Designing with Empathy to Build (and Do) Better | DevsDay.ru

IT-блоги Designing with Empathy to Build (and Do) Better

UX Planet 8 июня 2021 г. YML


By Melati Belot, Director of Client Strategy, YML

You may have heard the saying, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

When it comes to creating digital products, it’s both — the method in which you build, as well as the end result. After all, if we’re not solving a real, persistent issue in a smart, relatable way then no matter how beautiful the design or smooth the experience, it won’t take. And while there are many (many, many) methods out there, it all boils down to one core competency: empathy.

Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” In other words, can we — without experiencing a situation, feeling or dilemma first-hand — seek to understand the needs, desires and demands of another?

From that well of understanding, our challenge, and thereby opportunity, is to design solutions that can have a meaningful impact on that individual’s life.

Empathy in action

When YML was approached to support redesigning Minnesota Legal Services Coalition’s LawHelpMN.org — a site dedicated to improving access to justice for all and providing free legal aid to those who need it most — we embraced the opportunity as part of our DNA to support socially-minded, pro-bono projects.

Due to the sensitive nature of both the services provided and the need-states of individuals accessing the site, typical empathy-building activities like conducting customer interviews or photo and video-based studies or journals were not available.

Typically, it only takes about 15 seconds before people abandon a website. But what if they’re under emotional or physical distress? That window of time is cut down to mere seconds.

Therefore, the team had to explore alternatives that would still drive meaningful impact. They sought out as many first-hand accounts as possible to hear from lookalike scenarios about their needs and motivations. They researched best practices for safe site exits (including passive browsing v. emergency help), considered avenues of access (home use in duress or secret, library access, or paid internet cafes), audited similar sites / tools, researched design principles to empower survivors of abuse, and created scenarios in which time constraints were blocked and successful retrieval of information was critical.

In addition to these inputs, the team used several exercises to truly adopt an empathy-driven mindset, such as an Empathy Map and the Five Whys.

While LawHelpMN.org was information rich, the sheer amount of resources, options and forms proved overwhelming. Many people visiting the site would drop off part-way through the process of getting valuable and sometimes life-changing information.

Typically, it only takes about 15 seconds before people abandon a website. But what if they’re under emotional or physical distress? That window of time is cut down to mere seconds.

So, what is it that people might be looking for? They want to get the right information (high risk) as quickly (pressing need) and as easily (non-intimidating) as possible. Which means the experience needs to be accurate, fast and familiar.

Providing help with only seconds to spare

Minnesota Legal Aid Coalition provides critical information on topics ranging from family and housing to domestic violence, disability, immigration and more. Knowing individuals could potentially be in a life-or-death situation, we needed to ensure they would feel safe and supported throughout the experience — and still be able to get what they need in a moment’s notice.

As a result of our efforts, the questionnaire is 60% faster and since the beginning of March 2021 there has been an increase of more than 175% in individual users. What that speed really means is that people are getting the help they need, when they need it.

Our work on LawHelpMN.org centered around reimagining the ability to capture intent, streamlining the intake process and guiding individuals through a criteria-matching questionnaire. By removing unnecessary steps in LawHelpMN.org’s user flow and directing people to crucial, contextual information based on their point of entry, the newly designed website experience offers more targeted results, much faster, as well as an option to connect with vetted and matched pro-bono lawyers.

Creating a sense of comfort and familiarity

Recognizing that a sense of safety and ease is the top priority for people coming to LawHelpMN.org, we updated the UI of their questionnaire to reflect the familiarity of a text conversation.

When people enter the chat, they feel immediacy and confidentiality as they enter their answers. The chat UI allows individuals to anonymously explore these resources online, without the pressure or intimidation of potentially beginning legal action.

As a result of our efforts, the questionnaire is 60% faster and since the beginning of March 2021 there has been an increase of more than 175% in individual users. What that speed really means is that people are getting the help they need, when they need it. The Star Tribune also just showcased the work and it’s impact.

Driving impact with speed and scale

One of my favorite things about working at YML is that moving fast and creating a big impact go hand-in-hand. Our work with Minnesota Legal Services Coalition’s LawHelpMN.org took place during a single, two-week sprint.

If you have an idea or cause you’re passionate about — pursue it. Don’t let the fear of resources (be it time, money, personnel etc.) get in the way. Highlight the individual or group’s biggest pain point and the most attainable approach to solve for it. Then test, iterate and improve again.

“Over the last year, YML has provided Minnesota Legal Aid with invaluable support,” said J. Singleton, Program Manager at Legal Services State Support. “YML has used its resources and expertise to reimagine how LawHelpMN.org can quickly and seamlessly connect Minnesotans with information and referrals to empower them to protect their legal rights.”

“As technology leaders, we have a responsibility to help create technology solutions that empower diversity and social justice within our communities,” said YML CEO, Ashish Toshniwal. “Minnesota Legal Aid is a nonprofit that is doing incredible work within Minnesota, and YML is happy to support their cause with our design and development expertise.

May you begin each day (and each project) with empathy.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch. YML — an award winning digital product and design agency.

About the Author: Melati Belot

Serving as Director of Client Strategy, Melati’s focus is on driving thought-leadership, strategic planning and creative excellence for our partners. With experience spanning brand and product development, digital, broadcast, social media and influencer marketing, Melati believes that the key to unlocking customer connection, loyalty, and advocacy is day-to-day interactions and customer-centric experiences.


Designing with Empathy to Build (and Do) Better was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Источник: UX Planet

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social-justice design digital-transformation empathy