We hear a lot about how we should empathize with our users and try walking in their shoes.
This cannot be stressed enough!
It isn’t about sympathizing with them and always having a response to what they’re sharing or feeling, rather hearing them out to truly understand what it is they are feeling.
Empathy is about listening to your users, for they are real people and before starting to judge, rather take in their perspective as reality (it is for them), noticing whether you felt similarly before, and letting them know if you have.
It isn’t yet about solving their problem, their issue, or (as mentioned above) having a response ready to attempt and make things better…immediately…and close the deal.
While this may sound like a given, we frequently confuse empathy and sympathy and feel that giving them an out, a solution (as half-assed as it may be), or saying something to reduce their feeling (as caring as we meant it), is diminishing their pain and not helping us understand it.
When practicing empathy, we can better understand what our users are going through, why a pain is truly a pain, and try to figure out a way to alleviate it…not just avoid it, ignore it, or straight out get rid of it (as nice as that may sound).
With great empathy, you won’t only hear what your users are going through, but you’d have a better chance of connecting…and helping them.