and big problems in our daily life but the big difference is between a designer and a normal people, they fixed thing for themselves and we fixed things for others. So as a designer we must train ourselves to understand other people better because we are the one who trained to solve other people problems, even we don’t know personally someone. That is what a designer does. Empathy is the basic foundation of “Human Centred Design”, it is the only source that drive your thinking into the right direction while designing a solution.

I am a good human being and a designer by profession. you can join my journey, maybe we together unfold a few new chapters of future design.

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