Tragic Design

Tragic Design

The Impact of Bad Product Design and How to Fix It

Jonathan Shariat, Cynthia Savard Saucier

research shows that our brains can be analytical and empathetic, but not at the same time.[ 53] A team at Case Western Reserve University studied the way our brain physiology limits simultaneous use of both analytical and empathetic networks. Here’s an excerpt from the report:[ 54] How could a CEO be so blind to the public relations fiasco his cost-cutting decision has made? When the analytic network is engaged, our ability to appreciate the human cost of our action is repressed. At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found. The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time. Accordingly, if you want to engage your team on an emotional level and create empathy toward your users, it is important not to overwhelm them with hard data. We suggest creating two parts in your design findings presentation. Start with your quantitative findings: the number of customer service tickets, results from Likert scales, the time to completion of different tasks, the error count, the conversion numbers, a cost-benefit analysis, and analytics from Google or other platforms. Then, present the qualitative data: customer journeys, Plutchik’s wheel of emotions (that we will describe later), notes from observations during user tests, findings from interviews with customer service representatives, etc.

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