The uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic has affected the economy adversely. Businesses have come to a halt and the world is embracing the wave of change with very little tools and services at our disposal.
During this shift, new technologies are emerging, businesses are going digital. There is a lot of talk about new approaches in order to keep moving ahead. While we are all in this together and we are all adapting. It's essential for any business or service to pause and come back to the fundamentals of "User Experience" to ensure that they are on the right track.
"User experience" is the core ingredient in making products and services that help customers complete their intended task with ease. It's about solving their problems, adding value and understanding the challenges they might be facing. Now, more than ever "Empathy" which is at the heart of user experience is need to be called upon.
Before we understand how one can implement empathy through UX, let's look at what empathy really means?
According to Psychology Today, "Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own."
During this crisis, the way we live, work, eat, shop, talk are being challenged. Having empathy for a business or service is not just about innovating solutions that meet the business needs but to go deeper and become a part of the user's world to offer a sustainable service or a long term solution. It would also mean to show strength and resilience through actions and products.
Whether you have a website, app or a service; you need to integrate the aspects of empathy in design with complete and unbiased user research. As desperate times can call for desperate actions and we all want to emerge out of this as a unicorn. It's crucial to maintain that sense of integrity and empathetic voice for your customers so they feel guarded with your vision.
There are many ways to implement empathy, listing a few points down below:
Narrow your focus, maximise your potential
We are all in an unknown territory and brushing up our research skills can help identify the many problems. User research with interviews, surveys and online data gathering can direct you to the needs of your users. Times are changing and your user's needs are changing as well. As much as technology is being helpful, there is also a greater need for taking into account the accessibility factor of things while coming up with new ideas and products.
Move away from hard selling
When economy is going through a rough patch, one can unknowingly engage in practices that aren't very positive. With the emphatic attitude be very careful and aim at providing value. Ask yourself, "What can you do to help your customers or users right now"? The overall design of your business or service should adhere to the emotional design elements in a holistic way rather than the hard-selling techniques. People are losing jobs, many companies are shutting down - your users might not be interesting in hoarding the next product. It's time to be more creative and approachable.
Saying nothing right now is not the option. One must communicate better, strategically and empathetically. It's essential to follow the Jakob Nielson's 'visibility of system status' heuristics. Your website should clearly communicate your Covid Status in a timely manner- it must talk about your approach in providing safety, convey concerns, communicate what are the operating hours, how are you dealing with rules and regulations and how are you providing your products and services. Your emails without being spammy should check in on your users instead of aiming at just conversions; your focus should be on providing a good user experience.
When you approach the design solution for your business with empathy, you meet the three parameters of a successful product or service: desirability, feasibility and viability. And the good news is that we all are innately empathetic, just need to tap into that space with metrics.