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Is Empathy “Women’s Work”?

In late 2010, I studied the number of women at high-profile startups, and found that if a startup employed women at all, it was far more often in a “selling” role than in a “making” one. That’s quite a disadvantage for companies whose customer base is primarily women. Despite Etsy’s news last month that they’d [Keep Reading…]

Empathy is the Core of Design Thinking

David Kelley is the founder and chairman of IDEO, probably the world’s best-known design innovation consultancy. Though not quite a household name, Kelley has arguably made as much of an impact on the field of design as the late Steve Jobs — in fact, it was under Kelley’s leadership that IDEO designed the first mouse [Keep Reading…]

Empathy is the Antidote to Shame

shame n. A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. v. To make someone feel ashamed. In her TED talk Listening to Shame, vulnerability researcher Brené Brown exposes the truth about shame: we all feel it. Shame gets in our way. It negatively impacts how we treat [Keep Reading…]

More Empathy, Better Design

“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.” ~ Steve Jobs [Wired, February 1996]

How to Conduct Yourself While Conducting Interviews

I spend most of my time these days coaching senior leaders and product teams on how to build empathy for their customers and colleagues. This is what my consulting business has evolved into over time. One of the tools we use are one-on-one interviews with stakeholders and customers. The goal is to discover the behaviors, [Keep Reading…]

The Enduring Misconceptions of User Experience Design

A couple weeks ago I suddenly saw a resurgence of interest in an article I wrote for Mashable in January 2009 titled, 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design. Later that year I turned it into a presentation and had a pretty good run with it, until I felt that my message was widely [Keep Reading…]

Speaking Up

Two days ago, a prominent designer named Sarah Parmenter published a post titled Speaking Up, in which she revealed the horrific harassment she has endured as a public woman in technology. Sarah and I have spoken at the same conferences and share a lot of the same friends, and I have admired her ability to [Keep Reading…]