User Empathy Mapping and the Ultimate User Experience

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The Endgame

I learned early on that one of the keys to success is to never lose sight of the endgame. Regardless of what you are doing, there is always an ultimate goal that will pay the bills.

If you were running a logistics operation your endgame would be along the lines of getting undamaged product to customers on time. In the case of a website, your probably aiming to get users to buy or use a product.

It's easy to get lost in all the small things that don't really matter, but when we focus on a clear final goal, it is much easier to put together smaller attainable and actionable goals that will lead you over the big one that keeps the lights on.

User Empathy and the User Experience

At the end of the day, when it comes to a software product, we want our users to easily, intuitively and productively be able to use our product, and be connected to exactly the information that they are looking for.

If a customer comes to your website to find out when your store closes, and they cannot easily find that information in a very small amount of time, they are very likely going to be over your site and looking at your competitors page. Nobody likes a poorly designed user experience.

If we don't focus on the users, and connecting them to the information that allows them to do business with us, we can easily get lost in all the small things, and lose a lot of potential customers in the process.

User Empathy Mapping

User empathy mapping is one of my favorite tools in the user experience tool-belt. When we take time to walk in the shoes of the people that use our websites and products, we often find surprising hurdles that cause users to turn somewhere else.

Our website or software application is meant to connect people with information that would otherwise be hard to find or aggregate. It never hurts to stop and spend a little time reflecting on how you can do a better job at serving your customers.

User Personas

When thinking about the experiences users are having on your website or software application, It helps to develop several different personas for each different user experience your website or application is trying to provide.

Maybe you have an online store, and users need to search your listings to find a product that suits their individual needs. And then you have someone who is responsible for maintaining the listings and keeping them current. A third experience might be the person who has to pick and ship the customer's orders.

If we create a few personas for each different user experience, and give them false names, careers, locations... it really brings those users to life. You might discover that users trying to use the same features might have different challenges based on different factors in their lives, maybe customers coming from the north need better directions in the morning hours because of traffic on a certain road. Often times a lot of golden 'aha' moments come out of a good user empathy mapping session.

User Experience

What if we were sitting next to the user when they used the website or application for the first time. We can start asking ourselves some simple questions:

  • What would they say?
  • What would they think?
  • What would they feel?
  • What would they do?

When we think about what our different personas are thinking, feeling and experiencing while trying to use our website or software application, we often walk away with solutions to big problems we didn't even know we had.

Why it Matters

In conclusion, when we leverage personas and user empathy mapping, we often find hurdles that different users on our website or software application struggle to cross over. When considering the different roles and lives that users using your website come from, we can often find and prevent problems, and focus on connecting people to information that they need.

If you want to learn more, or ask about you can leverage user empathy mapping, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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