Egotism vs. Empathy in User-Centered Design

Does self-centeredness hinder effective UX design? It seems like it would.

We may describe a self-centered person as arrogant, intolerant of differing opinions, overconfident, and lack empathy. In addition, they can’t see different viewpoints. They are usually fixated on their own viewpoint and may harshly criticize others who don’t buy into their views. The Huffington Post even wrote an article “How to Deal with Self-Centered People” to shed advice on those particular individuals prevalent in our workplace and schools.

Egotism’s counterpart is empathy, often touted as an essential in UX Design in reference to utilizing personas. A persona is a (largely) fictional snapshot of a typical user. Personas enable designers to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters. It ensures designers keep in mind that they are designing for a specific somebody, rather than just generic people. If designers lose this sense of empathy, they may end up designing for nobody. Smashing Magazine wrote a compelling article on the possible effectiveness and reasoning behind personas.

Sure, personas can be sketched out, but do all designers know how to utilize the full potential of personas? Maybe self-centered people have difficulty relating even to the fictitious personas in front of them, especially if it goes anywhere near the line of empathizing with a possibly less adept or a less tech-savvy thinker. In an industry where brains is commended, prevalent, and sought, there ought to be those who are more on the egotistical side. Those would be the ones saying, “only an idiot would think that way” or asking, “how could someone be so foolish?”. How effective can a self-centered person be at user-centered design?

Source: http://asinthecity.com/

Source: asinthecity.com

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