Why I Don’t Believe in Empathic Design – Don Norman (2019)

May 8th, 2019

Human-centered design pioneer Don Norman, who coined the term ‘user experience,’ explains why he’s not convinced by the current obsession with empathy and what we should do instead.

I approve of the spirit behind the introduction of empathy into design, but I believe the concept is impossible, and even if possible, wrong. The reason we often talk about empathy in design is that we really need to understand the people that we’re working for. The idea is that, essentially, you’re in a person’s head and understand how they feel and what they think.

Don Norman Empathy in Design

In my opinion that’s impossible, and here’s why. If I’m designing a medical rehabilitation device for a unique person, I could argue it’s crucial to really understand their likes and dislikes, their personality and issues, and how they approach the world. But that’s relatively rare. Most of the time, in our field, we’re devising products and services that are being used by lots of people — hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions. In Facebook’s case it’s even billions. This means that understanding the individual person is actually not going to be very useful.

***** ***** *****

For the rest of the article – please go here.

***** ***** *****

Those who follow me and my methods – especially my use of a FGP – Facilitated Group Process – should recognize that I would support Don Norman’s contention that instead of some Design Thinking Team thinking about Design – I want Performance Thinking before Design Thinking – as I wrote about back in 2017 – here.

Carry on.

# # #

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.