Empathy in User Experience


Author: Jason Clarke


Published: August 29 2022

Empathy is seen as a good thing in HCI and User Experience however human difference is a significant issue which is often overlooked. Human difference refers to the disparity that individuals have in areas such as personality and cognitive ability. This becomes an issue when trying to develop a solution for someone who may be very different from you. For example, if you have perfect eyesight, you may be able to emphasize with someone who has bad eyesight however the solution you create may not be optimal for them. Moreover, additional factors such as if the person is introverted or extroverted will affect the effectiveness of your solution. This is because you lack the first-hand experiences and insight that they have.

Human difference tends to be overlooked because of empathy. Many people opt to put themselves in someone's shoes and try to create a solution for themself if they were in that particular situation. In a sense, this may even be a selfish approach as the truly disadvantaged people are not usually consulted.