Human Experience Design
Empathy for everyone
As product designers, we care a lot about the user experience of things we make. We obsess over our products’ usability, the information architecture, and how it feels like to use the product. But more often than not, we throw out all this care and attention when it comes to our own selves. We don’t think as much about what other people’s experience of interacting with us is like. We try to empathize with the users of our products, but not with the people we cross paths with on a day-to-day basis.
We all want to build authentic personal relationships and not be a shitty person to others — yet it’s not uncommon for everyone to slip once in awhile and do something less than pleasant. The care and attention we put into our User Experience Designs could be well translated to how we think of the experience with our own selves. Think of yourself as a product. What’s the UX of this product? We can even call it Human Experience Design if you wish! Think about it:
- Do you cancel meetup plans at the last moment?
- Do you ignore messages from friends for days?
- Do you often find yourself lying to your friends about your plans if you don’t feel like hanging out with them — instead of being upfront with them?
- Do you let others pay for you, and then not pay back, until asked?
- Do you invite 3 other people to a small group plan at the last moment?
- Do you never take the initiative to get the reservations for the group, or partake in any decision-making process, thereby making you a sort of time-freeloader?
- Do you call an UberPOOL/Lyft Line assuming a 10-minute wait, and if it’s right outside, you are okay with wasting everyone’s time?
- Do you tell someone you’ll drop in at 5 pm, but push it back by 30 minutes for the next 2 hours and actually show up at 7:30 pm?
In short, is the process of meeting up and interacting with you fraught with uncertainty and frustration on part of the other party? If it is, you have to improve your Human Experience. Think of all the time you spend obsessing about making your products easier to use, but in turn never think about how difficult it is for your friends and family to be with you. It shouldn’t be that way.
PS: I’m guilty of some of the above at some point or the other. I just try to be a lot more mindful about it now.