A guide to prepare for empathic connection in design work. 

 

Interviewing, immersion and observation feel more natural to some than they do to others. Regardless, these three areas are critical to gaining a deeply empathic connection. "The Empathy Pathfinder" is a way to "check in before you head out" to begin your design work. The worksheet folds into a small booklet that can be carried around and referenced throughout a project. It offers questions regarding personal comfort, team interactions, expectations and goal-setting. Ideally, the Empathy Pathfinder is distributed to those new to human-centered design before they go out and begin interacting with others. 

Why use this tool? 

Students who are being taught to gain empathy when creative problem-solving need more than a tour of necessary skills. They also need an opportunity to explore their own barriers to connecting with others and their assumptions around what an empathetic engagement will entail. Students benefit from an opportunity to discover the nature of beneficial exchange that must take place between them and their interviewee. I plan to make The Empathy Pathfinder available in the coming months for download. Stay tuned...