Empathy is an essential virtue to have not only for marketers and other people who interact directly with customers. Web designers need to know how to empathize as well. If you understand the needs of your site users and know their pain points, you can create a website that will meet their needs.
Unlike hard, technical skills that you can learn from taking classes or reading educational materials, empathy needs to be developed from deep within.
Here are some things you can do to develop your ability to empathize with people so that you can come up with designs that deliver according to the needs of target users.
Volunteer for a good cause
Look for an organization whose cause you support or believe in and devote some time to it. Meet the people you’re helping, their families, and your fellow volunteers. It’s a great way to develop your ability to understand the feelings of another person.
Travel as much as you can
Experiencing another place and culture not just enriches your knowledge but also help you understand why people live or behave the way they do. That way, you dispel certain biases or preconceived notions about a certain group or culture. Having a wider perspective about things and people will certainly help in your web design practice.
Consider the possible emotions of users
When designing a website, make a mental note of how people would react to it based on different moods. Let’s say a user is in a hurry and impatient. Would a modal window work with people or turn them off?
In order to truly understand what users think when they go to your website, you need to talk to them. If your site is targeted to millennials, ask them about their browsing habits, what they look for in a website, and what turns them off. You can do that by posting questions on Quora and forums that cater to your target audience.