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Empathy via personas

27 May 2015, by Olga Douglas in Developer

Who are you? That’s a difficult question to answer in 2-3 short sentences, and that’s what Twitter demands. I was updating my twitter today to say everything about me in a concise way. While I have accomplished that task, I realized that in addition to my roles here at BDC Software – Chief of Innovation, VP, COO, UX designer, Scrum Master, Software Developer – I have many more.

Dave Ramsey in his EntreLeadership seminar talked about wearing different hats. Each hat carries different set of responsibilities and opportunities. When I wear the UX designer hat, I am free to come unannounced to my school, find random strangers in the hallways, knock on offices of people I never met, and gather my user research. While I’m there, no one will ask me to do tech support for their software because they think I only draw pictures on paper or show rough sketches out of Balsamiq. However, if I also mention I develop software for that client, I get lured into troubleshooting.

My favorite role here at BDC Software is UX / Interaction Designer because it’s gets me to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Recently I was creating a game play flow that should evoke empathy of the player. I was so entrenched in the player’s mind that I myself wondered why am I passive and really need to connect with a cause to influence the world around me. That’s empathy via persona. Perhaps, that’s the reason why people like to do acting, read tabloids, and imagine living the life of someone else.

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What to do next? Keep practicing to look at the issues through the eyes of someone else: a Scrum Product Owner that carries heavy burdens of product direction, priorities, time, budget, happiness; my kid who struggles to communicate in my native tongue with my family. If we design and live through their eyes, the resulting product and process will achieve their goals, not our agenda and opinions.

Empathy thoughts via music? Listen to a great song Love Rev by Israel Houghton

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