How empathy and design thinking can change the face of Artificial Intelligence : artificial

By Prosyscom
In March 15, 2018
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The world is full of pointless inventions. An invention becomes an innovation when it’s useful. Understanding how to make an idea, a technology – an invention useful comes from decoding the user’s needs. User empathy – or human empathy – is the quest of unlocking these needs and then applying this understanding of user needs to design better solutions.

Human-centered design compels designers to consider the user’s desires every step of the way while designing solutions and that is why we are today able to design solutions that are seamless, intuitive, and fulfilling.

Technology in isolation does not solve problems – what it often does, is displace them.

It creates solutions that have side effects – focusing our solutions on symptoms and not the root cause. Building technology-based solutions without empathy is like treating a sickness based on symptoms and not a sound diagnosis.

Case: Electronic Logging Devices or ELDs A great example of the kind of problems that can crop up as result of enforcing technological solutions without empathy is the case of creation and implementation of the ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) across the trucker community in the US.

The purpose of an ELD is to record, monitor and report the movement of trucks (drivers) to their employers. It is congressionally mandated and is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.

Read the original article and view the video of the case study here: https://dnyaneshbodhe.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/technology-begins-with-empathy/

A lot of users – truckers – talk about the AI solution being ‘a machine’ ‘a computer’ and lacking ‘common sense’. This ‘common sense’ comes from empathy.

The purpose of ’empathy’ is to help designers bridge the gap between technology and user. Empathy is what helps designer identify the markers of common sense and build them into the solution they are working on.

How does one build User Empathy? Just ask! Be curious about your user. Ask questions – listen to what they have to say, be a little creepy and stalk them around – observe what they do, indulge a little in data and analytics – see what they use, how often and turn around again ask them – why!

What you want to do is work on a 10-minute user persona – take 10 minutes with your team and just put down all the assumptions you have about the user. If nothing else, this will serve to make sure everyone on your sees the same set of users. Quantify specific markers of your user – demographics (age, education, lifestyle, background, etc).

Before you talk to your user you want to create a discussion guide – a document that will guide you through your user interactions. Then go out and talk to the users who match your demographic markers. Go deep not wide. Spend around 60 -90 minutes with each user. Even more, if you are observing them from afar.

Once you have invested the requisite time in research and understanding the user you will be able to see the problem and the world from the point of view (PoV) of your user. This is the key to building human-centric design – seeing the problem from the user point of view before you start building a solution.

That’s where your user empathy starts! You might even be compelled to redefine the problem from your user’s point of view, maybe modify the problem statement a little better to address the real problem that the user is facing – go ahead and do it!

The next step is to capture the learning, the empathy that you have built with the user in form of artifacts and frameworks – empathy maps, storyboards, user journeys, PoV statements, etc.

Empathy building requires skill, it is not something that will come to you on your first try, but with practice and coaching one can be trained to ‘interact for empathy’. You can explore ideo’s design kit for tools to build user empathy.

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