Have a little empathy

Paul Boag

As web designers we like to focus on the practical skills such as: HTML, CSS, JavaScript. However, we must also give attention to soft skills such as empathy.

Never one to focus on the obvious, my first post for Webdesign Tuts+ doesn’t focus on the traditional aspects of web design. Instead I look at the subject of empathy.

A flame war on twitter

Why empathy?

Empathy is one of the most important skills we need as web designers. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of others”. I think this is crucial in our line of work.

I’m not just talking about empathy with users, although I admit understanding and sharing the feelings of users is crucial to the success of most websites. I’m talking about the ability to empathise with our clients, colleagues and the broader web design community.

I look at how empathy can make us more productive, get more work approved and encourage innovation within the web design community.

Are we all on the autistic spectrum?

I also look at how to nurture empathy when it does not come naturally. I believe our sector attracts a disproportionate number of people who would be defined as somewhere on the autistic spectrum. As a result, we are not a naturally empathetic bunch!

If you’re somebody who finds work colleagues frustrating, clients difficult and find yourself in the middle of flame wars then this is the post for you.

my first post for Webdesign Tuts+